November 5, 2010
Watching the news coming from the European Union the last week, we can understand that the Union is not having the best days ever. The financial crisis has brought in the spotlight the issues that are dividing the member states, and not the ones that bring them together. And in that case, the main dispute is for one more time the EU budget.
But this time is not about the funds for agriculture or the financial help of candidate countries as usual. It is about financial help to member states with huge budget deficits, a bad situation affecting a very big percentage of EU citizens. And off course, the countries that have handled the EU funds correctly and have really invested them in a way that now pays back, they are reacting against “soft” measures against the countries that have not been that disciplined.
And things would be better if the problem stayed in the financial sector and the fight was mostly between the ministers of economics and finance. But to my great surprise, last week the iron lady Frau Merkel suggested that the countries that are not fiscally disciplined should lose their voting rights in EU bodies. And when the Greek Prime Minister reacted fiercely by threatening to leave the conference if this suggestion remained on the table, the answer was “but we helped you Mr. Papandreou”, which to me sounds like “you should agree to quit all your rights since we gave you the money”. Is that the proper behaviour from one member state to another? Is that what we want for the EU of tomorrow or even the Europe of tomorrow?
After so many years of being a “wonderful reality”, when the member states came together and built a political Union for the better future of the next generation, the European Union seems now to be again, for the first time after a long period of progress, an “experiment with uncertain functionality and results”. And that is because, in these difficult times of the crisis, instead of enhancing the support to each other, we can see the cracks becoming deeper and deeper. We, the young people of Europe, are watching now our leaders, the generation of our parents, the ones that let us live the dream of a unified Europe, to take this dream away and giving us a picture of a messy conference hall instead.
And one may now wonder; has is always been like this, but we were unable to see it because we were prosperous? We came together only because money was involved and now that there are no money whatsoever we are about to break into something looser? The close cooperation will become a memory of the past and the common future will turn into a romantic illusion?
As a young member of this society that has worked on the cooperation between European people I refuse to accept that this future will change to a looser form. Our generation should not accept anything less than what we have now, just because some governments did a lousy job with the public finances or because some countries are still trying to dominate others.
Therefore, we, the young people of Europe, instead of getting disappointed after what we see happening in the political world, we should strengthen our efforts for European integration, so that we will continue to enjoy the benefits of a unified Europe. Because if Europe quits now its way to unification, what will be the real example of cooperation, peace and stability in the globe?
Author Panos PapagiannakosAuthor : ipwg