Monday, June 13, 2005

Europe, slow and steady

A little bit of a pep talk and a rallying of the troops by the statesman Helmut Schmidt--Europe, slow and steady - Editorials & Commentary - International Herald Tribune. He also points to the problem:

Currently, the most important aspect... is clearly high unemployment. Anyone who examines its origins will see that it is only in the smallest part due to any failings in the EU, in no way due to the euro and hardly at all to globalization, but rather to failures within the member states. That applies for employment-market and wage policies, for some extravagances in welfare and social policy, and for economic overregulation. Member states themselves need to get their unhealthy budgets into better order...

The EU is not the source of the problem, so the EU is not the solution either:

The EU institutions cannot heal the social and economic ills of the member states. And the Union cannot even remotely help new members financially as it once did Ireland, Spain or Greece. Instead, all the member states must identify their own ailments and draw their own consequences.

He suggests some possible outcomes:

A variety of further developments are conceivable. It is possible that the additional expansions currently under way may have to cease. It is unfortunately possible that the EU may shrink into an institutionally enriched free-trade zone; the British would certainly be happy with that. It is possible that the European Parliament may force at least the urgently needed parliamentarization of all Brussels decisions, even without a constitution. But it is also possible that in a few years time, negotiations could lead to the formation of an inner core of Europe from several governments and their nations.

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