Friday, November 28, 2014
9

没有信任的欧洲

马德里——几十年来,欧盟的批评者一直在大谈民主赤字。我对这种对欧盟及其制度的批评向来不屑一顾,但如今,我确实看到欧盟内部存在一种新的危险赤字——信任赤字,不光存在于政府间,也存在于各成员公民间。

缺乏信任把欧元区推向了崩溃边缘,也把欧洲统一大业逼到了墙角。欧盟的历史之弦真的快要绷断了,这正是欧洲一体化所欲尽力防止的周期性欧洲灾难。听起来或许有些夸张,欧元的瓦解和可能让欧洲工程中途夭折的失序——姑且不论由此引起的国际反响——将引发不逊于任何历史先例的灾难。实际上,如果欧元像美元那样有一个座右铭的话,那将是:“我们不相信欧洲”。

但是,我们却看不到多少修正欧洲信任和信誉赤字的正是宣言,更不用说政策了。最近的危机暴露了一开始就存在的漏洞,也扩大了欧洲公民和欧盟制度之间、北欧和南欧之间以及欧洲各民族和精英阶层之间的裂缝。

事实上,危险的情绪已开始浮现,这反映了——也强化了——最糟糕的刻板印象,即“懒惰的南方”和“暴虐的北方”。5月底出版的最新一期皮尤研究调查(Pew Research Survey)颇能说明问题。调查表明,举世公认的工作最不上心的欧洲人是南欧人,尤其是希腊人。类似地,民调和选举结果表明,民粹主义在整个欧洲都在抬头,而金融市场冷酷无情——因为根据怀疑派的计算,欧盟拿不出必要的资金重塑信誉。

说到底,这是欧洲财政紧缩妨碍了增长前景,因而不会起多少经济作用造成的。紧缩的终极目标不是别的,正是重塑信任——让掏腰包的北欧人相信转移支付给受困国家的钱不会打水漂;让饱受开支削减痛苦折磨的人们相信他们的付出会得到承认和支持。

身处受困南欧的中心地带,我可以证明,紧缩的必要性确实是西班牙首相拉霍伊政府的主旋律,在最近的选举中赢得了明显的群众支持。改革西班牙储蓄银行、劳动力市场、福利制度以及自治区运转模式占据着国家日程的最优先级别(虽然不幸的是,这是应欧洲委员会和德国要求而不得不为之)。

但要重塑信任和信誉,光加强南欧纪律是远远不够的。北欧也必须做出让步。特别是德国必须承认其经济绝不是无辜受害者,而是欧元区最大的受益者——从欧元诞生的那一天起就是如此。这与其相反的以免——欧元崩溃将给德国带来经济灾难——意味着德国身负拯救欧元的不二义务。

近段时间以来,德国总理默克尔一直是紧缩反对者最大的攻击目标,不难理解,几个月以来德国一直对欧盟治理无力之痛袖手旁观,而不愿——事实上是无能为力——接过指挥棒。放眼未来,随着崩溃的风险越来越大,德国挺身而出的需要会变得更加紧迫。但是,一旦危机过去,欧盟制度性改革将是重塑信任的关键因素。

人们之所以认为欧盟存在民主赤字,是因为将“技术官僚瞎指挥”(technocratic imperative)推作没完没了的欧洲闹剧的替罪羊。根据这一观点,欧洲一体化从一开始(60多年前)就是有缺陷的,因为它最先是作为一项精英工程为人所知和发展的。但是,只要欧洲工程能带来繁荣,就不会有人回去质疑其合理性。

但是,如今,随着繁荣前景日渐黯淡,欧盟也成了最后的参照点。根据皮尤调查,自2007年以来各国欧盟支持率都在下降,捷克和西班牙下降了20个点,意大利下降了19个点,波兰下降了14个点。

如果欧盟制度要重新赢得信任和关联,就必须出台具体政策,对与欧洲公民利益直接相关的问题——青年人失业、城市规划、卫生、生物技术研究、节能、运输和老龄化等——给出答案。所有这些问题都是雄心勃勃的欧盟里斯本战略(Lisbon Strategy,于2000年提出到2010年将欧洲建设成全世界最具竞争力的经济体)的组成部分,但很快被各国政治日程绑架了。这样的情况决不能出现第二次。

事实上,欧元的失败并不是不可避免的。欧洲工程的凄凉现状与现实并不相符。欧洲拥有全世界最健康、教育程度最高的人口、规模最大的经济,拥有极强大的软实力储备,也承担者人权和民主价值的承诺。

但欧洲正在面临灾难。纪律和道德将是加强欧洲社会结构信任和信誉的关键——北欧一直不遗余力地强调着这一点。但是,除非所有欧洲人都意识到拯救欧元的责任(以及与之捆绑在一起的拯救欧元的责任),说再多都没有用。

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    1. CommentedMiguel de Arriba

      As Spanish, European and economist,I wish to express that distrust of my fellow speaking have created the politicians like her who not governed for and by the citizens, as it was required, but in favor of big business conglomerates.

      Corruption in the EU is enormous against citizens.

      There is a brutal transfer of money from the pockets of citizens to business accounts: privatization of basic services (education and health) and also slave labor conditions in favor of companies (temporary contracts that do not provide security and mini jobs undervalued).
      The iron law of wages of David Ricardo in full effect in the XXI century.

      The result was predictable and the impoverishment of Europe is a fact despite all the advances of humanity that should have produced the opposite effect leading a better life to most citizens.

      NOTE: In Spain the government, in his madness for favoring big companies (in this case the energy), intends to tax the Sun.
      I think that says it all ... by their deeds you shall know them!

