April 15, 2009
Solidarity has always been an important part of the foundations of the European Union. While it is clearly much more difficult to achieve solidarity among 27 Member States than 15 or less, this spirit is seriously lacking during the current economic and financial crises. But sadly this is a reflection on human nature. The Union has always progressed more successively in good economic times, despite the fact that cooperation is more important when the going gets rough. The Member States then tend to cooperate with much greater difficulty.
This is today unfortunate because if things go seriously wrong in Central Europe, we will all be affected. The Marshall Plan is perhaps the supreme example of enlightened self-interest. But today’s leadership seems incapable of rising to the occasion.
While many feel that the EU needs reforming, there are very few who suggest that we would be better without it. European integration is not past the point of no return. Imagine disintegration, the loss of the single market and the inevitable collapse of the euro. This would cause immeasurable damage to all Member States, whether or not they are euro area participants. We are already seeing too much protectionist and nationalistic sentiments.Author : Stanley Crossick