Claus Offe

Claus Offe opts for democracy over “TINA” logic (“there is no alternative”), which only leads to a politics that fails to provide the electorate with choices. And therein lies the trap. Only more solidarity and more democracy, he argues, can rescue the eurozone from the brink of collapse.

“Democracy” in post-communist Europe is strongly associated with high levels of state-sponsored social protection, indicating a culture far removed from the prevalent system of market-mediated private provision. The dissatisfaction with democracy expressed by the many not to have benefited from transition suggests CEE welfare states have a long way to go before they attain western levels of credibility. Their democracies depend on that gap being bridged.

Beyond do-it-yourself politics, short-lived mass protests in the metropolises and a further swelling of the ranks of the popular right, the democratization of democracy is still possible, contends Claus Offe. But not if political life remains locked within the “prison of the market”.

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 and opinion makers from western and eastern Europe diagnosed causes for the current malaise of the EU.