There was a dream that was Europe. A post-war coming together of countries that had finally learned the lessons of the constant warring and devastation of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Peace, cooperation, prosperity and well-being for all. But is the dream now becoming a nightmare and can the European Union survive in the 21st century?

The Europe of 2015 is beginning to show worrying parallels with the Europe of a hundred years ago. In Ukraine, superpowers are being drawn into ethnic conflicts on Europe's margins and UK Defence Secretary is warning of future Russian aggression in the Baltics.

The political debates in Greece, Spain, France and Britain are being driven from parties from the far left or right of the political spectrum, all with agendas which are economically or socially anti-EU. Syriza's triumph is Greece may well set a precedent for UKIP (UK), Front National (France) and Podemos (Spain) to follow in their respective national elections of the next year or so.

The promise of economic prosperity and stability, which ushered in the Euro, has failed when confronted with its first big test, when the economic downturn began in 2008. Rather than providing a robust defence to global economic earthquakes, the Euro has been a factor in shaking some European economies to the brink of collapse.

Unemployment in poorer, low productivity, countries of southern Europe is souring compared to the north, and youth unemployment is so high as to threaten a generation with worklessness, for example.

If southern Europe is being crippled by the economics of austerity, northern Europe is acting as a magnet for migration, bring with it social tensions brought about by the real or imagined influx of foreign workers from within the EU, as well as economic and asylum-seeking migration from North Africa and the Middle East.

According to Migration Watch, recorded immigration into the UK last year was 583,000. Even allowing for net migration, the UK grew by 260,000 - equivalent to a city the size of Plymouth.

It is difficult to predict the impact on the 2015 UK general election, but UKIP's two by-election victories last year are unlikely to be the party's only successes.

One likely UKIP victory is Boston and Skegness. The constituency, and its predecessor Holland and Boston, has been staunchly Conservative since 1966, with Mark Simmonds taking 49.4% of the vote in 2010 and securing a majority of over 12,000.

Last week, however, the constituency appeared on a leaked party memo listing it as a "non-target" such is the considered strength of UKIP support in the area. The area has been a prime destination for eastern Europeans, especially from Poland, Lithuania and Latvia, seeking the plentiful low-skilled work offered in the agricultural and food-processing industries. Last year, UKIP comfortably won the European elections in the East Midlands, taking 32.9% of the vote - almost 7 per cent ahead of the Conservatives in 2nd place.

At the heart of Europe's economic and social tension is the Euro, forcing countries into a one-size-fits-all economic straight-jacket. Internal currency fluctuations can no longer ease the stress on differences in productivity and expenditure. The one-size is increasingly the German size, a size which simply does not fit southern Europe.

This century could well see the end of the European project. History, if nothing else is, against it. Empires and pseudo-states fall apart and history is littered with failed ambitions of pan-national sovereignty, from the Roman Empire to the former Soviet Union. Ultimately, it is difference which defines. The European Union, the ever increasing political and economic union, was a dream, an increasingly bad dream, and 2015 could be the year when Europe wakes up.