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The EU: Broken or just broke?
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Decision time for the EU

focal point When the global financial crisis broke at the end of 2008, Europe's leaders complacently maintained that the problem was an Anglo-Saxon one. Now, with trillions potentially having to be poured into national economies too big to fail – Greece, Ireland, Portugal, even Italy and Spain – the eurocrisis is threatening to overshadow the original banking collapse of 2008.

Brought on by the global economic recession, the eurocrisis has been exacerbated by serious faults built into the institutional structure of the monetary union. The non-existence of centralized political control over the European economy combined with lack of democratic legitimacy sets in motion processes that are undermining European solidarity.

In a new Eurozine focal point, published in cooperation with the Allianz Kulturstiftung, contributors discuss whether the EU is not only broke, but also broken – and if so, whether Europe's leaders are up to the task of fixing it.

 

It's the politics, stupid

Jacques Delors

In search of Europe

An interview with Jacques Delors

interview "We don't just need firefighters; we need architects too." Jacques Delors, three times President of the European Commission, speaks of "this Europe of values", its triumphs and failures, and his hope that a federal Europe of nation-states will, eventually, become a reality. [ more ]

01.07.2011
Christian Calliess, Henrik Enderlein, Joschka Fischer, Ulrike Guérot, Jürgen Habermas

Europe and the "new German question"

Renationalization Political elites are not delivering Europe to its citizens, says Jürgen Habermas in a panel discussion on the renationalization of Europe. Is Germany's perceived withdrawal from the common European project at the heart of the current crisis? [ more ]

26.08.2011
Stefan Auer

The end of the European Dream

What future for Europe's constrained democracy?

Euro crisis In trying to escape the banality of everyday life, utopian projects are bound to fail in politics, writes Stefan Auer. As such, the Great Gatsby of F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel and the EU have much in common: they always want more, despite being insanely rich; and still cannot pay their bills. [Russian version added] [ more ]

22.02.2013
Robert Cooper

The European Union and the Habsburg Monarchy

Euro crisis The threat that the EU faces today is as deadly as the one that confronted the Habsburg Monarchy a hundred years ago, writes British diplomat Robert Cooper, one of the intellectual architects of EU foreign policy. But getting it right does not need a miracle. [Polish version added] [ more ]

10.12.2012
Ivan Krastev

The European dis-Union

Lessons from the Soviet collapse

euro crisis Too big to fail? Too crisis-hardened to go under? The collapse of the Soviet Union has something to teach Europe's politicians if another leap from the unthinkable to the inevitable is to be avoided in the case of the EU, argues Ivan Krastev. [Polish version added] [ more ]

26.07.2012
Ulrich Beck, Ulrich Bielefeld, Nikola Tietze

More justice through more Europe

An interview with Ulrich Beck

Crisis While discrepancies between EU member states can be overlooked during win-win periods of growth, recession triggers xenophobic and anti-European reactions in both rich and poor countries. In interview, Ulrich Beck explains how inequality leaves the Union susceptible to decay. [ more ]

29.12.2011
Ulrich Beck

Cooperate or bust

The existential crisis of the European Union

cosmopolitization The critique that Europe lacks representative legitimacy may well be correct, argues Ulrich Beck, but not when based on the principle of "no nation, no democracy". Cosmopolitanization demands post-national approaches to democratic accountability in Europe. [ more ]

29.09.2011
Jan-Werner Müller

The failure of European intellectuals?

