€UROPE – A BYGONE DREAM ?
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â‚ŹUROPE â€“ A BYGONE DREAM? Table of contents Page
Chapter 1: The Beginning
Chapter 2: The European Dream
First phase: Creation of symbols for a United Europe
Second phase: Creation and strengthening of institutions and other bodies for a United Europe
Third phase: Outcome of the Dream (Strengthening the community, preparing and founding the United States of Europe (USE))
Fourth phase: Consolidation of achievements
Chapter 3: The Reality
Chapter 4: What next?
Preface This book is dedicated to the coming Europe, the truly United Europe. After the Second World War, Europe is in tatters and seems to have no real future. Since everything is flattened on the ground, people have other things on their mind than seeking retribution. Reconciliation and the creation of structures, through which a new aggression by whomsoever becomes unthinkable, are the only realistic choices. Politicians work hard to imagine a future and create a European dream! But what has become of this dream? Where has it gone? Is it already in shambles, i.e. are we again in catastrophic situation without seeing a way out? Or is there still a chance? This booklet does not pretend to offer ready-made solutions and it does not encourage ideological debates. Some of the approaches presented here violate taboos and others may seem still poorly matured. In fact, the author only intends to offer food for thought to revitalize the political, economic and cultural development of Europe. Nonetheless, the chapter 2: The European Dream contains elements of a practical guide for the creation of the United States of Europe. However, I should like to stress that these suggestions did not spring from the brain of a politician, economist, financial expert, philosopher or Eurocrat but from the brain of a normal citizen of the European Union, who has lived and worked in several countries of the Union, and for whom Europe is dear to his heart. The author expresses the hope, that women and men in Europe across all generations and all social classes take heart and feel motivated by this booklet to commit themselves wholeheartedly to this United Europe already seen in a dream. Especially the younger generation should not allow itself to be infected by the Euroscepticism of the older generation that cannot help but think in national terms. 4
Europe â€“ Dream and Reality Introduction There are probably three major themes which European citizens are concerned about: the idea of the European Union and what will come of it, climate change and its consequences, and finally the economic, financial and public debt crisis resulting from the malfunctioning of the European Union and in particular the Euro Zone. Climate change is too complex a problem to be discussed in a single book without becoming illegible; and for now I do no longer believe that asking people to pay attention to the environment could still make things happen: it is already a few minutes before midnight and we are still arguing whether human activities are in any way responsible for the current climate change. This simply goes beyond my comprehension. We are running ever faster against the wall without noticing it. On the other hand, when writing about the European idea, we cannot ignore the financial crisis - and now also the dept crisis - and its impact. It keeps everyone on their toes while barely advancing, and when things do finally move, the move is often too hesitant; this has as a consequence, that everything gets worse by the day. Regarding Europe, I do not think that everything is already lost: contrary to the problem of climate change, we do not deal with the question of societal or individual economic or ecological conduct and preferences such as forsaking or not of exponential economic growth, driving smaller cars or even changing over to exclusively using public transportation, a more rational and more social financial world, etc. These things are almost taboo at times of economic crisis. However, regarding the financial world, I cannot help but ventilate a few ideas. Regarding to the idea of a deeply unified Europe, with unwavering support from true believers, I believe that there is still a good chance that European citizens are receptive. 5
Even today, courageous politicians could inspire their constituencies for this not so utopian Europe. It would suffice that that they really want it and demonstrate this through action. Instead of arguing with colleagues from other countries about national versus European responsibilities, the safeguarding of sovereignty and about money, they should be inspired by the European spirit and make sure that Europe moves forward, so that it can occupy the place on the world stage that it deserves. The purpose of this paper is to show European citizens ways of making a truly United Europe attractive and to get rid of the past national power and sovereignty approaches. What is the point, if Heads of State agree to surrender any particular national prerogative to Brussels, if later on these steps are not implemented with conviction or are even completely blocked and national Governments do not support these decisions but reject them, branding their implementation as a submission to the Brussels bureaucracy? Ways to reach a solid and attractive Europe are described in this Book: In Chapter 1, the reader is first reminded of the beginnings of Europe since the foundation of the European Economic Community. Chapter 2 describes how the European dream could have been implemented if the will had been there. For many, this seems like utopia; but this utopia could have been achieved, and it is perhaps not too late yet to reverse the step and go a bit backwards in order to then deliberately advance towards this utopia. In this context I should like to say, as did Martin Luther King, : â€œI have a dream â€Ś.â€? What could have worked differently, if people like Jacques Delors had continued leading us into the future and if, instead of privatising public institutions, we had created sustainable European institutions and public services? Moreover, by introducing at least the option of a European nationality, we would have of course contributed to Europe being supported from below. It would have become obvious that the desire to be European really existed. 6
In today's world, where politicians no longer have the sense of having a duty towards their fellow citizens and even less of having a long-term vision, but are only concerned about their next re-election, in a world where everything seems to be in constant motion and everything changes, where there are no longer any points of reference, where, what yesterday seemed to be a solid truth, is no longer true today, where this race against the clock is considered to be a virtue, and where especially young people lose their orientation, how can we be surprised if people lose confidence in the future and in the community and behave so often in a selfish and irrational way. It is now urgent to create something more lasting and that should be done in a way where people are not only allowed to participate but are invited to participate: creating a Europe that holds together from inside; because the people want it; because they participate in the emergence and the preservation of this community; and because they are always motivated to further strengthen Europe from the inside. This Europe, strong from the inside, could become the next rock in the sea of permanent change. It could serve the citizens as a compass. Although many peoples live in this Europe, they all have a common destiny. Together, they crossed the middle ages, shared the age of enlightenment, waged wars or suffered wars that they did not cause, adopted the ideas of the French revolution more or less quickly, have suffered under the occupation by the German army and Gestapo and, after the Second World War, were divided into two camps. It then seemed that there were now definitely two different and separate destinies for Europeans. At the end of 1989, the Iron Curtain was raised and the citizens of Europe became again united in the same destiny. There is no more any valid reason to make war in order to compete for positions of power or economic benefits. It is this common destiny that unites Europeans and gives them the strength to put aside differences and reach out to their neighbours. With this attitude as a driving force for the unification of the European Nations in a Federation or Union, we cannot but believe that one day this will be accomplished. Unfortunately, because of lack of political will, the European idea has drastically weakened over the past ten to fifteen years. At the same time, the political 7
wrangling at national level as well as at the EU level has become a real Punch and Judy show. Political initiatives increasingly lack any substance and enforceability. This booklet is intended as a tool to revive the European idea, the implementation of which seems now more important and more urgent than ever. I should like to live the day where women and men in the European Union descend in the streets to demonstrate for the European idea - and this until something starts to move in the right direction. Indeed, it would be great if for once we could demonstrate for something instead of always against. In a dream, reality and imagination are of course closely woven together and thus some historical dates were placed outside of their real historical context, such as the election of Jacques Delors as President of the European Commission and later the European Community, and the German reunification. Furthermore, some events are bent to fit the dream, such as the Prague Spring, which is less brutally repressed than might have been feared and the May 1968 student revolt in Paris, where students want faster progress for Europe - and so on. Since this is only a dream - and in a dream desire and imagination are the drivers - the reader is humbly asked to forgive the author this rearrangement of historical events. Moreover, the dream is described as a personal dreamlike "experience", interwoven with real episodes from the dreamerâ€™s real life. Finally, the writer does not give literature references for the actual historical events mentioned as he believes that the ample documentation of a historical event or its exact description will not serve the purpose of this booklet. What is really important, is the nature of the event and that it embodies something exemplary. He has nevertheless sought to keep as close as possible to the facts when describing the reality (Chapter 3). What next? (Chapter 4) Possible futures for Europe will be discussed towards the end of this booklet. Several routes are presented. They do not pretend to be more than food for thought. 8
