Dimitris Rapidis

There is an obvious lack of trust in the European plan, the one that was built under difficult and sometimes unravelling circumstances in the aftermath of World War II. It seems that suddenly some scholars and European citizens realized that European Integration cannot get accomplished and that the European establishment is not as strong and solid as we used to believe.

But how this feeling actually came in? If someone goes behind the lines it can note that European economic and political integration is built upon three fundamental moral elements: discipline, solidarity, legalization. The Eurozone crisis shows that Europe’s institutions of political integration do not reflect in the financial integration that was built. This imbalance is not viable and new forms of discipline, solidarity and legalization have to be invented.

Furthermore, Eurozone crisis is in fact three crisis combined: a financial one, an institutional one, and a moral one. The financial one is the outcome perceived as a dangerous combination of lack of competition, public finance problems, and teetering banks. The institutional one reflects the badly-shaped and misconducting features over which the Monetary Union was based in – such as the deficiencies of the central monitoring power over national markets, the lack of decisiveness and the irregular distribution of dangers. In addition to that, Eurozone is hit by a crisis of legalization in the context of which support over the single currency seems to get decreased. This is the moral crisis and it seems to be the most complex one that necessitates special attention.

The European Union has made significant progress towards addressing the crisis. It has come to the conclusion that it needs more discipline and more solidarity throught the creation of the Financial Agreement Pact and the relevant Growth Pact. But still the survival of Eurozone fianally depends on the retracking of the European Integration process that would bring short-term actions and long-term reforms into the same context of progress. To do that, the European Union needs to launch an open and sincere debate that would surpass national borders, national issues, and national parties. Cities, societies, and civil groups have to participate in this process and provide solutions and critical thoughts.

I hereby recommend two proposals for further discussion:

1. With the view of the forthcoming European Elections in May 2014, the discussion inside the European Union should start from bringing political integration into track. That is to bring this topic in the headline of a pan-European discussion -spliting to subsequent national discussions and debates amid the candidates- that would entail stricking issues such as the efficiency of the mechanisms, the Eurozone crisis, the decisional process, the actions ahead. If Europe wants to be referred as a Union, European Elections have to take different dimensions and national governments to stop seeing them as of minor interest comparing to national elections. European Elections are of equal importance and governments should take it into account.

2. Each European political formation (e.g. Socialists, Conservatives, Liberals, Greens e.tc) should propose a candidate for the head of the European Commission. All candidates should participate in debates upon European issues during the pre-election period, travelling across Europe, discussing with citizens and civil society groups. People shoud have a saying and we should start from that.

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    1. I am aware of this case and I definitely believe we cannot avoid such developments -every interest group or lobbyist is supporting a certain policy. To some extent this is acceptable but in broader issues we shouldn’t forget what was one of the founding concepts of the EU establishment: that of building a federation with spliting yet central powers -therefore supporting mutual interests. Both France and the UK were up for it to. Though there is always a BUT in each big and ambitious plan…

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