Narratives Intellectuals have been accused of failing to restore a European confidence undermined by crisis. Yet calls for legitimating European narratives reflect the logic of nineteenth-century nation building, argues Jan-Werner Müller. [French, German and Italian versions added] [ more ]

11.04.2012
Andri Snćr Magnason

How to get into and out of an economic crisis

iceland From Scandinavian democracy to target of British anti-terror laws: the Icelandic saga is well known, but how did the country get itself into such a mess? Andri Snaer Magnason tells of privatizations, overreaching and astronomical pay checks. [ more ]

06.06.2012
Per Wirtén

Where were you when Europe fell apart?

intellectuals Too many Europeans have too long avoided the question of Europe, says Swedish writer Per Wirtén. To prevent the EU from turning into a "post-democratic regime of bureaucrats", intellectuals need to stop mumbling and take the fear of Europe seriously. [ more ]

22.12.2011
Stefan Auer

Europe's self-destructive article of faith

union European leaders' unwavering commitment to ever closer union is causing more harm than good, argues Stefan Auer. Europe doesn't need more integration; it needs more democracy. Partial and well-managed disintegration may be preferable to a chaotic implosion. [ more ]

01.12.2011
José Ignacio Torreblanca

Democracy put to the test

democracy While democracy evaporates on a national level, it doesn't reappear anywhere else, least of all in Europe. Maintaining the democratic nature of our societies depends on the rules of the game we impose on ourselves at the European level, argues José Ignacio Torreblanca. [ more ]

01.12.2011
Jan-Werner Müller

Is Germany's future still European?

An interview with Jan-Werner Müller

Germany Germany's politicians lack deep European convictions yet are susceptible to calls for a more strident role in Europe; and while the mainstream is unlikely to give up what it sees as the recipe for German success, "constitutional patriotism" could allow for greater Europeanization. [ more ]

22.11.2011
Wolfgang Matz

The nation or Europe?

France and the return of the German problem

politics Fifty years after the Élysée Treaty, Germany is the focus of renewed attention in France. Wolfgang Matz is at pains to explain that, while healthy competition between the two countries is wholly unproblematic, anything more adversarial may well threaten European unity. [ more ]

10.07.2013
Paul Gillespie

Get smart

Ireland and the euro crisis

Ireland Ireland, like other small EU member-states, must be especially smart in responding to the euro crisis, since it does not command the resources that better enable larger states to protect their interests. How coherent has the Irish approach been so far and are the alternatives more convincing? [Hungarian version added] [ more ]

19.01.2012
José Ignacio Torreblanca

Five reasons why Europe is cracking up

political crisis Can Europe really break apart? Yes, of course it can, writes José Ignacio Torreblanca. Few times in the past has the European project been so questioned and its disgraces so publicly exposed as now. It's time to stop looking the other way. [ more ]

12.08.2011
David S. Oderberg

The conquest of Greece

crisis Exiting the EU and eurozone will not of itself solve Greece's long-term problems. For these the country's corrupt and unworthy political class is to blame, argues David Oderberg. He calls for a new Greek awakening to remove this cancer on the body politic. [ more ]

11.07.2013
Ovidiu Nahoi

War in Europe? Not so impossible

nationalism The dark warnings of the Polish finance minister about the prospect of war in Europe if the crisis deepens were met with scepticism. But there is no call for complacency about where current, nationalist tendencies might lead, writes the editor of "Adevarul Europa". [ more ]

13.10.2011
Therese Kaufmann, Ivan Krastev, Claus Offe, Sonja Puntscher-Riekmann, Martin M. Simecka

The EU: The real sick man of Europe?

debate Democratic deficit, enlargement fatigue and ever more rescue funds: is there still a future for a common Europe? In a discussion in Eurozine's series "Europe talks to Europe", prominent intellectuals diagnosed causes for the current malaise of the EU. [ more ]

05.08.2011
 

Economy... and ethics

Roland Benedikter

Austerity plus growth: Europe's winning combination?

elections The revival of the parliamentary Left in France, Italy and Greece brings hope for an egalitarian turn in European crisis management. Yet many citizens also fear that the zig zag course will nullify their previous sacrifices in the name of austerity, warns Roland Benedikter. [ more ]

15.06.2012
Claus Offe

Europe in the trap

economic crisis Claus Offe opts for democracy over the logic of no alternative and a politics that fails to provide the electorate with choices. For therein lies the trap. Only more solidarity and more democracy can rescue the eurozone from the brink of collapse. [Catalan version added] [ more ]