Chapter 1 : The Beginning Europe, as a geographical term, appears already in ancient Greece and the Roman Empire. At about 150 after Christ, the Greek Claude Ptolemy, who, at the time of the Roman Empire, lived in Alexandria, defines this term and gives it the geographical contours, locating the cities and villages known at the time within these contours. Despite some deviations from the geographical representation of Europe today, one can recognize Europe without great difficulty (if one ignores the "systematic" errors, i.e. the error of seven fifth in distance between cities and the errors resulting from the pasting of collected data1). Before him, other definitions existed. After having conquered and assimilated the Mediterranean regions, the Romans went about to conquer the European space and made this project to become something like the idea and sense of their empire. But they did never reach the limits to the North and East of that geographical space (Pax Romana). In the Middle Ages, the idea continued to be alive and was influenced mainly by the Carolingian Empire (Western Europe) and in part by Germanic legends. The Habsburg monarchy then created a multi-ethnic â€œEuropeanâ€? Kingdom and Empire in Central Europe (at times even including Spain). Although the regime of this empire was rather authoritarian, the political entity had the merit of functioning. Unfortunately, until the reign of Maria Theresa, there were many customs offices where duties had to be paid for goods crossing internal borders and subjects had to carry a passport with valid visas if they wanted to travel within the Habsburg Empire. While the monarch has abolished an important number of them, these constraints have never completely disappeared. However, the freedom of movement of the population was not excessively restricted and there was something like a feeling of belonging to a larger entity than just the own county. In 1693, William Penn, founder of the colony of Pennsylvania in North 1
America, wrote a paper with the title: "An Essay Towards the Present and Future Peace of Europe.â€? It proposes the creation of a European Parliament or Council. There is a rich literature on the theme of Europe from antiquity to the Middle Ages, and to our days. We shall not dwell any further on the historical origins of the European idea. It should only be noted that the idea is not new. The attempts of understanding what â€œEuropeâ€? means geographically and culturally, have a long history and have given rise to different interpretations at different times. The political, social and economic drivers for a united Europe in a democratic context have evidently emerged in much more recent times: The most recent and also most earnest attempt to create a United Europe has its roots in understanding the causes of the First and the Second World Wars. The policy of the European Nation-States, the continuous pursuit of status of great power and of revenge led to the First World War, which led in turn to new resentments and, accordingly, to the Second World War. Thus, this policy was doomed to failure. After the Second World War, far-sighted men such as Winston Churchill (he called for the creation of the 'United States of Europe'), Robert Schuman (he wanted to gradually build Europe), Walter Hallstein ("there is an indestructible underlying European feeling "), Sicco Mansholt, Joseph Bech, Jean Monnet, Alcide de Gasperi (he warned that a purely administrative Europe without greater political will behind it would not work because it would not be supported by the citizens) and Conrad Adenauer therefore committed themselves to work towards a progressive rapprochement of the peoples of Europe, with the aim of one day creating a United Europe. They have greatly contributed to the emergence of an ambitious and great European dream. This new Europe should prevent its people from once more killing each other. Thanks to the Marshall Plan and other political agreements, the remaining Western Germany, which later became the Federal Republic of Germany, was fairly quickly integrated into a new Western economic system and the initial dismantling of its industry just after capitulation was halted. The predominant mindset was now 10
one of reconciliation, although the emerging confrontation between the Soviet Union and the United States of America played an important role. It all started in a very concrete manner with the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) proposed by Robert Schuman to ensure free access to coal and steel for rebuilding the economic and industrial capacities of Europe. It is worth noting here that, contrary to what is happening today, where heavy industry has become almost insignificant, after the last world war, coal and steel were still the basic elements for economic growth of industrialised countries and of course also for rearmament for the next war. From this point of view, the absence of national prerogatives in this area has been a great way to prevent those nations participating in the ECSC to rearm against each other without having to take constraining measures. This kind of association of states was, as it later turned out, the precursor of the European Economic Community or EEC. In fact, the ECSC was a ground-breaking step. Here we see for the first time that, out of free will, States not just join, but sort of identify themselves with a supranational organization. The six countries were: the Benelux, (West-) Germany, France and Italy. The ECSC was founded in April 1951 by the Treaty of Paris and came into effect one year later. The United Kingdom remained however originally outside this community because she feared a partial loss of sovereignty (on this point, the attitude of Great Britain has never changed, even after her accession to the European Community). Thus, out of the urgency of the post-war period, was a grand European project and it could not stop here. For the first time in European history, national Governments were going to build a common future â€“ at first strictly focused on the specific economic aspects of coal and steel. However, quite soon there were also considerations about how cooperation could be extended to other economic sectors and how even political aspects could be included in this cooperation. As a consequence, a political will to embark on the path towards a European Economic Community going beyond coal 11
and steel could arise, with the vision of progressive economic and political integration of the Member States. In March 1957, the treaties of Rome (EEC Treaty, and EURATOM and the agreement on joint bodies for the European Communities) were then signed by the ECSC Member States to enter into force nine months later. One development ensuing from these political efforts to bring the group of six Western European countries closer together had a direct impact on my own life: In summer 1958, the cities of Marseille and Hamburg seal a partnership and this same year I am among the first students of Hamburg who, thanks to a system for the exchange of students between schools in Hamburg and Marseille, are invited to Marseille. The French student who participates in the exchange with me is Christian. This early experience was certainly at the root of my curiosity to learn more about European neighbours and since that Time I have not ceased looking beyond the borders of the Federal Republic of Germany and attempting to feel at home everywhere in Europe. I always remember the happy moments spent at the home of Christian on the outskirts of Marseille and on Bendor, a small Mediterranean island off Bandol, where we were invited by Paul Ricard, the French manufacturer of Pastis. I also remember an episode where a German student and I, we both went out at sea from Bendor on a very small sailboat. When we were leaving the port, the wind suddenly started to gain strength. At this moment my teammate was panicking and cowered against the bottom of the boat. Quite obviously, I couldn't count on him to bring the excursion to a good end. I then had to make full use of all my sailing abilities, which were clearly not colossal. But we came out of that adventure unscathed. As my European curiosity was clearly not satisfied, I took my bicycle during the summer holidays of the next two years and biked through the Benelux States and then Denmark and Sweden. I clearly remember how one day, in the Netherlands I could not reach the youth hostel before 10 o'clock and then made myself comfortable in a sleeping bag in the ditch beside
the road, when some policemen came over and told me in perfect German that I could not spend the night here. They took me to the police station and offered me a prison cell for the night, which I found actually great. Only the next morning, as after awakening the cell stayed closed, I had some jitters. But after an hour the cell was opened and I could freely continue my bike tour. At that time, as probably even today, cycling in the Netherlands was the most natural thing in the world. The memory from Luxembourg is twofold: on one side the capital with the same name as the country, dominated by an impressive Castle and the exceptionally beautiful hills and mountains, which the cyclist addresses with due respect. Denmark, despite its flat topography, seemed less tiny as it appeared on the map after having biked for several days all the way from south to north. And then there were all these many islands that lend the country its special character. In Sweden, the Great Lakes in the South of the country made an enormous impression on me. You can pedal alongside the same Lake for hours and hours and there is no end in sight. At that time, many roads in Sweden were just dirt roads that were sprayed with a tarry substance, and in particular in mountainous forest areas biking became thus not so easy. In these regions you could bike for hours and hours without encountering another soul. At the time I was accompanied by my almost one year younger Uncle Peter. On these bike tours it has become clear to me – beyond the usual scholarly wisdom – what it means to belong to a family of languages. As we know, all those peoples that today belong to the Germanic-language speaking area have a common root. And you cannot but notice even today the linguistic affinities. The term “nation” thus becomes somewhat problematic. For example Denmark did not conceive itself from the outset as a nation. It has become a nation only after having become a Kingdom and actually only after the French Revolution when it became fashion to define the country as a nation. The Slavic language family has its roots also in a family of peoples and the emergence of a Polish or Czech nation was not straightforward either. The provinces of Roman-speaking people are an exception in this respect. Here, it is not the root of a family of
peoples that led to a common root of languages, but the sphere of influence of the Roman Empire. Therefore, regarding the concept of “nation”, two fundamentally different visions are colliding in Europe. In countries of the Roman language family there are often various ethnics under one roof and still one nation above them all, such as in France and Spain. In countries of Slavic and Germanic language families, this is not generally the case. Here we have originally a more homogeneous group of people as the basis for the nation. This Difference explains, of course, why a pan-Slavic and a panGermanic movement could emerge, while a similar movement within the spheres of influence of the Roman language family could not. – After it took so much effort and suffering for the Nations to emerge, can we today overcome them again in the name of a truly European Union? Where today is the national sentiment stronger: in the Germanic and Slavic-speaking world or in the Roman speaking world? I tend to believe that (especially) the French would have more of a problem with a true European Union than for example the Germans. Of course also countries such as the Netherlands or Sweden have their concerns with the European Union, but on a different level. We should not forget either that Germany needs Europe. Until the advent of the Bismarck Reich, in 1870, Germans were scattered all over Europe in counties, duchies, the Teutonic Order, kingdoms, an empire, etc. and had no nation of their own. Germany does therefore not have a lot of experience for knowing how to behave as a sovereign and powerful nation and does still not wish to learn these “skills” even if she were forced to. Being in a situation where she finds herself giving lessons to other countries does not make her happy. A Federation would spare her this apprenticeship.
