Monday, 2 May 2011

"Europe’s Painful Farewell" - an excellent Australian analysis

"The European Union lacks the basic constitutive element of a nation state, namely a people"

Sometimes it takes an outside observer to figure out what is really going on in Europe. Take e.g. Dr. Dr Oliver Marc Hartwich, who has written an excellent analysis - Europe’s Painful Farewell: An Essay on the Decline of the Old World - for the Australian Centre for Independent Studies.

Here are some of the points Dr. Hartwich makes:

European integration was a response to the catastrophes of the two world wars. By binding European nations closer together and integrating them in the framework of the European Union, it was hoped that former rivalries could be overcome and lasting peace and prosperity be created.

As it turns out, despite these efforts Europe has remained a continent with countries so different that they cannot be effectively harmonised under the EU banner. Above all, their diversity and a lack of a common European identity make it impossible to organise European affairs under the model of a national state. The European Union lacks the basic constitutive element of a nation state, namely a people.
Given the inadequate structures of the European Union, Europe is unable to come to grips with its three most difficult challenges: the state of public finances; the ageing of its population; and the integration of migrants from other cultural backgrounds.

The financial problems are not limited to Greece and other countries at the periphery of the Eurozone. Even supposedly stable countries such as Britain and Germany have long lived beyond their means, accumulating enormous amounts of debt in the process. Part of Europe’s debt problems are hidden in pension liabilities. Once they are taken into account, the scale of Europe’s debt is frightening at several times annual economic output in many countries.

Read the summary of Mr. Hartwich´s essay here

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