Τρίτη, 11 Φεβρουαρίου 2014
the rapidly growing number of hopeless and dejected Europeans
Θεωρώ "λαϊκιστές" όσους άλλα τάζουν και άλλα κάνουν. Όσους πίσω από ιδεολογίες μαϊμούδες μάς οδηγούν ...αλλού. Θεωρώ ότι για εμάς η "Ενωμένη" "Ευρώπη" υπήρξε η χυδαία λαϊκίστικη σειρήνα. Θεωρώ ότι η τράπεζα είναι σημαδεμένη σε βάρος μας από φτιαχτούς πολιτικούς και αγορασμένους (αλλά πρόθυμους) μεσάζοντες. Δεν θεωρώ ότι η έξοδος θα είναι εύκολη ή ανώδυνη, αλλά είναι μάλλον προτιμητέα -- αν δίνουμε αξία στην ...εθνική ύπαρξη. Θεωρώ ότι "ιστορικά", για εμάς, η "Ευρώπη" είναι ότι ήταν και από τον καιρό που επεκράτησαν οι Ρωμαίοι... Ή οι ...Φράγκοι. Αλλά έχω και κάποια υποψία για τις καταβολές μας μεταξύ 1770 και 1917.
A narrowly approved referendum in Switzerland is a warning against the dangers of European populism as the gap grows between the elite and their constituencies. Bern is being forced by a slight majority of Swiss voters to enact immigration quotas against the will of the country's political and economic leaders, a cautionary tale that is not lost on the EU officials who are finding it increasingly difficult to solve the bloc's political problems.
By a margin of just 0.6 percent, Swiss voters opted for an implementation of immigration quotas for EU citizens, who heretofore could visit, reside or work in Switzerland freely. Earlier Monday, we noted that even though Switzerland is not a member of the European Union, its decision to cap immigration has emboldened Euroskeptical parties elsewhere in the bloc that have lately become more popular. As Europe's economic crisis continues to worsen, some tenets of the EU experiment, such as the free movement of people across borders, have become easy targets for groups that were once considered fringe parties but are now legitimate political opposition groups.
But any celebration from these groups would elide one of the European Union's fundamental problems: the struggle between autonomy and supranationalism. The bloc is an imperfect union; it lacks the ability to synchronize political, financial and monetary policy among its members. Lawmakers and other government officials are beholden to their domestic constituencies, which prioritize short-term action over nebulous and arcane proposals that are sure to be painful at first and only hopefully beneficial in the long term. However, those same leaders are restricted by their membership contract that, among other things, concedes their monetary and trade sovereignty, limiting their ability to create and enact efficient responses to crises.
Regardless of political belief, the radical nature of the current European quandary necessitates a radical response. Increasingly mainstream Euroskeptical parties advocate a break from the European Union, the dissolution of the euro and a return to a continent populated by entirely independent nation-states. The political elite that controls Brussels -- and a good part of Europe's governments and institutions -- want a more closely integrated union that brings the political and fiscal realm under the aegis of a strong system, presumably backed, financed and led by Germany. [μόνο που αυτή είναι λιγάκι "τα δικά μου δικά μου και τα δικά σου δικά μου" και υπαγορεύει και τους κανόνες επί τούτου, και καλά κάνει, αλλά... οι υπόλοιποι;]
Each solution has its merits, but they both would require a long and painful adjustment period. In one scenario, French business owners, who have already seen exports fall, could encounter steep protective tariffs from Spain. In another, German taxpayers could have to continue subsidizing Greece.
The problem is as old as the concept of modern democracy itself. Voters have a hard time voluntarily subscribing to painful policies, even if there are obvious detrimental repercussions to near-sighted symptomatic relief measures. But political theory aside, it is becoming increasingly difficult to present a cogent argument for either option that does not involve a noticeable decrease in quality of life and perhaps even economic security for years to come in Europe.
It may seem like Euroskeptical and far-right parties are becoming more popular; in fact, the numbers indicate that they are. The problem is that the changes they advocate will be as painful as the policies by which Europe now abides. This is causing a rift to form within these parties. Even as Euroskeptical parties will eventually have to moderate their views, as the socialist ones did after the early stages of the crisis, some party factions and personalities will continue to say that leaving the European Union or the eurozone would be painless and fruitful, belying the realities of the system whose control they seek to inherit. More simply, this is known as populism, in which the groundswell of mass opinion overwhelms the elite, or the political elite sees no choice but to accede to popular will. It is unsurprising that the first populist blow against a foundational principle of modern Europe came from Switzerland -- the country's fondness for direct democracy and ambivalence about the European Union make it a prime ground for such events. But Switzerland also has a long tradition of managing and neutralizing referendum-driven policies that are too destabilizing. Its enormous wealth per capita and political stability afford it more room to maneuver than EU members.
There are no easy options for Europe, which will soon have to choose its path, one way or another. So far, it has chosen to postpone that decision, but there is a limit to how long the system can prop itself up on ad hoc survival measures. The great challenge facing Europe is that in addition to all the institutional constraints of sovereignty and EU politics, it faces the possibility of being robbed of the very ability to make that choice by a victory by the populists, whose songs sound sweeter to the rapidly growing numbers of hopeless and dejected Europeans.
Έχετε και αυτό το poll στο νου σας...