The Euro and Nationalism

Article published on May 8, 2002
community published
Article published on May 8, 2002

This article has not been vetted by an editor at Paris HQ

Last week I read on the Café Babel´s web-pages the article of three French authors called The Euro, a bridge between nations, a window on the future?. The title of this article was a question, but I haven´t found any satisfactory answer in the text followed.

The most of discussions of the influence of the Euro on European society stays on an argument of new dynamics of integration process. The fourth month of the genuine Euro-era shows - apart from economical problems with a new currency - also begining of the warning political process, of which last consequence is the success of Jean-Marie Le Pen in French presidential elections.

Two months ago published Mr Petr Robejek, director of Institute of Politics and Economics in Hamburg, an article called Time Bomb Euro (in Czech: LN, 3/2 2002). In the article he expects that unified European currency will stimulate a new wave of nationalism in Europe. The reason why saw Robejek in disproportions between expectations of people in EU-countries and inability of their governments to use economical tools in governing e. g. through a comparative advantage in European internationlal bussines. This inability should have been caused of their incompetence in currency-policy, done by European Central Bank in Frankfurt.

This problem will rise after the enlargement of EU. New members stay economically under the average level of today´s EU countries. The bill for following enlargement of European Monetary Union could be considered by many citizens of the old EU-countries as their costs and benefits of new, economically weaker EU-members. (Although it won´t be truth! New members will have to keep Copenhagen-rules as strictly as it today´s EMU members do.)

New generation of politicians will use new arguments against untransparent EU- governing in enlarged Europe. Old fashioned euro-optimism of Kohl and Mitterand´s policy will be changed for strong euro-negativistic rhetorics. Why? Because most of today´s generation of euro politicians can better comunicate with each other than with the voter. But this voter expects to hear, why the dynamics of process of integration is stimulated primery by economical tools? Why goes economics before politics and not vice versa - as in domestic policy? Voter could probably ask, why do his politicians euro-politics, if they aren´t able to work out their domestic problems (E. g. in social sphere - social benefits, unemployment, integration of immigrants, etc.)

The answer on this question gave him unfortunately extreme political powers.

This tendencies represent a great threat for European integration process. Politicians on each levels - should to change empty euro-propaganda for communication with European civil society - with their voters. They should not only answer them satisfactory these questions, but also accept their suggestions and use their initiatives for restore enlarged EU on political, not on economical base.