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A Union without identity, act I in Helsinki
by Thanos Kalamidas
2011-03-05 09:37:09
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The leaders of the European People’s party – too fancy name for the European conservatives – are gathering in Helsinki the last hours for a meeting before the critical for the Union meetings in Brussels for the economic future of the Euro-zone preparing arguments and rowdyism but not decisions and solutions with the Irish Prime minister to be and the German chancellor leading the party. In the meantime the European citizens deepen in a recession without end.

Greece and Ireland are already in a coma and life-support machines that might lead to serious troubles with Portugal, Spain, Italy followed closely by Belgium and despite all reinsurances Finland and Austria have fainting incidents and warnings for the coma while Germany on the other side rejects political help even though the German economy has been for long as a Greek minister pointed few years ago “a fat giant standing on glass legs”. The bitter truth is that IMF has landed in Europe and it is here to stay for long, the IMF has come to Europe proving the inability of the European Union to take a united political decision that will profit the Union and not personal political agendas and most importantly that the European political life individually or as a Union is more public relations than anything else. Finally and I think this is the most serious sign, the European Union suffers from an identity crisis that covers from our historic identity to our class identity.

The economic measures, decided together from the IMF and the Union’s economic leadership, as I said before put the stricken members in a life-support machines but didn’t solve the problems, didn’t even help, what they really did was to postpone the inevitable and Edna Kenny’s rowdyism for renegotiating the conditions, the interest and repayment terms for me at least are in vein and just for PR since the Union is not united. Actually the first ones he has to persuade in this meeting in Helsinki will be his own ideological allies with Merkel representing the strongest opposition not only in the certain meeting but in EU. The Greek leader of the conservative party is at least for laughs, he’s coming to Helsinki too ready to blame the socialist for wrong doing in the negotiations and promise the same changes the Irish ask forgetting to mention that his party with him in ministerial seats has greatly participated in the Greek bankruptcy. The rest of them are here to watch and Berlusconi to entertain us.

But decisions have been a hard part for the union over a decade now and IMF has complicated the situation even more. The IMF came to Europe practising methods that might had worked half a century ago in countries of the third world and the European Union too keen to cover its real problems accepted the terms ignoring the fact that the European Union from its foundations is an economic market union that demands a constant consuming traffic among its members. The minute you fail that the whole structure trembles. Period! The stability of this structure from its foundations was political and has to be political and because it is time to say some truths the unions from its foundations had a dual role. Of course a big market of twenty seven countries with open boarders and common currency helps their economies but also becomes a defence mechanism to the economic war USA has declare the last three decades to the European economies and products. Individually Germany, France and UK cannot fight this war but as a Union and a market of nearly half a billion consumers the terms change dramatically.

You see despite all the pompous declarations from Merkel if Europe wants to survive and not been swallowed between the US and the Chinese economy – the latest grant player – has to be united and take some radical political decisions. It’s easy to blame the Greek and the Irish that they consumed more than they could afford but you forget to say that they consumed German, British and French products that so unsparingly – and with unbelievable credit - were given to them in the name of the common market and the Union. Ms Merkel forgets to mention how much of this went for the Euro-fighter that helped the German economy and the German communication companies without any return for Greece and Ireland just to mention some examples. But then it was for the European unity and partnership.

The same time the usurious way the European states have dealt with the two partners through the IMF has killed business and citizens therefore their consuming economy where the common market stand on. So before renegotiating the terms of the loans and the repayment the member states must redefine the identity of this union, stop the pompous rowdyism and find solution if they want this Union to work.

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Emanuel Paparella2011-03-05 12:09:44
"...redifine the identity of the Union...if they want this Union to work."

Indeed Thanos, in that conclusion you have put the finger on the nature of the problem. What did Kierkegaard call it? The existential dread? The EU too must confront it or ultimately perish. The first step is to go back to origins.

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