Tags: euro | unite | europe | tear

Euro Was Intended to Unite Europe, Not Tear It Apart

Friday, 21 Oct 2011 02:10 PM

By Michelle Smith

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The euro was a political project meant to unite Europe after the Soviet collapse in a sphere of collective prosperity that would lead to greater federalism, reports the New York Times, which adds that instead the euro seems to be pulling Europe apart.

Former U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown diagnosed the crisis in Europe primarily as a banking and economic growth crisis, according to the Huffington Post.

His view, the Post reports, is that world leaders never fully addressed the underlying fundamentals of the financial crisis and are now facing the same persistent problems — too many banks with too little cash on hand and a lack of knowledge about where money is flowing and how it puts the system at risk.

But the Times outlines a bowl of European troubles that is much more complex, including social and cultural issues.

The current crisis over the euro has deep roots in the imbalances between north and south, rich and poor, export-led and service-driven economies, tied together by a currency but few rules, and those rarely enforced, the Times reports.

Then, it adds, leaders seem diminished; local politics trump solidarity.

There is a new nationalism degrading the collective responsibility and shared sovereignty that defines the European Union.

Euro-skepticism runs from far-right parties that simultaneously detest immigrants, globalism and Brussels to the governing parties of Europe’s most successful countries, the New York Times reports.

And not to be forgotten is that Europe is a land where aging populations are sapping expensive social welfare and pension programs while upcoming generations are slapped with austerity measures while being pressed to pay the bills.

The supposed underlying principles of the eurozone seem to be eroding.

Meanwhile, leaders are busy focusing on the financial aspects of the problem to prevent an economic crisis, but there are other issues that need to be addressed too and perhaps it is unclear to them how serious those are.

There is tension in the political system and doubt about democratic institutions that we have not experienced since the fall of the Soviet Union, Nicolas Baverez, a French economist and historian told the New York Times.

According to Gordon Brown, European leaders always “take action that is too little and too late.”

“You move from what was perhaps a manageable problem to a situation that has gone out of control because it hasn't been dealt with adequately,” Brown told the Huffington Post.

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