Back to the political agenda: A few years later, in 1960, Great Britain, together with Austria, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Portugal and Switzerland, founded the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), thus creating a vague and geographically fragmented association. This was done in order to create a counterweight to the treaties of Rome, since the UK was not prepared to give up parts of 14
its sovereignty. But in 1973 Great Britain, Denmark and Ireland join the European Community and this association begins to crumble. In January 1963, an additional pillar of the European Economic Community, intended for a broader political cooperation, was erected: the Franco-German Treaty (also called the ElysĂŠe Treaty), signed by Conrad Adenauer and Charles de Gaulle (reading it today is worth the while). The friendly cooperation between France and the Federal Republic of Germany has subsequently evolved to become a powerful and vital engine of the European Community, without which the EC would not always work. In the first two or three decades of the post-war period this evolution towards greater cooperation between European nations is extremely welcomed by a large part of the population of EEC countries, and it is associated with the hope of a greater integration of the Member States of the community within a real Union. People look beyond national borders and want to get closer to the citizens in neighbouring countries. Why in heaven should borders separate people? The world outside the EEC also follows this development with great interest (later, the EEC finds followers such as MERCOSUR, ASEAN, NAFTA, CACM, etc.). The introduction of a European passport that would allow citizens to move freely in the EEC is already surreptitiously expected. Initially, the Governments of the Member States of the EEC advance together in the same direction. The integration of institutions of the new economic zone, which will soon be merged to give birth to the EC, is progressing. Tariffs in the community are disappearing, people can travel in other Member States without needing a visa, and border controls are alleviated. Young people want to know more about neighbouring countries, French and Italian cars are now present on German roads and vice versa, etc. To make a long story short, a lively exchange between people as well as goods of the European Community takes place and the curiosity of young people 15
contributes significantly to the rapprochement of the European countries. This is how the European dream began. For how long can dream and reality go hand in hand? What did politicians do to keep this dream alive and where did they fail? What are the other highlights of Europe and what are its major omissions? When was it that the dream and the reality began to go in different directions and the dream eventually burst? To examine this question, one version of this dream is narrated on the following pages. To some, it may today appear as utopian, but it could have been realised in the post-war period, because a growing desire for such a course of history existed at the time. Unfortunately, politicians have not sufficiently persevered in the systematic pursuit and realisation of the European idea. Once again the question: Is Europe already in shambles, i.e. in a devastating situation without a possible way out? Or is there still a chance?
Chapter 2 : The European Dream Introduction From today’s point of view, the Europe of Fatherlands (Michel Debré) or States (Charles de Gaulle), or also of Nations was a conceptual error, even though at the time one could not have done otherwise - national structures and ways of thinking were simply too deeply embedded in everyday life and culture to overcome them in the short term. Unfortunately, as a consequence of this conceptual error, it happened that after a good start, national interests reclaimed an ever more prominent place and all Member States jealously defended their sovereignty, rather than seeking common interests and putting in place the adequate structures and laws in a truly European spirit. 'The Europe of Fatherlands' and an ‘ever closer political Union’ are incompatible concepts. Saying that we want an ever closer political Union of Nations is really an oxymoron or at least a paradox. The two concepts are indeed irreconcilable. On the other hand, in order to avoid that citizens feel lost in the new Europe, the talk about Fatherlands is somehow reassuring. However, it would have been preferable to call the new Europe the “New Home”, thus allowing Europeans to keep their traditional ties to their cultures and regions. This is also the reason why the regions, where people feel more at home than in the “Fatherland”, should be given greater importance. But with Charles de Gaulle and his vision for France, which foresaw the resurrection of the 'Great Nation', this was probably not possible then. However, at the time, the citizens of most of the first six member States of the European Economic Community were quite willing to integrate more strongly in this new Community and in particular those of the Federal Republic of Germany. Furthermore, the 17
'Common Agricultural Policy' had been intended as a driving force for the integration of the countries into the EEC. Unfortunately, it did not work, because the differences between the agricultural practices in the various countries of the community were too large to find a common denominator. The community was immediately divided into recipients and donors of agricultural subsidies, which naturally promoted the animosities between the members rather than reducing them. What is it that should we have done differently to give a strong impetus to the European idea and to make sure it remains anchored in the minds of Europeans (at first for the community of six)? How could we have aroused enthusiasm for this idea in the broader population and then maintain this flame? In a latent, dormant manner, this enthusiasm has surely been there from the beginning. In my opinion, the answer is nearby: it is not the regulation of agricultural products such as the degree of curvature of the cucumber or the measures of tomatoes and apples, or even guidelines for privatization of the railway, the post office, and water and electricity services or competition rules, etc. which arouse enthusiasm for Europe. What could be better suited to fill the European idea with life than the creation of truly European institutions, organizations, companies and services close to the citizens and ultimate users?
