Sunday, March 3, 2013

More Europe or Chaos

Europe is in great danger. Its political project is undermined by orthodox policies which are increasingly being contested. The debate about the European budget for the next seven years was incomprehensible for most of our citizens. The outcome is a budget of austerity : less than 1% of European GDP to revive its economy; in comparison,  the US federal budget represents almost a quarter of its annual output.    

A manifesto endorsed by several European intellectuals, from Umberto  Eco to Giorgy Konrad  made a vigorous plea for political unity of Europe. The text says:  "Europe is in crisis, it is dying. Not Europe as a territory. Europa as an idea. Europe as a dream and as a project"..either Europe makes a sep forward , but a decisive one, toward political integration, or it will leave History and fall into chaos. We do not have choice : either political union or death". 

Beyond this noble declaration, there are hard realities: the loss of social rights, the impoverishment of the middle classes or the frustration of the generation of educated young people. Are governments blind to see the failure of their policies? 

Mark Mazower, a British historian  rightly argues:  
Those preaching austerity probably do not see themselves as contributing to a crisis of democracy, but they are. The Italian elections should remind eurozone leaders to pay attention to their voters. Economic fixes have failed to staunch a political crisis that has the capacity to harm not only EU integration, but the legitimacy of the continent’s democratic order itself.

In the swamp of austerity, there are voices rising,  like Giorgio Napolitano , the Italian president,  whose federalist credo has been obscured by the darkness of populism or Joachim Gauck, the German president who recently made a passionate call for greater European integration. Let's hope that that these voices  will not be lost in the desert.

1 comment:

  1. P.Krugman also warns against the danger of radicalization as a result of the failure of austerity policies.