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Stand for Europe
by Thanos Kalamidas
2009-03-23 09:00:41
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The world has definitely changed after 9-11 and it is not only the terrorist attacks that changed it but the economic problems that suddenly proved that they were much deeper than what we could see at the time. I think at the same time everything worked like the domino effect inveigle the one piece after the other and from one day to another the problems emerged one after the other; education, behavior a whole society in crisis.

Europe has been for long time, actually for centuries, the crossroad of all these problems and often felt the pressure or the results; actually that’s what led the leaders of Europe to create the European Union in the early seventies, inspired and motivated from the power this crossroad could earn. Suddenly a continent could escape from the role of the observer and become a player with the power of the people, their will and strength to change first of all the economic situation acknowledging that most of the war in the future would be economic wars. That was one part, the second has to do with semantics, at the time the world was shared in two influence poles and everything in between was becoming just the battlefield and the third was that despite the share of the world and the geopolitical interests of the great powers the European have much more that united them than the ones that separate them despite petty prejudice.

The best way to unite the continent was based on the cultural and economic power the states' members could offer and the result is that today twenty-seven European countries constituting the second bigger economic power on earth and probably the one that can truly guarantee and lead freedom and equal rights. I emphasized those two because I think that these two should be the center of our interest and not the arm’s power and readiness for conflict.

Nearly five hundred million people the last account in an area that covers nearly four and a half thousand square kilometers, a crossroad between east and west with a civilization that has influence and influenced from both sides. Only that gives the opportunity as the right to Europe to become the mediator between west and east. The same applies to economy. Five hundred million people can be an unbelievable economic power especially when this population is consuming aware and living under promising conditions like the Europeans do.

What I’m saying here is not to emphasize some kind of Europe-centered ideas but to lay out facts and motivate your imagination on what Europe could have accomplished if Europe was really united under a serious leadership mainly to show that to accomplish that the European union had and still had the right foundations, what is lacking is the right use of them. You see to start from the economics despite the fact that Europe had a strong economy with really strong exchange and I’m referring to the main three, the British pound, the French franc and the German mark and combined the three of them in the form of the Euro they could replace any other. The combined industrial power and production in quantity and quality could shadow any other and it was obvious when the first economic conflicts started with US in the beginning and the production of iron and with China and Japan later with the production of clothes and technology respectfully.

So instead of following the one way that could establish Europe as main player the European leaders ducked under the political pressure exchanging the European power to a petty follower of the interests of American administrations. What followed was that instead of leading become the poor followers in every aspect. Instead of standing as the only possible mediators since they really understand both sides in the Middle East problem Europe became the numb undecided follower who’s expecting the boss to take the decision. Then they became comfortable with the position, you see when you don’t take the decisions, you don’t take also the responsibility of the result and it I just easy to avoid the blame game weakening even more anything Europe stands for centuries.

And with all that we arrive in the euro-election which will happen in a few weeks. It will be the chance for the European citizens to elect their representatives in the European parliament, a parliament that has the base and fundaments to explore the dream of a real united Europe but not the power since when it comes to the final decision is overpowered by the council of the prime ministers and the European condition led from a group of people that represent the worst in the European history led by the most ineffectual than any other before Jose Barroso.

The financial crisis that has hit Europe the last year is a result of wrong executing the obligations and the instruction put form the European parliament. The European parliament for long has warned about the greed and wrong doing of the banks and the financial centers in Europe and the other side of the Atlantic, the European parliament has often tried to make laws to protect the European citizens from all that but nearly everything had to deal with the veto of the European leadership and naturally the president of the commission who is not elected but appointive from those often motivated from personal political agendas did nothing about. Actually that’s why they chosen him so they can control him. Oddly this is exactly what the new European constitution was trying to change but it became a victim of the reaction to the status quo all these have created.

Something has to change and this something has to happened soon before the European Union drifts more from been the spineless follower to the poor neighbor everybody ignores. By the way and this is the irony, everybody wants to see the European union strong with Russia and the Middle East leading this wishful thought. People like Jose Barroso must become a bad parenthesis and never come back and the only way to do that is if the people who try to be elected in the European parliament be the ones who understand the importance of the union and its future and the same time can transmit that to the people they represent and not continuing the status of politicians with agendas and personal interests. The people who are going to the European parliament must work for Europe and not for the petit political agendas of their parties. Then there might is a hope.

