The Questions of Europe

In the weeks since France and the Netherlands rejected the European Union’s proposed Constitutional Treaty, the EU’s leaders have been busy pointing fingers at each other or blaming French and Dutch citizens for misunderstanding the question they were asked. But no pan-European statesman has emerged, and no major European institution has even had the courage to provide its own analysis of the current situation, much less propose a strategic scenario for the future.

To be sure, French and Dutch citizens did not respond to the question that they were supposed to answer. Their vote was a protest against globalization, a rejection of the contemporary world, with its distant and incomprehensible governing mechanisms. Like the anti-globalization movement, the new anti-Europeanism can be regarded as a demand for a different European model – an “alter-Europeanism.”

The issue, therefore, is not what Tony Blair, in his inaugural speech to the European Parliament, called a crisis of leadership. No statesman has emerged because the crisis runs deeper.