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Brinkmanship in Europe – Leadership needed

For decades politicians in Europe have done their European policy without paying much attention to what European citizens really want and how they want their European Union to be constructed. Surely we had times of crisis in Europe and slow progress in the integration process. This was always brought to an end with the next big step in the integration process and mostly with deepening the EU.

Europe is loosing its citizens

The current crisis in Europe so far was also managed without listening to the Europe citizens. The stock markets are back on track but many mostly southern European countries are still in deep economic trouble. Just have a look on the unemployment rates of young Europeans in Spain or Greece and the horror is obvious. The austerity policy is questioned more openly and the European leaders don’t act in concert. Moreover a new danger arises now slowly on the horizon. The citizens do not longer support the European idea. The Washington based Pew Research Center just published a study named “The New Sick Man of Europe: the European Union” showing declining support for the European Union in many countries. The EU does not only not include its citizens into the integration process it also losses the citizens in general.

Political leadership is needed

The European Council is the leading institutions in the EU giving general guidelines and incentives for the integration process. But there are none. The heads of state and government do react to the crisis and do not form the Union for a positive future. Germany is blamed to stick strictly to its austerity policy and I think people are right to do so. I do not argue against to do good and sustainable financial and monetary policy. But to follow this path without looking to the right and to the left is stupid. Politics should be shaping the future for the good. Only reacting to developments already happened is necessary but not a good approach in the long run.

A new European offer for the citizens

European leaders should come up with a new agenda for Europe. If there is a good time to push forward it is now. It is even the best time to bring things to the agenda that were unthinkable some month ago. If we do not want to leave the European citizens behind we have to offer a new European dream, a new European value for the people. Our political leaders are the ones who should take care off this. This does not pardon the Commission or the European Parliament. They could also step forward to present this new European narrative. As both institutions normally considered very pro European it would make more sense and would give more power to the new approach if the member states (the European Council) would be the ones taking the lead. A combined approach is also thinkable but we need the member states to be included with their political will. The new idea should be in an area with no connection to economics of fiscal policy. The new European offer should be something totally different to attract people from scratch.

Europe is even more in danger than it seems in recent months. Our politicians should recognize this finally. They should not play with the fire as loosing the game would cost a huge prize.

Post picture by “Stefan Franke” CC-Lizenz by-nc-nd

Published inEuropean EducationEuropean financial crisis

5 Kommentare

  1. Iwantout Iwantout

    Sorry, but the only leadership most of us in the UK want is towards the exit door. We have never been asked whether we wanted to join a political Europe and the reason why the question was not asked was because the elite already knew the answer would be “no”.

    An old but revealing piece of history for your readers; December 1960 Lord Kilmuir (The British Lord Chancellor and Head of the Judiciary) when asked about the implications of joining the Common Market by Edward Heath (responsible for the negotiations in the 1960’s) wrote “I must emphasise that in my view the surrenders of sovereignty involved are serious ones, and I think that as a matter of practical politics, it will not be easy to persuade Parliament or the British public to accept them. I am sure it would be a great mistake to underestimate the force of the objection to them. But these objections should be brought out into the open now because if we attempt to gloss over them at this stage those who are opposed to the whole idea of joining the Community (EEC) will certainly seize on them with more damaging effect later on.” (This information was not released to the public until 1990 under our 30 year rule.) Yet in January 1973 Edward Heath, by now Prime Minister, told the Country “”There are some in this country who fear that in going into Europe we shall in some way sacrifice independence and sovereignty. These fears, I need hardly say, are completely unjustified.” In November 1991 Heath admitted he had lied repeatedly to the public about the implications of membership.

    As I say, old history, but it goes some way to explaining why for 40 years the UK has been the awkward partner and why there is so much public anger in the UK. It also helps to explain why in the UK at least it is difficult to see any support for a “new idea” other than a return to a simple trade association.

  2. Anyway, it is never too late to start with a different approach. Younger Brits are already more in favour off Europe than the older generation. It is worth trying to convince the rest.

  3. Iwantout Iwantout

    Younger people have always been more in favour of the EU, the problem is as they grow older and understand it more they change their mind, this is what has happened for the last 40 years and there is no reason to think it will change. Never forget that the young people are also inherently a small part of the electorate.

    A fact for you, there has never been a majority in the UK in favour of joining the euro, the lowest the anti camp has ever been is 57% and that was as the euro was launched. How do you believe the UK will ever join the EU as a full member if it never joins the euro ?

    If you put the question to young people, should the UK join a euro and be part of a federal state I strongly suspect you will find they become as Eurosceptic as the rest of us. I was young once and I used to believe in the EU as well.

  4. Why do so many foreigners blog so obsessively about the UK either full on or in thinly veiled insults like this? Why don’t they blog away in their own language? If they did it wouldn’t be construed as interference & meddling in our internal affairs. The EU luvvies want more Europe, More Fiscal “Unity” more common Foreign Policy “Unity” what they really want is Less UK. The UK is as much European as New Zealand is Australian only less so because we don’t share their Language, their culture, their history or their ambition & to top it all you cant trust a people that don’t play Cricket!

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