The story begins with the misunderstanding that we have a “Euro” crisis in the EU27. We have a financial crisis. Countries are not able to refinance themselves due to many different reasons. This happens within the Eurozone – this is true. The Euro as a currency has certainly intensified certain negative economic developments (e. g. balance of payments deficit) or has prevented to use positive tools like devalue ones own currency. But the most crucial development is the rise of populism against the Euro and the EU and Euroscepticism.
Eurosceptisim on the rise
What is striking is that everyone in the EU has lost faith in the project: both creditors and debtors, and eurozone countries, would-be members and “opt-outs”
The shame is that not the EU is responsible for this outcome but the member states of the European Union. The European Union is seen more negative because governments fail to do what they are supposed to do – do good policy. The EU has not produced this crisis, the EU is not the responsible for the way the national governments try to solve this crisis at the moment and the EU has not even the power to tackle this crisis effectively.
The EU dilemma of not being a sovereign state
The European Union is not a sovereign state with the corresponding powers. We learned through this crisis that we implemented a monetary union without installing a financial and political union at the same moment. That is why the EU is doomed to stay at the sideline and watch what national governments do or even do not. In the same instant the citizens project their bad situation to the European level expecting the solution to be delivered by Brussels. Thus the EU is blamed for something that the EU is not responsible for and facing the same time the expectations from European citizens to solve something what can’t be solved by the EU.
Dangerous game with Euroscepticism
National governments playing this game as they are more interested in national politics or better in how their own people judge them having the next elections in mind. It is very dangerous to continue this game. The moment when the citizens will loose all confidence in the European idea will be devastating. Maybe national governments might win another national election but the will loose the long-term future of the continent. The EU cannot be build without the citizens in the coming decades. But the continent cannot also be developed in peace without the European Union. This the national governments have to be aware of.
It is a good change of policy (hopefully) that the European Commission announced via President Barroso that austerity has reached its limit. The “Merkel way” has not solved the crisis even if German Foreign Minister Westerwelle reacts like they did since years.
Honest politics are required
To not damage the EU sustainably the national governments should start immediately to develop the EU into a real democracy with all the corresponding powers or they should make clear that the solving of the current crisis lies in the hands of the European Council and not the European Union which is a big difference.
Artikelbild ”Tobias Mittmann” CC-Lizenz (by-nc)