15.01.2013
Michael Ignatieff

Progressive politics for hard times

economic crisis Responding to Tony Judt's appeal to the lost values of social democracy, Michael Ignatieff makes a case for solidarity amidst recession, while arguing for a politics of individual empowerment over corporate and state-sector self-privileging. [ more ]

25.05.2012
Ramón González Férriz

Talking about my generation

Spain The recession has returned a generation of Spaniards to a cruel reality: that they may have to live with less than their parents did. Whether they alter their expectations or try to stop the clock will be decisive, writes "Letras Libres" editor Ramón González Férriz. [Hungarian version added] [ more ]

10.05.2012
Jacques Rupnik

The euro crisis: Central European lessons

Central Europe Differing national situations in eastern central Europe explain lack of solidarity and varying perceptions of the crisis' risks and remedies, writes Jacques Rupnik, and can be seen in terms of political lessons learned. [German version added] [ more ]

30.03.2012
Marcin Król

Farmers in fairy-tale land

Poland and the European crisis

Poland Lack of political decision-making and the demise of objectivism have landed Europe where it is today, argues Marcin Król. A lesson could be learned from Poland, whose tradition of economic liberalism and rural pragmatism has enabled the country to weather the crisis. [Hungarian version added] [ more ]

13.04.2012
Iannis Carras

Structural funds and crocodile tears

Why the EU must share the blame for the Greek crisis

Greece Misdirected EU aid in Greece has fostered political clientelism, writes Iannis Carras. Instead of learning from mistakes, current EU/IMF policy favours construction and privatization of state land. Quite apart from the environmental risks, this is counterproductive in economic terms. [ more ]

23.12.2011
Georges Prévélakis

Greece: The history behind the collapse

Greece Greece's economic crisis has its roots in a political pact dating back to the foundation of the modern state, writes Georges Prévélakis. The threat posed to Europe by the Greek breakdown is less contagion than a wave of anti-western feeling that could exacerbate geopolitical instabilities. [Hungarian version added] [ more ]

23.12.2011
Victor Tsilonis

Another groundhog day in Greece?

Greece The suicide of a pensioner outside the Greek parliament, the latest in a series, sums up the mood of a population confronted with the steady erosion of its rights. Victor Tsilonis wonders whether tomorrow will be just another day in Greece's "predestined" future. [Greek version added] [ more ]

16.04.2012
Werner Plumpe

Stable instabilities

Capitalism in historical perspective

euro crisis It's not capitalism that has come to an end but a mode of politics that seeks to guarantee market stability, argues Werner Plumpe. The crisis must be allowed to serve its cyclical function, the state limiting itself to compensating for the social consequences of economic transformation. [ more ]

15.12.2011
Stewart Lansley

"Managed" v "market capitalism": The record

economy The thirty-year long experiment in market capitalism has failed to unleash a new era of dynamism, argues Stewart Lansley. Examining key areas in which the market model was supposed to deliver, he finds that, on almost every count, "managed capitalism" outperformed its successor. [ more ]

07.12.2011
John Grahl

Towards the surveillance union

Politics and the euro crisis

tutelage Is the monetary union worth preserving if it means the virtual colonization of the weakest member economies? Assessing responses to the euro crisis, John Grahl observes a regime emerging in which EU authorities override national decision-making in every aspect of public policy. [ more ]

01.12.2011
John Grahl

Crisis in the Eurozone

Debt Europe's dogmatic belief in the intrinsic stability of market economies caused imbalances in competitiveness to be ignored as long as easy credit provided the illusion of growth. Present stabilization arrangements are inadequate: necessary is a Europeanization of debt, argues John Grahl. [ more ]

20.09.2011
Daniel Daianu

Markets and society

When high finance cripples the economy and corrodes democracy

Democracy The current financial crisis is not confined to economies, writes former Romanian finance minister Daniel Daianu. The erosion of the middle class, the spread of extremism and the threat to democracy are some of the more obvious social effects demanding attention. [ more ]