    2. CommentedAndré Rebentisch

      "Germany, in particular, must acknowledge that, far from being an innocent victim, its economy is the eurozone’s biggest beneficiary"

      I can't see that. What we saw was a boom in other nations, not our own. We agreed on Maastricht but as a deal unfavourable to our own nation. Now we are asked to take unforeseeable liabilities again and my government is bullied as it insists on plugging the hole in the bucket (aka Austerity).

    3. CommentedKim Eakin

      Gosh, spoken like an eloquent BANKSTER. The problem has nothing to do with the financial elite subverting democratic institutions and raping the peasants, ummm....I mean taxpayers. What a complete misdirecting load of poo this article is. It is double talking banksters like Ana that have facilitated and absolutely assured the demise of the Euro and the Eurozone. Good job!! I suggest investing long in guillotine manufacturers.

    4. CommentedFlip Bibi

      It just seems to me that there is too many finger pointing going around. Had Governments been more resposable regarding their finances, these troubles would of not risen. If taxation evasion had not been too rampant in Greece, if Spain had not pushed for the Cajas to merge (or had they been asked to merge with greater care with survival in thought and not greatness). There are too many "ifs spreading around. Had Governments not caved in and granted all what Unions demanded, had laws been properly enforced, had Governments done what they are supposed to do, many of the European problems would not be around.
      I know that any form of austery measures are not pleasant, and represent only more suffering for the people, but this would of been avoided had people/politicians been more responsible for their actions. And I am sorry to say this, but many countries should sit down and study the steps that Germany has taken since after WWII. What did Germany do to become the power house it is now? There is something that others have failed to see. After their defeat in WWII, Germany endured hardships after hardships, but look at it now, their position is enviable by many. Germany can afford to call the shots while the rest of Europe can only afford to grumble and complain. Sometimes I wish that my country, Italy, had followed the German path to recovery.
      I hope that politicians can stop grumbling and complaining, and beging to focus on what is important: the people, the country, and Europe. Stop pointing fingers, because for every finger that is pointing forwards, there are three pointing backwards. My advise to politicians: Quit complaining and do what you should be doing to benefit my country and not your pocket.

    5. Commentedjuan carlos

      sorry, but the need for austerity (which in spain means austerity for the people but continued lavish spending for the political/corporate class) is not a course that gained explicit popular support in recent elections... that is simply false.
      nobody will gain trust in the european union if that kind of austerity is imposed, it's obvious.

    6. CommentedJohn Primm

      Well said, Madame Palacio and Mr.Murkherjee. Actions have consequences and each state must be responsible for its actions. Indeed Spain is just the latest to fall into the Socialist foolishness. History has shown that Socialism works for a period of time--until it runs out of other peoples money to spend. Thanks to Dame Thatcher for that quote. There are a number of reasons the EU will never succeed, starting with the outrageous bureaucrats in Belgium and ending with the understanding that a union of states cannot survive without trust. Trust can only be built when each party (ies) actually lives up to the ideal. I do not see that happening in Europe.

    7. CommentedProcyon Mukherjee

      Ana Palacio has said it right, but the responsibility starts from home. The Spanish profligacy, as some point out, in the last eight years is short of the worst socialist regime, doling Billions of Euros to a populace almost freely, thus increasing the moral hazard. Going by the recently disclosed statistics, the list of favors include a completely free health care system, the one of its kind in the whole world, almost three years of unemployment benefits, an infrastructure that takes bullet trains to remote villages and towns, and thousands of public companies that have gone bankrupt; even the number of town halls is four times that of Germany and the number of provincial councils dwarf any European nation’s numbers. The switch from permanent employment to temporary, which became the norm, has done the maximum damage, where employers reaped the benefit at the cost of the workers. Infrastructure development, which is supposed to create further investment avenues, ended up creating mountains of debt on an already pathetic national balance sheet.

      Responsibility and morality should start from home.

      Procyon Mukherjee

        Portrait of Ana Palacio

        CommentedAna Palacio

        I totally agree with you and the idea that responsibility starts from home. In fact, the previous version of the article had that element developed to a great extent, but was later revised due to word limit considerations.

    8. CommentedZsolt Hermann

      The thing is that we never had trust. Our basic human nature is subjective, we only trust ourselves, we make all calculations for self benefit/profit, when we make alliances, unions we do it as long we ourselves benefit from it.
      This is how the EU was formed as well, identifying common profit, forming an alliance against someone else - the Asian and US markets, only making short term calculation completely unprepared for a time when growth, and prosperity might run out.
      Thus now two things happened:
      1. The "constant growth", prosperity exhausted itself since our economic model of constant quantitative growth is unsustainable. So there is no extra income to sweeten to initial shaky foundations of individual, subjective elements connecting for common profit, as long as there is profit accumulation.
      2. In the meantime we evolved into a global, interconnected, interdependent network. Even if the present union does not work and everybody resigned to imminent collapse, on the other hand all the signs, daily events are showing that we cannot exist without connections, no individual or nation is capable of sustaining itself, and thus a collapse would hurt everybody tremendously from Greece to Germany.
      So now we get to the point of trust. In order to create a truly working union, a supra-national collaboration of nations, cultures, traditions, above their differences we have to leave behind what separates us, we have to get out of our subjective, self-calculating boxes and form a mutual, shared space where we can work together, create new institutions, systems that govern us, supply our needs in a mutual, equal fashion, according to everybody's honest and transparent contribution to the common whole.
      This is the only natural way of making our global, integral system work without trickery, coercion building a sustainable future.
      And this can only work based on a global, integral education program, information share for everybody, without the interference of populist politicians and the media trying to exploit the situation for their own good, so people understand it is in their best interest to build such a new system that is fundamentally different from the present one.

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