The dream: Among many Governments of West-European Countries the idea prevails, that after the Second World War, Europe cannot play an important role in the world in any other way than being united and therefore strong. Europe can only have a weight in a conflict-laden world, when it speaks with one voice. This voice will be carrying a conciliatory message for a global community that aspires to peace and prosperity. It will be respected as a fair mediator in conflicts, and it will be heard in the search for solutions to global problems such as the energy crisis, shortage of raw materials, feeding a growing population, pollution in the broadest sense, climate change, etc. To support this idea and get the populations of the concerned European States on the European track, the following scenario is conceivable: Stimulated by the European idea, the six founding States (Federal Republic of Germany, Benelux, Italy, France) sign the treaties of Rome and thereby seal a cooperation agreement. The Member States and, later, since 1967, the European Commission, then seek to transform existing institutions, organisations and public services to craft truly European bodies. By this measure, ubiquitous European symbols are created, reminding Europeans that Europe is inexorably turning towards a promising common future. It is first and foremost public enterprises and public services such as the post office, Telecom (then still being part of the post offices), railways, utilities, TV channels (such as the Franco-German â€œArteâ€? channel) and many others. Through these measures, citizens in the European Community will gradually develop a sense of belonging to a family of peoples that will increasingly form a large community beyond the Nations. At the same time, the Governments of the Member States demonstrate that they fully support this idea. Furthermore, in order to strengthen the feeling of belonging to a European family, first inter-state structures and later federal structures as well as other systems to facilitate the coexistence and cooperation of the peoples of the European Union are created. 19
Here the schedule of events and actions which lead to the creation of the United States of Europe: 1965: Merging of the national postal services into a European postal service, the Euromail. 1966-67: Separation of the telephone services from Euromail and in 1967 creation of a European telecom, the Eurocom. 1970: Merger of the national railways to give birth to the Eurotrain. 1970: Creation of several European television channels. 1971: Merging of the national utilities in the energy sector into a large European federation of electricity utilities and a large European federation of natural gas utilities with a mixed private-public structure. For now, the close relations between gas and electric utilities are maintained in those countries where they exist. Standard tariffs will be introduced gradually throughout the European Community. Regarding the water companies, a similar model is under consideration. 1972: Optional introduction of a truly European passport in the Member States of the European Community 1972-1981: Introduction of the direct election of European Members of Parliament and planning of the direct election of the President of the Commission for 1981. 1973: Accession of Denmark and Ireland to the European Community 1977: Coordination and equivalence of university courses, diplomas, and fees in all EC countries and promotion of studies in neighbouring EC countries. 1979: Establishment of a unified financial system and an EC-wide supervisory organization to coordinate national budgets, with some financial compensation between rich and poor countries. 1980: Revision of the rules for banking supervision. 1981: Direct election of the President of the European Commission 20
1981: Accession of Greece to the European Community 1981: The United Kingdom decides definitively not to join the European Community 1982: Merger of the national defence organisations into a European army with general military service compulsory for one year. 1983: Establishment of the Central European Bank and the introduction of the Euro 1984: Common immigration policy for all Member States 1985: Merger of the Member States of the EC into a Federal Union: the United States of Europe (USE); direct election of the European President; abolition of the European Commission to become the government; the European passport becomes standard. 1986: At the beginning of the year: strengthening the role of civil society through participatory democracy 1986: Accession of Portugal and Spain; USE football team for Mexico 1987: Admission of the USE as a permanent member of the Security Council of the United Nations instead of France 1988: Accession of the GDR and unification with the Federal Republic of Germany, already Member of the USE; USE Olympic teams for Seoul. 1989: Definition of the future of Europe within its possible borders: where would Europe stop politically and geographically? Which countries can still become members of the USE? 1995: Accession of Austria, Finland, Sweden, Norway and Turkey 1996: The USE decides the construction of a lunar station with the establishment of the first module in 2002 1997: Establishment of a uniform retirement system 1998: Establishment of a uniform tax system 1999: Establishment of a central stock exchange in Europe based in Paris and following a set of ethical rules 21
2000: Accession of the Czech Republic, the Slovak Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovenia. 2001: Amendment of the Constitution to give more weight to the regions. 2002: Introduction of the Euro and inauguration of the first module of a lunar base. 2003: Replacement of compulsory military service by a professional army. 2004: Accession of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Cyprus and Malta 2006: Accession of Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Kosovo 2008: Accession of Bulgaria, Romania and Albania ---------------------The plan will be implemented as a truthful reflection of the dream:
First phase: Creation of symbols for a United Europe Preface: The Common Agricultural Policy, conceived as a means of integration of the EEC, has proved counterproductive. Differences in productivity in the various countries are too large for an indisputable success. After intense consultations between members of the EEC, it is therefore agreed that a progressive model with a differentiated and lower subsidy level and a complete removal or at least a substantial reduction of these subsidies over a decade should be adopted. However, in order to improve their agricultural productivity, newcomers to the Community are initially granted higher subsidies than the older Member States. Moreover, subsidised agricultural products should not flood the world market, and in particular not cause difficulties for developing countries, especially in Africa. After the failure of the EEC Common Agricultural Policy as a means of European integration, new ways of promoting the European idea must be found. Politicians realise that we need European symbols that people can identify with. In order to achieve real buy-in from EEC citizens, they agree to rapidly create such symbols. This section describes that process. ---------------------Only a few years after the foundation of the European Economic Community, it is clear that, if Europe wants to make its voice heard in the concert of world politics, it must be more than just an economic community. The founding fathers had already pointed this out. This is particularly evident when looking at the periods of the Viet Nam war (1964/65-1973) and the Algerian war (1954-1962), where Europe's voice remained nearly inaudible. Even during the later Iraqi war starting in 2003, the situation is not much better. There are lots of issues unresolved until today and certainly beyond. The total absence of Europeâ€™s voice during the Syrian civil war, which has already claimed around hundred thousand victims, is a 23
disaster. However, if the European idea were to become a reality, strong symbols, highlighting the fact that the citizens of this community belong to the same single entity, are required. Consequently, the Governments of the Member States are preparing to create such symbols. The symbols mentioned here, should not take the form of additional bureaucracies, which would only result in further administrative complications. They should be embodied in institutions or enterprises, which operate across the entire territory of the European Community and which are given the task of facilitating contact between citizens in neighbouring countries, or even make that contact possible in the first place. Whenever the service of such company or enterprise is sought, the users automatically take note that we live in a larger community than the national one and that the citizens in neighbouring countries within the European Community are part of our community. Very quickly it is recognised that there is hardly anything better suited for a first experience in this sense than the national postal services in the EEC Member States. During the early years of the EEC, citizens still have close and frequent contacts with these national services. SMS and email with documents attached, etc., for which no physical postal service is necessary, do not yet exist. Similarly, the trend towards the privatisation of national companies is not yet a topical issue, and as a result, the private sector has no objection to using the postal services as a tool for promoting European unity. In 1965, the different national postal services are united under one European roof and thus merged into a European mailing operation, the Euromail. Little by little, this institution, presenting itself as an integral part of the EEC and striving to offer its customers the best and most efficient service possible, is perceived as a truly European service provider, which people are proud of. Maps of the EEC are everywhere in the Euromail offices, which significantly strengthens 24
the impression that we are dealing with a truly European institution. Initially this does not affect in any way - and later on only marginally - the way postal service companies organise before and after the merger. The shipment of parcels and letters is done as before using the same accounting system, except that the stamps are now European. The intended effect is first of all that of a strong European bond, but also a considerable improvement of the services offered across national borders. For Europeâ€™s citizens, Euromail succeeds in bringing the European regions together. Letters and parcels do not come from France or Italy and so on, but from parts of the European Community. A year later, a single rate for each category of weight for letters and parcels is implemented for the European Community. Now there are everywhere stamps with motifs from all Member States and regions (but real and not synthetic images of objects or figures) and they are valid anywhere in the EEC. For stamp collectors additional collections are issued. Europe begins to live â€“ at least in the post offices - and, in the 1960s, people are still frequently going to the post office. Furthermore, the mail man comes to their home almost every day. What could therefore be better suited to bringing the European idea to the people? Even sceptics will now find something appealing in this idea. In 1965, I am 21 years old and thus of legal age. I have just done my military service (first in a unit equipped with small reconnaissance aircraft, then in a medical company) and begin my studies at the Technical University of Berlin, not to escape military service2, which I've just behind me, but to experience first hand the reality of the European Community and its bearing on the East. Initially, I register for metallurgy, and later geology. During the first summer holiday I feel the urge to see the great wide world and get myself hired as a cabin boy by the Hapag shipping company for a trip to the Caribbean Sea. The ship I am embarking on, the Christiana Pikuritz, is a freighter. At that time, cargo ships are still real ships and not the 21st century container ships, which do not even allow their crews to go ashore when 2
At that time, young people moving to West-Berlin are relieved of their military service.