21.07.2011
Roger Scruton

Unreal estate

Exit social democracy Freemarket disregard for the elementary moral truths of debt and obligation is to blame for the current crisis, says Roger Scruton. But the call for a return to economic morality is no endorsement of the financial fictions of the social democratic state. [ more ]

27.09.2011
Michael R. Krätke

Misnomer Euro-crisis

Exit neoliberalism The common "economic governance" being mooted in Berlin and Brussels indeed needs to happen, writes Michael Krätke. The crucial question, however, is what kind of policy the EU would operate. One thing is sure: the neoliberal course taken until now is unsustainable. [ more ]

09.02.2011
Daniel Daianu, Robert Misik

Economy and ethics in crisis

A new-old East-West divide?

debate The aggressive monetary policies of western financial institutions were a major factor for the crisis of eastern European economies after the bubble burst in 2008. What are the ethical and political implications of western investment in eastern Europe and the globalized economy as a whole? [ more ]

14.03.2011
 

Identity, integration, solidarity

Björn Elmbrant

Whose Europe?

broken Europe? The euro will be brought down by a European Tea Party-type movement, predicts Björn Elmbrant. But the EU has a role to play beyond the euro. Instead of a neoliberal politics of austerity we need a Marshall plan for Greece, Ireland and Portugal. [ more ]

17.01.2012
Marc-Olivier Padis

Responsibility for Europe: A relative concept

On French-German tensions during the euro crisis

political culture French-German leadership during the crisis has been fraught with tension. It's not so much that Germany is abandoning its responsibilities, more a case of differences in political culture. While Germany may seem dilatory, French resolve forfeits democratic deliberation. [ more ]

16.12.2011
Rainer Hank

Sovereignty, not solidarity

A plea for the sovereignty of Europe's nation-states

eurocrisis As state sovereignty unravels, citizens lose trust in political institutions and the insidious hollowing out of democracy ensues, Rainer Hank rails against the "repressive power that the pressure of solidarity exercises over the parliaments of donor states". [ more ]

28.01.2013
Ariadne Lewanska, Pierre Manent

Migration, patriotism and the European agendum

An interview with historian of ideas Pierre Manent

European identity A European patriotism can be generated only through political acts that create a sense of solidarity, says historian Pierre Manent. If invocations of Europe are to be anything but vacuous, Europe must be decisive in defining its interests and demarcating its boundaries. [ more ]

21.09.2011
Claus Leggewie

Sea and sun for Europe

A new project for the next generation

democracy Democratic upsurge in North Africa can combine with the energy revolution to revive the European project. Two-way developmental traffic across the Mediterranean would leave new generations in both North and South with fair chances of a good life. [ more ]

02.11.2011
John Palmer

The EU crisis: Integration or gradual disintegration?

European integration Faced with the costs of the splintering of the euro, EU governments will, however reluctantly, have to agree to deepen not weaken integration, writes John Palmer, former European editor of "The Guardian". And most voters will agree. [ more ]

31.08.2011
Ulrike Guérot

Which Germany does Europe need?

The German question Euro-scepticism is rampant in the country formerly the driving force of European integration. In order to bring Germany back onside and prevent it feeling exploited, other big EU-states must take a more proactive role in European decision making, writes Ulrike Guérot. [ more ]

22.06.2011
Victor Tsilonis

Monsters in the mist

Greece Hazy though its contours might be, Greece's economic crisis didn't creep up from behind, writes Victor Tsilonis. The scandals littering Greek politics in recent decades indicate a chronic lack of accountability, culminating in the anti-constitutional approval of the EU/IMF loans. [ more ]

28.07.2011
 

The future?

Slavenka Drakulic

Euroskansen

Dystopia Europe as outdoor museum? Threatened with extinction by all-consuming privatization and the pursuit of endless profit, self-musealization might be Europe's only hope. Slavenka Drakulic has a scary vision of the future of the European way of life. [ more ]

03.02.2011
 

Partner




This Focal Point represents a cooperation between Eurozine and the Allianz Kulturstiftung, who also supports the Eurozine Review.

 

 

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