How European politicians began to think of themselves as Europeans


GElman Thorough wording. Almost all concepts seem to be covered by a single compound word.There is Kummerspeck, Or the weight to put on when sad. Torschlusspanik Because you are worried that your life will run out and you will lose opportunities. To be the most satisfying Backpfeifengesicht For when someone has a slap face.When it comes to that EU, The compound word pops up repeatedly. Schicksalsgemeinschaft, Or the fateful community. The new German Chancellor Olaf Scholz used this phrase to explain why Germany had to help its neighbors in a pandemic. His predecessor, Angela Merkel, was also a fan. But now, if not a tongue twister, the concept extends beyond the German-speaking world.

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The acceptance between European leaders and voters that the fate of the continent is tied was a major change in the two years that your starting columnist spent writing this column. The remaining disagreements with this idea were resolved during the pandemic. The long-standing refusal to issue ordinary debt has been revoked. (Chancellor Merkel once said that there would be no common debt in her lifetime. At the time of writing, she is fighting health.) Even the most sovereign governments like Poland are willing to EU Responsible for organizing continental vaccines at the frontier of the new constitution.

It became clear that the problems faced by each country need to be addressed by the continent. Effective climate policies can only be adjusted at the superstate level. No European country is big enough to deal with China and even Russia alone. Most importantly Schicksalsgemeinschaft Changed European politics. Until recently, leaders lightly stepped on each other’s grass to prevent others from trampling. But in the fateful community, everything is the work of everyone else.

Some of the reasons for the shift are simple: money. The director is the price of solidarity. In the summer of 2020, leaders approved a € 750 billion ($ 850 billion) recovery fund paid in common debt, half of which was provided as a grant rather than a loan to poor countries. Dutch taxpayer money is spent in Italy. German cash is funded by Poland. It’s only natural that they pay attention to how it is used.

Ghost Schicksalsgemeinschaft Previously summoned. Chancellor Merkel used it to explain why hundreds of billions of dollars worth of loans were needed to hit the Southern European economy during the eurozone crisis. But it was different. Lending money to a friend is one thing. Not expecting it to come back, as in the case of € 390 billion out of € 750 billion, is another matter. Legally, this scheme is one-time only. However, as a general rule, the red line has been erased. It has been used once and can be used again.

When money is shared, so is politics. The EU It has become domestic politics by other means. During the pandemic, politicians went beyond the heads of their peers and began to appeal directly to each other’s voters. Giuseppe Conte, then Prime Minister of Italy, appeared in a Dutch newspaper begging for help. His Dutch counterpart, Mark Rutte, appeared in an Italian newspaper explaining why it didn’t come (until he shifted). During the eurozone crisis, such interventions were new. Now they are standard. If voters in other countries have a say, it makes sense to try to upset them.

Fear about EU It won’t fall apart anymore. Clubs will not accidentally fall apart. If I had to choose one, EU Hard to break: It becomes more robust from all crises (by closing holes already filled in other regimes). It also leaves no appetizing options. Britain was the country that most strongly resisted Europe’s general idea of ​​fate and failed its departure. Even the most euro-skeptical politicians have given up leaving. The question is no longer existential, it is political.

Of course, sticking together causes problems. Troublesome members like Poland aren’t going to leave. Britain sought clean Brexit and broke the rules that tied it to the continent. Poland chooses dirty debris, hangs around and ignores the stenosis it dislikes. Crushing the consensus is the only option. On the contrary, bad behavior can no longer be ignored. Most leaders spent most of the 2010s politely, avoiding the topic of democratic recessions in Hungary and Poland. Nowadays, for example, it is common to see Dutch politicians rebuking Polish politicians.

Stuck in the middle of the EU

The community of fate is not necessarily the community of peace.Line between EU As we switch from economics to deeper issues of values, countries will become more troublesome. The EU You will find that banning scarves in your business solves whether it is an advocacy of worldly values ​​or an attack on religious freedom. At this summer’s summit, leaders argued with Victor Oban for proposing a bill on homosexuality. The emotions are so high because they stick together. Family fights are always more painful than fighting colleagues.

People outside the community have an even tougher time. The story of “Western” values ​​has been replaced by “European” values. Leaders such as Emmanuel Macron play a transatlantic division. He suggests that the difference between Europe and the United States is so great that it is best considered as a separate civilization with different worldviews, whether capitalist or not. le wokisme.. Clubs that were once evangelical are now defensive. Impermeable border, EUA unique border agency is a policy with universal support among its members.

As EU It will be a civilized nation rather than a nation-state, settled on something similar to a normal nation with border guards, debt, currency, and increasingly shared politics. Europe has always needed an “other”, an outsider to judge himself. Now it has the rest of the world. Most politicians on the continent have reins on nationalism. But they are happy with the Europeanivism that has replaced it. ■■

Read more from Charlemagne, a columnist on European politics:

Emmanuel Macron’s tricky Christmas gift (December 18th)
Angela Merkel, an invisible European (December 11th)
Reasons to choose random rules in Brussels (December 4th)

This article was published in the European section of the print edition under the heading “Everyone other’s business”.

How European politicians began to think of themselves as Europeans

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The post How European politicians began to think of themselves as Europeans appeared first on Eminetra.


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