A Pop History of the European Union
The EU was supposed to make Europe one. But the crisis is being handled as many.
- The French feared the Germans
- The Irish wanted to escape Britain
- Greeks were terrified of Turkey
- The Spanish wanted to become more like the French
- The Italians wanted to become German
- The Dutch and the Austrians had all but become German
- The Belgians sought to heal their sharp divisions by joining into both Holland and France under the auspices of a reconfigured DM
- And, finally, the Germans feared the Germans!
Of course, there is no such thing as the Germans. Or the Greeks. Or the French, for that matter. “We are all individuals” as Monty Python have taught us. Or Europeans, as many of us would like to think.
The good news is that the Germans no longer fear the Germans. Europe needs a confident Germany that understands that the current gross denial of the crisis’ nature is costing Germans dearly. That their taxes are being used to build new kleptocracies in the European periphery countries, while the proportion of working poor Germans is skyrocketing.
And if and when the whole “thing” unravels, there will be nothing but losers all over Europe and beyond. It is in this sense that Europeans do have, still have, a powerful, common interest. That interest is to confront the bureaucracies, the cartels, as well as the kleptocrats who are preventing them from adapting the European Union to post-2008 realities.
Diversity and cultural difference was never Europe’s problem. A continent which began uniting under many different languages and cultures ended up divided by a common currency. We tried to deal with the inevitable crisis of a faulty economic design as if the Balkanization of Europe was the objective!
When Gandhi was asked what he thought of Western civilization, he famously replied that: “…it would be a very good idea.” If asked what we think of the European Union today, we could do worse than remarking: “A splendid idea! If only we can pull it off…”