they are in port for loading or off-loading. During the Atlantic crossing, the giant ship engine fails and during one night we are at the mercy of the waves. Fortunately that night the sea is relatively calm and no further complications occur. In Colombia, Venezuela, Trinidad, and Costa Rica I see for the first time tropical landscapes. In Trinidad, I find myself for the first time amidst a black population and find that very exciting. The way of life of these populations appears to me as completely different from what one sees in Europe - people are much more open, happy, relaxed. In New Orleans, Hurricane Betsy surprises us. It is the first big Hurricane causing damage of more than 1 billion $ US (in $ of 1965). If you do not want to be knocked over by the storm, you need to lean against it at about 30째. Vessels plucked from the opposite dock bump against ours and plant a large hole in the rear of our cargo. The positive aspect of this event: we stay in New Orleans for about a week to repair the hole and I have the possibility to meanwhile visit the city. At that time, there are still original black jazz orchestras in New Orleans, particularly at the Preservation Hall, which I am also visiting. What impresses me most is the advanced age of the black jazz men. Back in West Berlin, the EEC means a lot more to me than just a common economy for six countries. Even in this 'city island', one realizes that something is moving, and Euromail sends the appropriate signal for me and for a large part of the population. Governments tell us that they are serious about Europe. They want to convince us that this is the right way and we are receptive to this signal.
The initiative turns out to be a huge success for the European idea, which becomes more and more attractive. More and more citizens, young and old, are delighted with the prospect of a (Western) Europe without borders and to live under the same laws in all of that Europe within a few years. We want to see the efforts in this direction intensified and, at the right time, open Europe to our neighbours as well. Perhaps, this Europe may open its doors one day to the countries of Eastern Europe, currently known as USSR satellite 26
States. In any case, living in West Berlin, one cannot but realize the phenomenal psychological impact that the EEC and the underlying idea has on Eastern Europeans. Once the highly symbolic value of this action is clearly recognized, it becomes imperative to seek other potential targets with which something similar could be achieved. It turns out that in recent years the telephone service, which in many countries is still part of the post office, has substantially gained in importance. In order to proceed in the same way as for the mail service, new structures permitting to disconnect this service from Euromail and then putting in place a European Telecom, the Eurocom, are quickly created. In 1966 the separation of the telephone service from Euromail is initiated, and a year later Eurocom is launched. With the exception of the just mentioned separation of the telephone service from Euromail, no major restructuring is currently needed and the new rates that are valid in all EEC States are introduced within a year. In order to enable the new Eurocom improving its services and offering these at lower prices, significant funds are invested in research and development (R & D) to generate the new communication technologies needed for this upgrading. This strategy allows Eurocom to become the most modern Telecom in the world and the citizens of the Member States of the EEC have one more reason to be proud of their European Community and feel the bonds to this community further strengthened. For many, the European Community and what it promises to become has turned into a love affaire or at least it finds a place in their heart; and this all the more when it is so obvious that politicians wholeheartedly strive to further advance Europe with the intention of creating a common home for all its citizens. People feel the enthusiasm of their politicians, who engage with and for their peoples for the European cause. â€œEuropeâ€? has become attractive not only for the population of the EEC but also for entire peoples still outside of this community. 27
Through this additional and single-mindedly implemented step in the European direction, undertaken by the EEC Member States, an important further building stone of Europe is added to the edifice and not only in the imagination of citizens but also and above all in practical terms, on the ground. Europe becomes tangible and a politically United Europe becomes more and more a possible reality. West Berlin, where I am still a student, is no longer as insular as in the first years after the construction of the wall in 1961, although the GDR government is trying hard to defend its model by all means and continues to demarcate itself from the West. Finally, it fails to convince its citizens of the quality of its model and little by little the relations between the two German States improve, especially during the era of Willy Brandt, since 1969. It is actually a historic chance that the efforts of one man, Willy Brandt, for reconciliation between East and West, coincide with the progress towards a community of the European Peoples, organized into a political federation, which, one day, must become a genuine Union. This magnificent development deprives the GDR regime of its legitimacy. In 1967, the three original institutions of the economic community, i.e. the ECSC (European Coal and Steel Community), the EEC and EURATOM merge to give birth to the European Community, which means, at least according to the new term, a political rather than a purely economic community. All possibilities for continuing the political integration remain open. Also in 1967, I move for one year to Paris to continue my geological studies at university. At first, I register for the venerable Sorbonne University in the Latin Quarter, where I am feeling at ease, and take up quarters in a very small room (<10m2) on the sixth floor at the rue des Ă‰coles, almost opposite the University. But I discover quickly that with the chosen field of study, historical geology, I shall not be able to accomplish much in the real professional world and therefore, a little later, I change over to the Faculty of Sciences (FacultĂŠ des Sciences, Jussieu) to study applied geology. At the Ă‰cole des Mines (School of Mines), where I also tried to register, I am told to
come back a few years later to write my PhD thesis, please. Furthermore, as the room in the rue des Écoles is too expensive, I decide to move to Neuilly, a plush suburb of Paris, where I occupy a room under the roof of a beautiful Haussmannian building. For me, taking the road to Paris to change country and university for cultural enrichment and gathering of experience is quite normal at the time, even if this is not necessarily affordable for all students, since Erasmus did not yet exist. At this time, the younger German population feels attracted to France. For us, the words "Liberté, Fraternité, Egalité" are still magic and we would like to see this ideal spread across the whole new Europe. The same also applies to Polish youths, who are also every now and then seen in Paris, but for whom it is much more difficult to get to France. In addition you can already see a number of students from other neighbouring countries registering for one or two years at a university of the community of Six and then return with an additional certificate or diploma. The State of mind among many young people is in fact already very positive about the European idea and so young people leave more frequently for neighbouring European countries. The European institutions and public service organisations, which, here and there, more and more dominate the public landscape, contribute enormously to “Europe” becoming little by little a reality for citizens. In Paris I meet a young French woman of Caribbean origin, Annette Sopinor (for me Annie), who later becomes my wife. Once again, a European element is added, even if it is on a very small scale, i.e. that of the individuals. Many small steps can add up to a big one and it is essential that Europe is also progressed through private action.
In May 1968, Paris is in turmoil. The student revolt (in France it is later referred to as revolution) breaks out and spreads throughout Europe like a bonfire. Once again we have a European phenomenon. The opinion of young people is not only hostile to the authority with the aspiration for more freedom for the individual (later described as 'sexual revolution') and against the consumer society, but also proEuropean, accompanied by impatience. For students and a part of 29
the 'rest' of the population, Europe moves much too slowly (!). This beautiful episode in Paris will remain engraved in my memory. People are accessible and open to the need for a change in society. The structures are too ossified and the image of the 'Great Nation', as Charles de Gaulle wanted to apply to France after the Second World War (which, at the time, has no doubt facilitated the new beginning for France after the German occupation) is an image that today’s students no longer really appreciate. The world has changed for France as well as for Europe. Young people, especially students, want a France that speaks to them and why not also a Europe that speaks and opens its arms to them. Politicians with the courage to move society in the direction of greater openness and a united Europe are today in demand. We must not let this opportunity pass by unused. Despite the above described developments, I pass my exam in applied geology at the Faculty of Sciences and I get my 'licence '. Without this certificate, I would of course run into difficulties regarding the extension of my scholarship.
