Thursday, December 7, 2017

Whither Europe?

I ponder the future of Europe in the wake of major political changes in France and Germany.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Schulz's speech to the SPD conference was anything but prosaic- it was more visionary than anything that Macron has dared to propose, and as a matter of practical politics it is completely mad. Of course it isn't meant as a practical proposal- it just meant to affirm the pro-European bona fides of the SPD and show that they are different from the CDU/CSU. The goal of a United States of Europe if anything farther off now than it was in the days of Schumann and Monet. If Schulz wanted to be daring he would do better to endorse some of Macron's more concrete proposals: either a Euro finance minister with real power and a substantial budget, or genuine German commitment to European defense. These more modest steps towards real integration are politically difficult for him, so instead he commits to the impossible, knowing he will never have to make his promise good. For good measure he makes an implicit threat to expel Poland and Hungary from the Union- this sort of loose, agressive talk from a German politician does eastern liberals no favors. (If EU member states were actually forced to decided between a US of Europe and leaving the EU, as Schulz claims to want, they would almost all leave.)

Schulz's proposals are even more absurd as the false promises of Boris Johnson about Brexit. There will be no European State by 2025. Pro-EU politicians must promise tangible goods that they can deliver, and then deliver them. If they promise the moon and then fail to deliver, voters will rightly conclude that they are as cynical as the populists they oppose.