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Emanuel Paparella2009-03-23 11:22:04
“…the result is that today twenty-seven European countries constituting the second bigger economic power on earth and probably the one that can truly guarantee and lead freedom and equal rights. I emphasized those two because I think that these two should be the center of our interest and not the arm’s power and readiness for conflict.”

Indeed Thanos, the more thoughtful and sensible Europeans have been emphasizing what goes under the name of “soft power” for years. I am convinced, in fact, that the EU founding fathers had that in mind when they envisioned a united Europe with more emphasis on the cultural heritage of Europe and less on mere economic power, hard or soft as that might be. They had seen first hand the tragic devastation brought about by hard military power. However, to be quite blunt about this matter, as long as the West, on both sides of the Atlantic ocean, remains enamored of Machiavellian hard power with its concomitant belief that “might makes right and he who has the biggest cannon wins,” there will be no hope of guaranteeing freedom and civil rights. More to the point: as long as freedom and inalienable rights are considered in need of guarantees, it will be the state with the biggest cannon that will guarantee them, not one with the biggest ideals. Guaranteeing inalienable rights is an oxymoron, since the term “inalienable” means that nobody guarantees them; one is born with them; they inhere in human nature and nobody has a right to give them or take them away or even to guarantee them. That was Bush’s delusion within an illusion in Iraq.

Emanuel Paparella2009-03-23 11:35:38
(continued from above)

“…by the favor of universal Enlightenment, it might become possible to dream, for the great European family, of going the way of the American Congress…what an outlook then of power, of glory, of well being, or prosperity! What a great and magnificent spectacle!”

At first sight one may think that the above a statement was enunciated by a Europarlamentarian. But if one reads it more carefully, one notices that the words freedom and human rights are conspicuously absent, albeit the American Congress is mentioned as if wishing to allude to them. What is emphasized rather, is power, glory and prosperity. The man who actually uttered that statement was none other than Napoleon Bonaparte who also believed that he who has the biggest cannon wins and might makes right.

Alexandra Pereira2009-03-23 20:42:21
Barroso was fine as a foreign affairs negotiator for South East Asia, as a negotiator he can always see the two sides of the coin and be ambiguous enough, but as a leader he does not have the necessary charisma nor leadership and strong decision qualities - and it doesn't matter if he studied Political Sciences in Washington or not -, he's more a man to be under the orders of someone else than a strong leader. He failed miserably in his own country and portuguese still feel that he betrayed them, as he was elected Prime Minister with many shiny future promises (thanks to the reputation he had gained with the mediation of the East Timor case and the good relationships he could develop with Brazil and the African countries) but went away very very soon after that, just as the European bosses waved him with an important position - that was a great deception: he went away, all happy drooling, irresponsible and coward, leaving his country in the hands of extraordinarily incompetent people who had not been elected by the portuguese, and later the President would have to schedule anticipated elections because of how truly disastrous were the people he left in his place - and he didn't mind with that at all, as long as he could shine and be applauded in Brussels (which actually didn't happen, that's ironic...), besides having shown great love for power, high levels of selfishness and disrespect for those who had just elected him. Although he justified himself as having received the "prestigious EU calling", at the time no one actually understood why did they want him in Europe so readily - but of course now it is more than clear that they wanted him as nothing more than a puppet to be bossed around... pity, and not very pretigious!

Alexandra Pereira2009-03-23 20:54:32
Moreover, if Barroso was really not a puppet in the hands of particular interests but a strong leader in representation of the whole Europe, he would have taken advantage of the priviledged position he enjoys a long time ago, to mediate the Middle East conflict (and refrain the US in Iraq) in a reasonable, serious and competent way, as he comes from the only region inside EU which was officially Muslim for almost 8 centuries and received the most extraordinarily legacy from the Arab cultures. Instead, he shamed us all - Europeans and Iberians - doubly.

Alexandra Pereira2009-03-23 20:57:57
errata - prestigious; extraordinary

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