The “chaos” of Mai 1968 isn’t limited to France. Similarly, in Germany, the United States and Italy we see phenomena that are directly inspired by what happens in Paris. At the same time, a fresh breeze blows through the Soviet Communist bloc that finds its concrete expression in the Prague Spring. For many people, there is great hope and they begin to believe in a model of communism with a human face. For a while, it even seems that this movement might be successful. Unfortunately, the inflexible Leonid Brezhnev keeps the reins of power in the Soviet Union, and the Prague Spring is silenced by the Soviet military a few months later. Fortunately, this reaction does not come as brutally as one might have feared. Regarding the good relationship with the now much admired EC, the Soviet Union is eager not to appear as utterly violent. Unfortunately, since 1964, Nikita Khrushchev is no longer Secretary General of the USSR. Under his rule, the response to the Prague uprising would have been probable even more moderate. He had already initiated a 30
number of welcomed reforms. Under Leonid Brezhnev, the political structures are again becoming "ossified". Nevertheless, the prospect of an end to the cold war becomes ever more palpable, even though the USSR is once again sending conflicting signals. The European Union has become one of her truly important partners and it is impossible for her to completely ignore the EC’s concerns. Moreover, the Soviet Union is no longer fully immunized against internal and international public opinion as well as at her “allies” (satellites). In April 1968, Rudi Dutschke becomes victim of an assassination attempt, but survives despite very serious brain damage. He is a very committed man. Throughout his life he is looking for a model located somewhere between Soviet Communism and American capitalism. Many intellectuals support him, among them the former president of the Federal Republic of Germany, Gustav Heinemann. Yet, the established political power and the representatives of the economy fight him fiercely. The media, in particular the Axel Springer press with its Bild Zeitung newspaper, also denigrate him. Axel Springer can be regarded as the German counterpart of Rupert Murdoch: conservative and aimed at pleasing and at the same time influencing the masses for political purposes. Daniel Cohn-Bendit, who in 1968, studies at the University of Nanterre, near Paris, has known Rudi Dutschke. Daniel meets him a few weeks before the assassination attempt in Berlin. This incident motivates Daniel to politically activate students at Nanterre. There is certainly a sort of rage in him against the political establishment that has tolerated the hate campaigns that have led to this tragedy. When the May events play out, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, the presumed instigator of the revolt, is expelled from France. The French Government believes to have landed a clever coup against the ‘student revolt’. Similarly to Rudi Dutschke, Daniel Cohn-Bendid calls for a more human political and economic model. He is not a Communist. Later, he enlists for the Green cause and in 1994 he joins the Greens in the European Parliament. 31
During the fall of 1968, I resume my studies at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich. We, i.e. Annie and I, live in Schwabingen. At this time, Munich is a very friendly city for students and the student quarter of Munich is indeed part of Schwabingen, which, before the two World Wars, was the Bohemian and artistsâ€™ quarter of Munich. For example, the association of painters "Blauer Reiter" (blue rider) was established here between 1911 and 1914. In the 1960s and 1970s, one would not only come here to study, but also to have fun. There are many student pubs where there is good drinking and chatting. In addition there are, at this time, still American garrisons stationed in Munich that maintain nightclubs in which excellent music bands perform and where you can still dance to 'Slows' (considered old-fashioned in the 21st century). I remember very well the "Birdland", primarily visited by AfroAmericans, in the KirchenstraĂ&#x;e, Haidhausen district of Munich. There you find a really crazy but pleasant atmosphere. Moreover, at this time, the musical 'Hair' is performed in Munich. Donna Summer also lives in Munich. In 1969, Annie and I get married. Since 1970, we take the "Eurotrain" to get from Munich to Paris and thus remain in contact with the parents-inlaw.
You can also take the Eurotrain to get from Hamburg to Paris and Munich and vice versa. The trip in both directions lasts about 5 hours. What a feat! Travellers can appreciate the passing-by of landscapes, villages, cities and castles during this five-hours-travel by train instead of lying stretched out all night on a hard couchette without really closing eyes. Especially in winter when roads are often covered with snow, or when there is ice on the road, this train is really a blessing! Fortunately, at this time, almost nobody thinks about privatising the railway. Imagine the stupidity that privatisation would have been! Subsequently, an ambitious programme of research and technological development in the railway area is promoted and supported in order to develop very advanced and even pioneering technical systems, with which Europe can take a leading position on the world market. 32
The merger of the national railways in a European operation has not been quite as easy as the national Post-offices or Telecoms. Here we had to overcome major resistances at national rail companies and their staff. Fortunately, but also surprisingly, politicians remained devoted and attached to the idea that Europe must become more and more attractive for its citizens. They are now almost intuitively using symbols that "have a daily impact" on the lives of the citizens to further connect the population with the European idea. The spirit of the founding fathers is always present and has lost none of its force. Disputes are resolved by mutual persuasion in constructive discussions and in the end the good will always wins. Politicians have traced the route for the railway and the organizations have followed this route. For the railway it is of course not simply a question of transporting people, letters, parcels and goods, or of establishing rail links between cities in different countries, but rather of real integration of national organisations. For example, staff in the railway sector should not be exchanged at each border, but should remain with the train until the trainâ€™s final destination if the distance from departure to that final destination does not exceed 1000 km. For example, for the travel distance between Paris and Hamburg, that would be more than reasonable. However, for the travel distance between Bordeaux and Berlin such an arrangement would probably no longer be feasible. The prerequisite for the maintenance of the staff on the train would be that the staff can make itself understood in two or three languages. It will also be necessary to build a network of hotels or hostels for railway staff. Railways, voltages at the catenaries and AC frequencies must be standardised, or else we need to develop methods that allow the electric locomotives to adapt from one system to another without requiring them to be replaced. Fortunately, for over one hundred years, rail gauge, i.e. the distance between rail tracks, is standardized to 1435 mm in the current Member States of the EC. Itâ€™ll probably still take a few years until the system runs perfectly smoothly and that there are no longer 33
extended stops and stays at the borders. But technological progress will soon contribute to solving these problems so that we shall have a well managed European railway system with well maintained schedules and all trains arriving and departing on time. Having achieved that, a railway trip in the European Community with the IC or TGV train becomes a real pleasure; the distances shrink and the cities move closer to each other. In the waiting rooms throughout the European rail network we find railway maps of the entire EC railway network. One sees immediately that the railway service company thinks of itself as a cross-border service and now the major axes such as Nantes - Berlin or Stuttgart - Marseilles or Paris - Rome are being etched into people’s memories. Logically, the next big thing would be to merge the national airlines of the European Community into a single European company, the “EuroAir”. However, when it was already not so easy to unite all national railway companies under the same roof, it turns out that it is still much more difficult when it comes to the national airlines, even though the technical difficulties are fewer. Attaching the national airlines to a European company is one step too much for most Governments of the EC. Air France, Alitalia, Lufthansa, KLM, Sabena, are the pride of the Nations. They are therefore not (yet?) ready to waive these symbols. This is extremely regrettable, because it shows that Nations again and again tend to hide behind their own priorities and have a propensity to delay decisions if an agreement is not possible in the short term. In order not to appear too backwards looking, it is agreed to found a new small private company, the 'European Airlines', which includes some low-activity routes inside and outside Europe. As relations with the Soviet Union are relaxing slowly but surely, this new 'neutral' air company is authorised to serve West Berlin from Paris, Rome, Amsterdam, Brussels, Hamburg, Frankfurt and Munich, and this at first once a week and later more often. After all, this embryonic company has, at least theoretically, the potential to become the great “EuroAir”. If it will realize this potential one day depends, however, on the investors and 34
its ability to take advantage of the trend for companies to operate at the European level. We live all these positive changes in the European Community as something quite natural and normal. How could it be otherwise when the politicians have promised us to create a Europe with the appropriate structures necessary for it to be functional? Through all these achievements during recent years, life has become much easier for us and we feel everywhere at home in the Europe of the Six. The new European service companies offer services that work well, are worth their price, and are seen as being customer-focused. This has happened, in part, because it has been recognized early on that, in order to achieve customer satisfaction, bureaucracy must be reduced to a minimum. Employees learn early on, that fast, friendly and competent treatment results in “happy” customers and is therefore in the interests of the employees themselves, whom the customer will no longer accuse of being slow and inefficient. Citizens therefore perceive the EU as un-bureaucratic and devoted to its citizens. The European idea is on its way to materialize and it works! Soon, neighbouring countries clearly recognize the advantage of the European Community and would like to join her as soon as possible. Even the European press, with the exception of the British press, is convinced of the European idea and supportive articles about Europe contribute to positively anchor the idea in the public opinion. Where the press remains sceptical, journalists are invited for political debates together with politicians and other public figures to measure their scepticism on what is already achieved, what is already planned, and what remains to be done. Most of the time, the result is more than satisfactory, and ‘Europe’ wins a few more friends. Only diehard sceptics are not convinced. As these, little by little, become a tiny minority, they no longer represent an obstacle for progress towards further integration of the States of the European Community. They remain, however, a reminder that any additional step must be thoroughly considered and well prepared. Therefore, these voices are not neglected. Only the British press, which, since 1968-69, is 35
