Wednesday, October 1, 2014
8

征途中的欧洲民族主义者

柏林—欧洲是由欧洲民族国家组成的,几百年来都是如此。正因如此,要让这片大陆实现重新统一才面临着如此大的政治困难,哪怕是在今天。但民族主义不是欧洲的建设原则(construction principle);相反,这一直是、未来也将是欧洲的覆灭原则(deconstruction principle)。这就是我们可以从上周末欧洲议会选举的反欧洲民粹主义政党大获全胜中所得到的教训。

时至今日,所有欧洲人都应该早已学到了这一教训。毕竟,欧洲在二十世纪所经历的战争便是在民族主义的旗号下进行的,并且几乎将欧洲大陆变为一片焦土。在其欧洲议会告别演说中,密特朗将其一生的政治经验浓缩成一句话:“民族主义等于战争。”

今年夏天,欧洲将迎来一战爆发一百周年纪念日,这场战争让欧洲陷入了现代民族主义暴力的无尽深渊。欧洲还将迎来盟军诺曼底登陆70周年纪念,这场登陆战让二战开始向有利于西欧民主的方向倾斜(并且在冷战后让所有欧洲国家受益)。

欧洲近代史充满着这样的纪念日,并且无不与民族主义有莫大关联。但许多欧洲人希望未来回归民族主义,而作为1945年以来欧洲诸民族间保持和平的捍卫者的统一的欧洲却被视为一种负担和威胁。这就是欧洲议会选举结果真正的重大意义。

但数字和百分比并不能充分表现欧盟的颓势。民主选举只意味着多数和少数——因此也决定了一段时间内的权力分配——它们并不总能确保产生对政治局面的正确评估。选举提供了一次快照——一个凝聚的时刻;要理解长期趋势,我们需要考察不同选举之间不同党派的选票变动情况。

如果你从欧洲议会选举的结果中只看见了压倒多数的欧洲公民都将选票投给了亲欧盟政党,那你就会错过最根本的要点——法国、英国、丹麦、奥地利、希腊和匈牙利等国家的欧洲怀疑派民族主义政党的支持率大涨。如果这一趋势持续下去,将构成欧盟的生存威胁,它将阻挠急需的进一步一体化并摧毁其中所包含的欧洲思想。

法国尤其令人担心,因为其民族阵线(National Front)已成为该国第三大政治势力。“政府法国,毁灭欧洲!”已成为民族阵线的下一个竞选目标。没有法国,欧盟将一事无成;法国和德国是欧盟未来的不可或缺之重。并且没有人会怀疑民族阵线及其支持者的话的真实性。

欧洲政治危机的核心是欧元区经济和金融的萎靡不振,而这不是国民政府或欧盟机构所能解决的。经济萎靡并未强化泛欧洲团结,而是导致了冲突的打蔓延。曾经平等的关系变成了债权国和债务国之间的扯皮。

作为这一冲突特征的互不信任可能给欧盟和整个欧洲工程造成不可恢复的伤害。北欧深深地担忧自己被征用;南欧陷入了望不见天日的经济危机和前所未有的高失业,而南欧人民将此归咎于北欧——特别是德国。南欧的债务危机加上严厉紧缩措施带来的社会后果,被视为是北欧富国背弃团结原则的证明。

在团结程度每况愈下的背景下,旧式民族主义几乎不费吹灰之力获得了胜利。事实上,只要在欧盟被指为中产阶级福利下降的元凶的地区,民族沙文主义和排外主义都赢得了选举战略。

考虑到法国的弱势和戏剧性的选举结果以及英国退出欧盟的“奇葩”趋势,德国的领导作用将继续增强,这对德国和欧盟都不是好事。德国从未向往过这样一个角色;德国的经济优势和制度稳定性意味着不可能接受这样一个角色。尽管如此,德国不愿充当领导仍是一个大问题。

所有欧洲人都有本能地——也是理性地——反对任何形式霸权的政治基因。德国也不例外。但认为德国霸权导致了南欧的紧缩政策最多只是部分正确;德国政府并未强迫受影响国形成巨额公共债务。

德国应该被指责的是其领导人坚持同时实施债务削减和结构性改革以及拒绝几乎一切欧元区内的增长导向政策。此外,德国各大政治阵营都不愿意承认货币联盟的“德国问题”(即德国并未用来促进作为一个整体的欧洲工程的相对优势)。

