Wednesday, October 22, 2014
9

Na Europa não confiamos

MADRID - Durante décadas, os críticos da União Europeia têm falado sobre um défice democrático. Nunca aceitei a censura da UE e das suas instituições, mas vejo um novo e perigoso défice na União Europeia - um défice de confiança, tanto entre os governos, como entre os cidadãos dos vários países membros. Na verdade, se as actuais notas de euro incluíssem um lema, como acontece com as notas de dólar, poderia muito bem ser, “Na Europa nós (des)confiamos”.

Esta falta de confiança levou a zona euro à beira da implosão e põe em causa o próprio futuro da unidade europeia. O arco da história da UE parece estar a dobrar-se para a catástrofe - o tipo de desastre europeu periódico que a integração visava evitar. Por muito grandíloquo que possa parecer, a desintegração do euro e da desordem que engoliria o projecto europeu, para não falar das repercussões globais, iria despoletar uma devastação semelhante.

Mas poucas declarações oficiais, e muito menos políticas, estão a abordar o défice de confiança e de credibilidade na Europa. A crise actual expôs as lacunas originais e aumentou as fissuras no pacto entre os cidadãos europeus e as instituições da UE, entre o Norte e o Sul da Europa e entre os povos e as elites da UE.

Na verdade, um perigoso discurso emocional surgiu, reflectindo - e alimentando - os piores estereótipos do “Sul preguiçoso” e do “Norte despótico”. É sintomático que o estudo mais recente do Pew Research Center, realizado no final de Maio, revele unanimidade sobre quem são os europeus menos trabalhadores: os sulistas, especialmente os gregos. Da mesma forma, as sondagens e as eleições sinalizam a ascensão de populistas em toda a Europa, enquanto o comportamento abutre dos mercados financeiros deriva do cálculo cínico de que a UE não tem os meios para restaurar a sua credibilidade.

Isso, afinal de contas, é o objectivo da austeridade restritiva na Europa, o que dificulta as suas perspectivas de crescimento e, portanto, faz pouco sentido em termos económicos. A intenção final da austeridade é precisamente a restauração da confiança - entre os europeus do Norte, de que o dinheiro transferido para as economias com problemas não é desperdiçado, e entre os povos afectados por dolorosos cortes nas despesas, de que os seus esforços são reconhecidos e apoiados.

Falando do coração do Sul conturbado, posso atestar o facto de que a necessidade da austeridade tem sido o tema base recorrente do governo do primeiro-ministro espanhol Mariano Rajoy, uma via que ganhou um apoio popular explícito, nas recentes eleições. Reformar as cajas espanholas (bancos de poupança), o mercado de trabalho, as disposições sociais e como as suas regiões autónomas funcionam encabeça a agenda nacional (embora, infelizmente, só com a insistência da Comissão Europeia e da Alemanha).

Mas restaurar a confiança e a credibilidade requer mais do que a disciplina do Sul. O Norte da Europa deve manter a sua parte do contrato. A Alemanha, em particular, deve reconhecer que, estando longe de ser uma vítima inocente, a sua economia é o maior beneficiário da zona euro - e tem sido desde o início do euro. Isso, juntamente com a suposição - a calamidade económica que se abateria sobre a Alemanha na sequência da queda do euro - implica uma obrigação única para mantê-lo.

A chanceler alemã, Angela Merkel tem sido o alvo preferido dos opositores à austeridade, há já algum tempo, e é compreensível que, depois de ser, durante meses, um espectador da incapacidade dolorosa da UE para governar, a Alemanha tenha, com relutância - e até insuficientemente -, assumido a responsabilidade. Olhando para o futuro, à medida que a ameaça de desintegração se aproxima a passos largos, a necessidade da liderança alemã será ainda maior. Mas, assim que a crise passar, a reforma institucional da UE será um elemento crítico na restauração da confiança.

O presumível défice democrático da UE é um corolário do “imperioso tecnocrático” que surgiu como o bode expiatório favorito no drama europeu em curso. Segundo este ponto de vista, a integração europeia tinha falhas desde o início, há mais de seis décadas, porque foi concebida e desenvolvida como um projecto de elite. Mas, enquanto o projecto europeu proporcionou prosperidade, ninguém se preocupou em questionar a sua motivação.

Hoje em dia, no entanto, a UE é o último ponto de referência no que se refere à prosperidade. Segundo o estudo do Pew Center, o índice de favorabilidade da UE está em baixa em quase todo o lado, desde 2007, tendo caído 20 pontos na República Checa e em Espanha, 19 pontos em Itália e 14 pontos na Polónia.

Se as instituições da UE estão a recuperar a confiança e a relevância, elas precisam de articular políticas concretas e cumprir compromissos em questões relacionadas directamente com os interesses dos cidadãos - o desemprego entre os jovens, o planeamento urbano, a saúde, a investigação em biotecnologia, a conservação de energia, o transporte e o envelhecimento da população. Todas estas questões eram parte integrante da ambiciosa Estratégia de Lisboa da UE (que em 2000 prometeu fazer da Europa a economia mais competitiva do mundo em 2010) e todas foram rapidamente sequestradas por agendas políticas nacionais. Não se pode permitir que isso aconteça novamente.

Na verdade, não há nada de inevitável sobre o fracasso do euro. A imagem sombria que a Europa projecta para o mundo, nos nossos dias, não faz justiça à realidade. A Europa tem a população mais saudável e mais instruída do mundo, a maior economia e enormes stocks de poder suave, devido também ao seu compromisso com os direitos humanos e com os valores democráticos.

E ainda assim a Europa está a enfrentar uma calamidade. A disciplina e a moralidade podem muito bem ser a chave para reforçar a confiança e a credibilidade no tecido social da Europa - um ponto que os europeus do Norte nunca se cansam de fazer. Mas, a menos que todos os europeus aceitem a responsabilidade para salvar o euro - e, com isso, a UE - tudo o resto é retórica superficial.

Tradução: Deolinda Esteves

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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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