most visibly represented by Rupert Murdoch, is increasingly hostile towards Europe3. An additional step in the right direction would now be to explain the benefits of a federal United Europe to children and students at a fairly young age and in a meaningful way. This would have the long-term effect of making them less susceptible to nationalist demagoguery against Europe when they become adults. Rather than glorifying the wars and victories, the teaching of history should give more weight to the description of suffering and poverty of the population from the continual wars that ravaged Europe during the past centuries and highlight the potential for prosperity and peace in a United Europe. This is already common practice in some schools, but many schools do not yet follow this trend. The European Community will bring benefits not only in economic terms, but also in the form of moral values and tolerance, such as being part of a cultural that does not exclude anybody just because he or she: • belongs to a particular religion, • identifies herself/himself as a homosexual person (without, however, manifesting this religious or sexual affiliation in aggressive ways in public), • has a certain skin colour, • is a woman, • represents a political tendency, • is particularly excellent in school or too shy, • has a physical or mental disability, • is pacifist, etc. This culture is characterised by tolerance, but is also known to defend itself against aggressive intolerance. At the present time, the exchange of students between schools and universities in different Member States becomes more and more intensive and this enhances the understanding of different customs and cultures in the EC. The success of this programme is obvious. More and more young people speak one or several other European 3
I should like to indicate here a contribution by Agnès Catherine Poirier No. 3211 - Télérama, which describes the Murdoch press quite rightly as a predator. In addition, Sir David Hare, the British playwright, is quoted: “Murdoch is a pure Thatcherite. He brought a very raw nationalism to Great-Britain, which is at the same time martial, anti-European and imperialist.” See also: http://www.telerama.fr/medias/la-presse-murdoch-lempire-qui-pervertit-les-democraties,71512.php
languages in addition to their native language, thus greatly improving the empathy for the different ways of life in neighbouring countries. Political and cultural nationalism is more and more on retreat and faltering. The neo-Nazis in Germany and elsewhere have very few supporters and residual rightwing extremism elsewhere is a fading model. The practical experience and the participation of all segments of the population of the European Community in the creation of a new society is so convincing that these outdated political trends have no longer a place in peopleâ€™s minds. Moreover, there is virtually no unemployment in the EC during these early years. The French call these first 30 years after World War II with full employment the "Trente Glorieusesâ€? (the thirty glorious years). Later on, after the first oil shock, programmes are quickly set up to provide work for those people who lose their jobs due to the economic downturn, including training in new competences for different trades. During the course of the same year when Eurotrain is launched, i.e. in 1970, we also see a truly European television channel broadcasting for the first time. For now, viewers cannot yet select their language by remote control (the broadcast languages are: German, French, Dutch and Italian). This will be held in reserve for the digital age. Consequently, itâ€™s no longer just pupils, students, customers of Euromail and Eurocom and travelling citizens who closely feel the breath of Europe, but also the increasingly numerous folk of television spectators. Europe comes into the home. The European television broadcasts in particular cultural programs that show the 'local' life, customs and traditions in the neighbouring countries. But variety shows, news, political discussions, scientific and many contributions in other categories are also broadcast across national borders. Democratically controlled (so that they do not degenerate into censorship) regulations concerning the quality of television programmes guarantee that at least a minimum level of culture, truth and ethics, is respected. In addition, indiscretion and sensationalism as well as the undue direction of attention to superficial social phenomena, should also be avoided. Soon, other European channels 37
with a focus on news, the economy, culture, science, sports, etc., will follow. In addition, other channels from neighbouring countries and in the original language may be received in your coutry, which is extremely positive for the diffusion of knowledge of foreign languages. There is a lively debate on whether advertising has a place in television, and if so, how this is handled in a manner that is compatible with the avoidance of interruption of ongoing programmes. It is agreed that the national television should settle for having as little as possible advertising, since it is already financed by the State and, therefore, through citizensâ€™ taxes. The advertising for self-financing of future private channels will be allowed, but with the stipulation of not interrupting ongoing programmes. How will further progress for Europe be achieved? Will there be other actors from public life, the economy and industry that will follow the example of the post offices, telecoms, the railways and television? Can policy instigate more mergers of national companies into European companies? There are still the utilities, and in particular those in the energy and water sectors, left for the realisation of their European potential. And indeed: little by little, the energy supply companies can no longer escape the attraction that is exerted by the European idea and the insistence of politicians to initiate further progress. In 1971, mergers take place between operators in the natural gas sector on the one hand, and the electricity sector on the other hand. At the beginning, these mergers are still relatively loose, because there are different structures in the Member States. If for example the electricity producers and the suppliers of natural gas in France are still public at this time, in other countries there are mixtures of models, where State firms, private companies and semi-public companies coexist. At the end of a long political debate a semipublic model will be agreed upon. New cost structures will be developed, ensuring that customers not only do not suffer 38
disadvantages, but get also benefits. By connecting the energy utilities between them, thanks mainly to the standardization of infrastructure elements and equipment, synergies and cost reductions can be achieved, resulting in lower prices for the consumer. Furthermore, through the reduction of bureaucracy, additional cost savings will be obtained. While the EC economy is still steaming ahead - the first oil crisis is still to come - unemployed workers would quickly find new jobs elsewhere. However, initially the agents of these operators wonâ€™t need to find new jobs elsewhere because they are needed for the reorganisation, modernization and integration of electricity grids and the construction of new gas pipelines. In addition it must be made sure that customer proximity becomes a priority; and for this we need motivated employees and not ones discouraged by the perspective of unemployment. At first, the â€œlocalâ€? electric and gas utilities will continue to use their original logo next to the European symbol. Over time, the integration progresses to the point where only the European logo will remain and the former will be gone. Citizens will soon perceive their public services that are now completely focused on their customers as another building stone in the European Home. Shortly afterwards, the water utilities will follow, adopting a similar model. On this occasion, there is no push for accelerating the integration. Quite the contrary: it is deemed sensible to grant the necessary time to quietly apply the aggregation of the individual elements for the simple reason that in different regions, water companies can be municipal or private, small or subsidiaries of a large corporation, and a quick merger would not be possible. Therefore, as a first step, a federation of water companies is initiated. The fact that we have a federation of companies allows local water companies to have their original local logo and the European logo, one next to the other. However, even in this case, a truly European company emerges over the years, which is then able to perform the necessary investments for the modernisation of equipment for fresh water supply and waste water evacuation to and from consumers. It may be recalled here that the water utilities do not only carry water to 39
the customer but also operate sewage plants in order to then introduce the purified wastewater safely into rivers or into the sea. The population has no doubt that the described solution is the best, since it has had excellent experiences with other European utilities and services. Trade unions and employers from the professional sector have managed to agree that the targeted model can only work if both parties go hand in hand in the same direction. In collaboration with company management, the unions are eager to create a climate that is conducive to resolving conflicts through mutual agreement. It should be noted, however, that a possible privatisation or reprivatisation of the energy and/or water sectors cannot be excluded in the long term, if, to the extent that the European Community expands geographically, these companies should become too large and inert. However, in this case, it should be conclusively proven that privatisation entails significant benefits for customers and these benefits must be guaranteed. It cannot be permitted that a utility company or public service, once privatised, has in mind nothing but its own profits and dividend payments to shareholders. All too often, after privatisation of public services, citizens have the impression that lots of promises had been made and only very few or none of them have been kept. To make it clear: for the creation of services companies or energy or water utilities, operating across Europe, the EC will generally not have resort to nationalisations. When the utilities are still stateowned companies, which is often the case, their transformation into an organisation operating at European level is relatively easy. You are not confronted with private interests, as for example shareholders, who can claim compensation or a right of veto or delay the course of history otherwise. Beyond the Europeanization of the post offices, Telecoms, railways, television, electricity and gas, no further European service companies or utilities, with the exception of the banking and financial sector, will be created. 40
Indeed, it is not even remotely thought about nationalising private sector companies. As already mentioned, the measures taken so far have nothing to do with nationalisation. In cases where we are dealing with a mixed basket of state-owned, private semi-public companies, the semi-public model for operation across the European Community is preferred. Where we have a large number of small and large mostly private companies to be integrated into a Europeanwide body, the model of a federation of companies with central headquarters but largely independent individual firms is applied.
