The “disenfranchisement” of the European citizens
It seems that something will indeed go bust soon. The "threads of legitimacy of politicaldecisions" in Europe are pulled "tightly enough to break, and things are squeaking andcrunching everywhere," says European parliamentarian Lambsdorff. Many politiciansand experts on Europe in the member states hold similar views. The Germanphilosopher and avowed European Jürgen Habermas warns of a "disenfranchisement ofEuropean citizens." And the European Reflection Group, a team of academics andpolitical thinkers chaired by Spain's Felipe González, is appealing to politicians in allcountries, saying: "We will only overcome the challenges which lie ahead if all of us --politicians, citizens, employers and employees -- are able to pull together with a newcommon purpose defined by the needs of the current
age. … In spite of all the EU's
past achievements there is a worrying indifference, if not disenchantment, towards theEuropean project. We can no longer ignore this challenge."Only very few citizens in Europe can comprehend what is happening to them. The EuroGroup, the German-French crisis meetings, the G-20, the International Monetary Fund(IMF) and the troika are making decisions about peace, freedom and prosperity, butwho exactly voted for them? Who can even understand the reasoning behind the latestattempts to cope with the crisis?There is growing support on the continent -
but not people support, only the elite wants’
it in fact - for González's view that only a united Europe, with politicians in Brussels withthe power to get things done, can avert the next crisis, offset the economic and socialimbalances within the EU and counter speculators on the financial markets. And it willonly be possible to implement policies set by Brussels in the nations of the EU if it has acommon, sustainable, democratic basis on the entire continent.
Many see the crisis as an opportunity
For Europe veteran Javier Solana, 69, it represents "the chance to make a great leapforward" -- the venture of bringing more democracy to Europe. This, says Solana, aformer NATO secretary general and subsequent EU foreign policy chief, is the only wayto achieve "true political integration."Solana describes how this can happen in his classes at Esade Geo, a private Madridand Barcelona business school, and in lectures around the world. In the opinion of theman known worldwide for his three-day beard, this great leap can even work without