European Union: Give democracy a chance
1 décembre 2011
Is the EU turning into an empire ruled by Germany? For German sociologist Ulrich Beck, we should take advantage of this widespread and much discussed fear to establish a new organisation for the Union, based on a real community of citizens. Extraits.
Europe already accomplished a miracle once before: enemies became neighbours. In the light of the euro crisis, the cardinal question must be confronted once again: how can Europe guarantee its citizens peace, freedom and security in the risk-storms raging in the globalised world? This calls for nothing less than a second miracle: how can the Europe of bureaucracy become a Europe of citizens?
Once upon a time, after the Greek debt had been devalued, people began to breathe easily and to draw hope: Europe had survived and was perhaps even strong and agile enough to overcome its problems. Then the Greek prime minister, Giorgios Papandreou, announced that he wanted to put this fateful question to the Greek people in a referendum. Suddenly, the hidden, inverted reality came to light. In Europe, which is so proud of its democracy, someone who practices democracy becomes a threat to Europe! Papandreou was forced to call off the democratic referendum.
Whereas just a short time ago we had hoped, to quote the German poet Hölderlin, that "Where there is danger, salvation grows too", now a new counter-reality is appearing on the horizon: where there is salvation, danger grows too. At any rate, the anxious question has suddenly wormed its way into people's heads: Are the measures introduced to rescue the euro abolishing European democracy? Will the "rescued" EU cease to be a European Union as we know it and instead become an "EE", a European Empire with a German stamp? Is this never-ending crisis giving birth to a political monster?
Not long ago it was commonplace to speak in disparaging terms about the cacophony in the European Union. Now all of a sudden Europe has a single telephone. It rings in Berlin and for the moment it belongs to Angela Merkel.
Yesterday it seemed as if the crisis was raising the old question of the finalité of European unification: should Europe become a nation writ large, a confederation, a federal state, a mere economic community, an informal UN, or something historically new: namely, a cosmopolitan Europe founded on European law that performs the role of politically coordinating Europeanised nation-states?
All of that suddenly looks like folklore. Even asking "Which Europe do we want?" is to act as though one could still choose after rescuing the euro. The train seems to have already left the station – at least for Greece, Italy and Spain. Read full article in the Guardian...