April 22, 2013
Europe is not only Germany. It is not only France nor Austria or Finland. Europe is above all the fundamental idea of co-existence, the basis from which any global initiative aiming at creating a federal union has to stem from. Europe is also Greece, Italy, Spain, Cyprus. Therefore the major issue of concern is not whether we want more or less European Union, but how we want this European Union -and consequently Eurozone- to function.
The problem is not the monetary union and the euro. The problem is not the depth and width of Eurozone, in other words the number and performance of member-states. The problem is not whether Greece has to leave euro or not, or whether Cyprus could prosper outside Eurozone or not. But certainly the problem is that we have completely abandoned some of the fundamentals of the European Union. And this definitely stems from -if not being deeply affected by- austerity politics. There is a growing number of concerns that we should all deal with and find a common ground of deliberation with the view towards the European elections of 2014. And these issues are:
1. Why the European Union needs to have such a sclerotic policy regarding defense budgets? Why spending so much money for our security?
2. Why EU Neighborhood Policy -the fundamental idea of which I definitely support- needs to spend so much money in growth programs in North Africa, Middle East and around the globe, especially in a period of tough austerity and investment shortage?
3. Why immigration policy is so badly shaped? Why Dublin II is so biased against some member-states, the ones that shape the sea borders of the European Union? For how long some member-states will be obliged to maintain immigrants who want to cross EU borders for a better life?
4. Why there are no steps towards economic union so that monetary union can be more efficiently served and assisted?
Obviously there are many “whys” in this debate, but one thing is certain: that the problem of Europe is not the single currency and the structural deficiencies of domestic markets. The problem is austerity and the obsession on a certain policy that after all is not efficient. Short-term is not efficient for the overdebted states, but mid-term it will either not be efficient for Germany. And then we should expect a shift towards growth and development. But it would be too late, as unemployment and poverty would be no longer manageable in national and regional level.Dimitris Rapidis