Nemški in francoski akademiki proti potopu EU barke

Lani oktobra je skupina 11-ih nemških ekonomistov, sociologov in politologov, zbranih v skupini The Glienicker Group, objavila javno pismo Towards a Euro Union z nekaj predlogi za reformo EU. Danes je podoben javni poziv ‘For a Euro Community‘ objavila skupina 12-ih francoskih akademikov, zbranih v skupini The Eiffel Group. Obema skupinama je skupna skrb za obstanek in razvoj EU.

Meni so njuni pozivi in predlogi za reforme zelo blizu. Toda bojim se, da trkata na zaprta vrata. Stališča njunih kolegov v njihovih nacionalnih okoljih so se že dokaj homogenizirala v smeri manj Evrope in več nacionalne suverenosti. To se izraža tudi v tem, kako malo svojih kolegov sta skupini uspeli motivirati za podpis teh izjav. Zdi se, da je vsakdo začel gledati le še lastne nacionalne interese in kako bi se čim manj prisilno solidariziral z drugimi.

Bojim se, da testa sedanje krize EU ne bo uspešno prestala. Bojim se, da trendi kažejo v smeri pospešene dezintegracije. Če evropski voditelji in Evropska komisija ne bodo zelo kmalu in zelo odločno sprožili široke politične in pan-evropske akcije za reformo EU in evrskega območja, bomo vsi skupaj kmalu skakali v rešilne čolne.

The Glienicker Group: Towards a Euro Union

If public sentiment in Germany is anything to go by, there is little reason to worry about Europe. The period when it was feared that the euro might collapse seems a long time ago. Financial markets have calmed down. The design flaws of the monetary union seem to have been papered over, and European Council President Herman van Rompuy was able to claim, unchallenged, before the UN General Assembly in New York that the “existential threat to the euro” is over.

We think this is fundamentally wrong. There is no reason to relax the guard. On the contrary, the complacency of large sections of the German public with regard to the euro crisis is not only unfounded: it is dangerous. None of the fundamental problems underlying the euro crisis have been solved – not the banking crisis, nor the sovereign debt crisis, nor the competitiveness crisis. National debt problems continue to escalate. Banks are overloaded with bad loans, crippling the private sector. In the crisis countries, a generation is being deprived of its livelihoods and opportunities. The margins of the political spectrum in these countries are becoming increasingly radicalized.  And willingness to find common solutions for the euro area appears to be rapidly on the wane.

We – eleven German economists, lawyers and political scientists – cannot accept the prospect of further playing for time and betting – with ever-larger wagers – that the crisis will eventually pass. Europe has structural problems that require structural solutions. Even though this is not a popular view at the moment, we are convinced that the monetary union needs deeper integration. More particularly, it needs a sufficiently powerful European economic government.

We speak as German but also as EU citizens who are connected with other EU citizens in a community. This is no contradiction: it is in Germany’s self-interest to overcome fears about a transfer union and to stop dismissing any constructive proposal as an attempt to pull the money out of German pockets.

The no-bailout principle, which states that no state is allowed to save another from bankruptcy, was right. But if its enforcement causes incalculable damage, neither debtors nor creditors will believe the assertion that states must take direct responsibility for themselves. The architecture of the euro area can only be sound and stable if it prevents such collateral damage. That requires deeper integration, in four areas. 

These four points – the responsibility of creditors, protection of opportunities, protection of democracy and rule of law, and preservation of public goods – are the minimum required to keep the euro alive. But more needs to be done to develop the full potential of the EU. The EU must exploit promote common public goods for the benefit of all.

The Eiffel Group: For a Euro Community

Everyone expected that Economic and Monetary Union would bring prosperity and improve the living conditions and employment possibilities of Europe’s citizens, prior to political rapprochement.

Its design flaws, and management errors, have produced the opposite. Europe’s citizens have grave doubts. We however are convinced that we must not give up. The initial goals of European integration – to ensure well-being and peace – are as relevant as ever. To turn our backs on Europe would today be anachronistic, and tomorrow suicidal. Without building up expectations which can never be achieved, which has previously so often led to disappointment, a new step forward needs to be taken. Europe must find solutions to its concrete problems such as rising inequalities and unemployment, while also contributing to the preservation of the planet. It is essential that Europe does more to ensure that the values it defends are respected and which, far more than questions linked to the Single Market and European procedures, are likely to bring Europeans together. It must lead once again.

This is why we are suggesting a strategic choice: to construct a political Community which is democratic and based around the euro, while remembering that monetary union was conceived as the bedrock of a much greater project, which intended to unite men and not as an end in itself. Our group is pluralist because the urgency of the situation, just as the violence of the attacks against Europe, needs all Europeans to come together, while respecting each other.

We want to raise awareness in France but also to launch an appeal which goes much further. We are convinced that France and Germany retain a particular responsibility in Europe, thus we share most of the diagnoses and proposals made by the German Glienicker group.

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