现在的紧要问题是德国愿意为了拯救欧洲而为法国做多少事。德国总理默克尔和欧洲央行行长德拉吉所承受的压力必然会增加,并且不会仅仅来自巴黎,而也将来自罗马、雅典和其他首都。

对德国来说,另一个改变现状的办法是等到欧洲债务国选出质疑偿付义务的政府。在这方面,希腊已经呼之欲出。对欧洲来说,这将是一场灾难;对德国来说,这实在太愚蠢。

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  1. CommentedCelt Darnell

    Like too many Eurofantics, Fischer doesn't understand the difference between patriotism and nationalism. He also doesn't understand why people prefer national sovereignty to imperialism.

    That is why his cause is doomed.

  2. CommentedTravis Zly

    Zsolt Hermann is closest to the truth. Indeed, the European Union is primarily a banking construct, designed to facilitate the unimpeded movement of capital around Europe. Democracy is only an afterthought.

    The TARGET2 automated payment system allows instantaneous capital transfers between any European central banks that are part of the Eurosystem.

    TARGET-2-SECURITIES is almost ready to go online. This will allow the instantaneous settlement of stock and bond and derivatives trades within the Eurosystem, replacing national stock exchanges.

    This is the undeclared reason why the UK wants out of the EU: Frankfurt seeks to take over the mantle of London. (Nigel Farage is a Market Trader by profession).

    The countries on the Eurozone periphery are exactly equivalent to the emerging economies that are part of the Dollar zone. It suited America to ease its monetary policy in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. Cheap Dollars flowed en masse into emerging market stocks.

    As soon as tighter monetary policy kicked in (tapering), there was chaos as trillions of dollars of American capital returned home to take advantage of increases in US Treasury 10- and 30-year Bond yields. The Indian economy was wiped out in weeks, we will recall, as its Central Bank tried to defend the Rupee.

    In the same way, at the first signs of instability in the Eurozone in 2010, trillions of Euros invested in Eurozone emerging economies, were shifted to Northern Europe, leading to a fire-sale of assets in the South, particularly Government bonds.

    The situation can only get worse with a closer banking union.

  3. CommentedZsolt Hermann

    I don't think it is "nationalists on the march".
    As the article also suggests nationalism, not only in Europe but everywhere else (it is enough to look at Russia, US, Far East, even South America for current examples) is a constant feeling, attitude.
    And in itself it is neither good or evil, we all prefer ourselves and what is closest to us, in gradually growing circles, people naturally connect to those similar and close to them.

    So it is not that nationalism is on the rise, but a more systematic, inclusive framework that was supposed to balance individualism, nationalism is failing.

    The main problem is we tend to think in absolutes, in black and white.
    We think a global, interconnected system, a federal Europe has to mean the end of nations, cultures, individual or national freedom.

    And this is the notion clever politicians exploit because the European experiment so far failed to prove otherwise.
    It failed to provide such a framework where on one hand people, nations can preserve their own character, culture, and decision making on the micro-management level, but at the same time there is a supra-national macro-managing framework that can balance and organize the nations in a way that all can contribute to the whole with their best abilities and receive everything they need to function optimally.

    So far the "Union" and common currency was solely aimed at markets, profit and lately financial institutions, completely ignoring the actual public.
    It is understandable that this ignored, neglected public, or at least the part still goes voting, runs into the arms of the politicians promising them national greatness, even what they promise is impossible to fulfill in a globally interconnected and inter-dependent system that is the result of evolution and not something man-made we could turn back from.

    The European project and inter-relationships in between individuals and nations has to be completely re-evaluated in light of this new evolutionary state, working out how the different, colorful pieces of the puzzle can be fitted into a single, mutually complementing picture, more precisely multidimensional network.

    Individualism, nationalism will never disappear, we cannot suppress our natural tendencies, but with the right framework, environment we can re-route, channel those tendencies into a positive direction.

