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The State of the Globe 2004/05: Europe — Global Magnet or Construction Site?

Can Europe overcome the challenges ahead in the new year?

December 28, 2004

Can Europe overcome the challenges ahead in the new year?

Europe saw several big developments in 2004. In May, the European Union expanded from 15 to 25 members. And in December, the EU decided to launch membership talks with Turkey in October 2005. But many challenges — from strained relations with the United States to sluggish economic growth remain. Our Read My Lips feature presents the most insightful quotes.

“Europe should not confuse its enemies. The threat is not Bush’s America — but barbarism.”
(Dominique Moisi, senior advisor to the French Institute of International Relations, March 2004)

“I am told by the pro-Europeans to give up on America — and by the Atlanticists to forget about Europe.”
(Prime Minister Tony Blair, October 2004)

“Europe must have faith in the prospect of becoming the most important global power in 20 years.”
(Spain's Prime Minister José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, November 2004)

“The EU is neither a union of coal and steel, nor of geography, nor of only economies. It is a community of political values. It has to be an address where civilizations meet and harmonize.”
(Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, October 2004)

“Farewell Poland — a country which evil spirits placed between Russia and Germany, where generations of children learned about lost battles, lost chances and traitorous allies.”
(Lead editorial in the polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza, May 2004)

“If Europe sees its integration process as one directed against the United States, it will not work, because the result will be a split in Europe — and that is an ambition that no European should have.”
(Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, NATO’s secretary general, November 2004)

“Maybe this anti-Americanism in Europe is a part of this hatred of the saved towards the savior.”
(Vaclev Havel, former president of the Czech Republic, October 2004)

“Mr. Bush’s re-election brings one salutary benefit for Europe: The era of a benign tutelage is over. The era of partnership may yet begin. It must not seek to confront the U.S. for the sake of it — that would be childish. But it must also refuse to trot by the American side, regardless — that would be infantile.”
(Martin Wolf, Financial Times columnist, November 2004)

“If the United States was constructed in the 18th century as an alternative to Europe, in some sense, the European Union is now being constructed as an alternative model and counterweight to the United States — an objective that is as important as it is unspoken.”
(Stephen Klimczuk, director of A.T. Kearney’s Global Business Policy Council, November 2004)

“The future integration of its Muslim populations, quite reasonably, is the subtext to just about everything Europe thinks and does these days.”
(John Vinocur, International Herald Tribune columnist, November 2004)

“Europe will end up like a chicken in the pot of a Chinese cook.”
(Italy’s then-Finance Minister Giulio Tremonti, May 2004)

“Unless it can face up to and reverse its neglect of parenting, Europe’s economic future is grim, regardless of savings levels or pension systems.”
(Philip Bowring, columnist for the International Herald Tribune, October 2004)

“The American economic model is clearly superior to the European one — or is it the other way around?”
(Peter Sutherland, chairman of BP, September 2004)

“Europe is too weak to lead — and too proud to follow.”
(Bob Samuelson, Newsweek columnist, May 2004)

“So far, the goal of turning the EU into the world’s most competitive economy by 2010 has shown only that the EU has a sense of humor. But the joke is no longer funny.”
(Martin Wolf, Financial Times columnist, June 2004)

“Neither France nor Europe can become industrial deserts — solutions exist.”
(Nicolas Sarkozy, former French finance minister, May 2004)

“Europeans define freedom in community — in belonging, not belongings.”
(Jeremy Rifkin, president of the Washington-based Foundation on Economic Trends, October 2004)

“If you want to learn how the traditional Prussian goose step works, you have to watch British TV, because in Germany, in the younger generation — even in my generation — nobody knows how to perform it.”
(German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, October 2004)

“Washington should be relieved that rising anti-Bush sentiment across Europe has done little damage to the bottom line of Corporate America.”
(Daniel S. Hamilton and Joseph P. Quinlan, authors of “Partners in Prosperity”, November 2004)