The Perils of Europe’s Navel Gazing

Economic problems constitutes only a part of the eurozone’s troubles. The euro crisis is, above all, a reflection of deep-seated weaknesses in European institutions and the fabric of European society.

MADRID – While the world anxiously awaits the climax of the eurozone drama, its leaders’ behavior resembles the political equivalent of what physicists call “Brownian motion,” with officials bouncing randomly from one crucial bilateral consultation and vital European summit to the next. The impact of make-or-break declarations that are supposed to solve the monetary union’s problems dissipates almost as soon as they are issued.

Meanwhile, a plethora of diagnoses and prescriptions are competing for attention – and in their gloominess. But their overwhelming focus on the economics of the euro crisis is itself part of the problem because the crisis is, above all, a reflection of deep-seated weaknesses in European institutions and the fabric of European society. Otherwise, what began as a marginal debt crisis, aggravated by political indecisiveness in Greece and in the European Union as a whole, would not have grown into an existential watershed moment for the European project.

Europe is plagued by three distinct problems. First, it remains incapable of adjusting to the realities of a world whose center of gravity has irrevocably shifted eastward to the Pacific, pulling with it the attention of the United States. Second, more than ever, Europeans are looking inward, as a sense of entitlement meets pervasive skepticism – a combination that permeates to the highest echelons of the Union and EU national governments.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

Registration is quick and easy and requires only your email address. If you already have an account with us, please log in. Or subscribe now for unlimited access.

required

Log in

http://prosyn.org/ORf7BOL;
  1. China corruption Isaac Lawrence/Getty Images

    The Next Battle in China’s War on Corruption

    • Chinese President Xi Jinping knows well the threat that corruption poses to the authority of the Communist Party of China and the state it controls. 
    • But moving beyond Xi's anti-corruption purge to build robust and lasting anti-graft institutions will not be easy, owing to enduring opportunities for bureaucratic capture.
  2. Italy unemployed demonstration SalvatoreEsposito/Barcroftimages / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

    Putting Europe’s Long-Term Unemployed Back to Work

    Across the European Union, millions of people who are willing and able to work have been unemployed for a year or longer, at great cost to social cohesion and political stability. If the EU is serious about stopping the rise of populism, it will need to do more to ensure that labor markets are working for everyone.

  3. Latin America market Federico Parra/Getty Images

    A Belt and Road for the Americas?

    In a time of global uncertainty, a vision of “made in the Americas” prosperity provides a unifying agenda for the continent. If implemented, the US could reassert its historical leadership among a group of countries that share its fundamental values, as well as an interest in inclusive economic growth and rising living standards.

  4. Startup office Mladlen Antonov/Getty Images

    How Best to Promote Research and Development

    Clearly, there is something appealing about a start-up-based innovation strategy: it feels democratic, accessible, and so California. But it is definitely not the only way to boost research and development, or even the main way, and it is certainly not the way most major innovations in the US came about during the twentieth century.

  5. Trump Trade speech Bill Pugliano/Getty Images .

    Preparing for the Trump Trade Wars

    In the first 11 months of his presidency, Donald Trump has failed to back up his words – or tweets – with action on a variety of fronts. But the rest of the world's governments, and particularly those in Asia and Europe, would be mistaken to assume that he won't follow through on his promised "America First" trade agenda.