  4. CommentedJohann Savalle

    People - most people - do not have the time nor the background require to understand or analyse policies and best practices. People want to know their leadership is to care about them with their best interest in mind - and heart.
    Campaigns led by nationalists and other extremes do not bright by their intellectual and brilliant reasoning, but more by the emotional call they have to their followers.
    They have expressed better than the current leadership their intention to care and to bring a brighter future to the one who would be voting for them.
    Since elections are national (and not transnational - which by the way would be to my opinion a safer way to avoid the rise of nationalism), Nationalists will always be able to draw advantage of anything wrong ongoing in their own country and put the responsibility on Europe, the gays, the black, the jews... in short the usual suspects.
    First and foremost, what matter now, is for the current leadership to actually express care and involvement in European citizens (and not just in European affairs). People do not feel European MPs care about them, or that any of the european institution is actually paying attention to them as people who suffer, as people who struggle - and while no one is expected to have magical solutions, at least to really care and communicate this care would be more than appreciated. Such a task in itself is going to be a challenge, as cynism and lack of trust have grown, and it is not in the culture of european institutions to have a human face. To change this will require some real effort if they want to regain some trust. Else, no matter what will be the policies, people will be driven toward a complete hatred of european institutions and their leaders, and nothing will be really left to save the situation.

  5. CommentedTomas Kurian

    ...But to hold the German hegemon responsible for austerity policies in the south is only partly justified; the German government did not force the affected countries to run up high levels of public debt.

    It is justified as everybody has to run deficits unless it is persuing neocolonialistc predatory policy of extensive exports as Germany does, exporting its unemployment to other countries.

    Genom of capitalism - Additional resources – policy options and consequences
    http://www.genomofcapitalism.com/index.php/3-5-additional-resources-policy-options-and-consequences-2

    It is Germany that is running 19. century economical model, refusing to move to more sustainable 20. century model of deficit financing.

    Genom of capitalism - Evolution of monetary systems
    http://www.genomofcapitalism.com/index.php/16-5-evolution-of-monetary-systems

  6. CommentedNichol Brummer

    The EU would have profited from a relaxation of the Maastricht rules, not just for the 'south', but also for the 'north' and even Germany itself. If all Euro countries would be allowed to have a deficit of a bit more, lets say 6%, in stead of 3, and if they would all actually increase their deficit to that value, then this would provide a nice stimulus to the economy of the whole EU. If the banks are all still scared to create more money through lending, then the governments should be able to take up the slack for some time. The EU should be able to decide on a step of this kind, and I'm sure the ECB and Draghi would not mind getting some fiscal support to avoid low inflation, or even deflation.

    Germany has been the one to push for fundamentalism when it comes to interpreting the rules of the Euro. My own country, the Netherlands, has supported this foolishness. The fear that the 'north' will need to increase their taxes to pay for such a deficit is nonsensical. We always have the power of our central bank to back up any sovereign debt. Unless we want to decide that we don't.

  7. Commentedhari naidu

    I suspect if you don’t have historical perspective on EU/EEC integration developments, it’d be difficult to understand and appreciate the fundamentals of anti-EU votes in France and UK. Nationalism may be one factor but not the decisive constraint to *ever closer union*.



    France: Essentially it’s all about centrist structure of French politics. As long as Paris dictates ALL regional politics, it’s inevitable that centrist France will not survive globalization. In other words, it’s high time to decentralize France and its Amin Districts and invoke principle of subsidiarity and legally allow regional/domestic powers to originate policy and make final decisions. This is not going to happen without a real serious fight – Hollande is not the President to lead such a reformed French agenda.

    Recall, under Mitterrand, he was always Secretary of the Socialist Party, and never given a ministry to run. Why?



    UK: Limey’s never supported Maastricht Treaty & Euro currency introduction; they preferred their Sterling Pound and actually amused themselves at concept of Single Market and Euro! That’s 1980s! Now they want a FTA only – have your cake and eat it! - and no convergence on macro policy including Schengen and immigration. The decline and fall of Britain started long ago; UKIP may have found the ultimate anti-EU strategy to make a decisive move in that direction. And Scotland is going its own way too….

      CommentedAlasdair MacLean

      The old Limeys rather than on the decline are expected to have the largest economy in Europe in just a few years. They will even overtake the Germans currently the economic powerhouse of Europe.
      One of the reasons this is so is that they kept the pound. If the Germans and the French had kept their own currencies then they wouldn't be in the state they are in today.

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