Second phase: Creation and strengthening of institutions and other bodies for a United Europe Preface: The created symbols do not fail achieving their desired effect. “Europe” is now much more than just a geographical and economic term. For many citizens, it becomes their second home, something like a super-nation (Übernation). At present, a truly European identification document that allows residents to identify themselves as citizens of the European Community and not just of one of its Member nations, would be welcome. In addition, there is a need for the creation of institutions that enable residents directly to participate in the political life of the community and the region where they have taken residence. Meanwhile, national procedures, standards and policies in the areas of education, economy, finance, and defence should be unified or at least adjusted so as to arrive at something that has at least a semblance of a European meaning. ---------------------Since the main energy and water utilities as well as public service companies now operate at the European level, the inhabitants of the EC Member States feel more and more at home in their Europe. As already mentioned, the European Community works well, is close to the citizens and gaining recognition and political weight on the world stage. Everywhere citizens meet European symbols and feel the presence of this so whole-heartedly desired Europe. At the same time, they do not feel the urge to cling to their nation states, since, at least for the time being, “Europe” does not interfere with affairs of national competence, such as culture, taxation or education. Not in a single Member State is the language or the way of life threatened. Instead, the different regions of Europe, such as the French Provence or the German Bavaria or the Italian Tuscany or Lombardy are gaining weight in the concert of the Nations and regions that are now united in a common Europe. However, the strengths and weaknesses of the regions are now becoming more visible and a real, but also 42
friendly, competition between the regions begins to take shape, which can be beneficial for their competitiveness. We see that the free movement of goods, persons and businesses in the European Union and the Europeanization of the major public services and energy and water utilities create the basis for a convergence of the economic strength of the different EC Member States. Europe is experienced “live”. More and more people want to be real citizens of this Europe and not just citizens of Italian or Belgian nationality, where the European Community is only mentioned as a sideline. They want to be in possession of a truly European passport and request this loudly and clearly. Finally, in 1972, the moment comes that a European passport, which does not mention any nationality, except that of the European Community, is issued to individuals who explicitly express their desire to have it. These passport holders pay their taxes and vote in political elections where they have their first residence (it is expected that the problem of different levels of national tax rates will be solved in a few years by unifying the tax rates in all of the European Community). After the signing of the treaties of Rome “to lay the foundations of an ever closer political Union” between European peoples, this is only a logical consequence. Schengen is thus anticipated for many years. This solution allows the passport holder to keep his or her “national identity” (in the sense that it is a cultural identity) for him- or herself, without this being specially noted in his or her passport. With the current system, a German for example, who, at a given time, decides to live in France and would like to feel at home, would have to change his nationality, i.e. become French. So, he could now claim to be French, where in reality he still feels German. His mother tongue ultimately remains German, and he has received his education for most of the time in Germany. Also, the legacy of a vast cultural space until the end of the 19th century and the heritage from the Second World War, where, on behalf of the Third Reich things have happened, that we would rather like to forget, cannot just be ditched. But my generation continues to bear this burden and does not deny the legacy from the 12 years of Nazism, even if we are born too late 43
to be directly guilty. The hypocrisy that goes hand in hand with naturalisation would cease with the European passport. The European passport will have the advantage of allowing its owner to break out of the limitations imposed by the former narrow nationality and thus feel spiritually and intellectually more free; being able to draw on a multitude of European cultures and gaining a lot by assimilating them. The holder of this passport can cultivate his secret garden without feeling guilty of betraying "his countryâ€?. His country is now Europe. Personally, I would immediately apply for a European passport, regardless of where I live. (On the other hand, my children, that I will have later on, will be educated for most of the time in France or in French-speaking countries and will be French and proud of it â€“ at least as long as no alternative is available.) During 1972 we have a son, Sven; I get my PhD at the Maximilian University in Munich; we obtain our European passport with which, shortly after, we travel proudly (my little family and I) to Uganda, where I shall be working as a geologist for the former Federal Institute for Soil Research in Hanover (the equivalent of the French BRGM or the British Geological Survey). The country is often called the Switzerland of Africa. The Ruwenzori Mountains (5100 m) have no small part in this denomination, but the country as a whole is also situated at 1000 to 1500 metres above sea level and has thus a very pleasant climate (neither too hot nor too wet). The population is extremely hospitable and characterised by a great ethnic diversity. In particular the Karamajong in the North of the country are quite special; their way of life can be compared with that of the Maasai in Kenya - they have always been a selfconfident and proud tribe, even in difficult circumstances. However, under the dictator Idi Amin, they had to go through a great deal of suffering. For example, traditionally they did not appreciate very much to wear plain clothes but the dictator forced them to put on civilian clothes and thereby nearly destroyed their self-esteem.
We live in Kampala, the capital of Uganda, and I work as exploration Geologist for non-ferrous metal deposits and am often away from home and family for long weeks at a time to be “in the field”, where I do geological mapping, geochemical sampling and analysis and documentation of drill core, etc. Being often left on her own, Annie must deal with household chores and the situation of being sole parent. Fortunately, we are soon making African, German and French friends, making it easier for us not to feel as strangers in this country and to share experiences and new information about the European Community. Among our African friends there is also Princess Elizabeth Bagaaya (also known as Princess Elizabeth of Toro), who is an interesting and courageous person with a rather moving biography. She has repeatedly been the Ugandan Ambassador to the United Nations. We have thus frequently visitors and Annie is not alone with Sven. We also have a great and loving nanny, Ruth. She quickly takes Sven to her heart. When Miriam Makeba – a few of you will probably still remember her – comes to Uganda at that time to sing and also as an Ambassador of the black population of South Africa, we personally meet her. She is a woman with a lot of charisma and charm and is best known for her Click Song (e.g. Pata Pata) and for her commitment to fight the policy of apartheid in South Africa. She still wears her many braids with colourful beads. In Kampala, Uganda hosts a University with an international reputation: the Makerere University. Its origin goes back to the year 1922, when it was founded as a technical school and in 1963 it became the University of East Africa and offered courses leading to diplomas of the University of London. In 1970, the University became independent. A number of African leaders have studied here. There is therefore a highly educated intelligentsia in Uganda, which is apparently not sitting well with an authoritarian regime. This educated upper class certainly has an opinion about what is happening in Europe. These people aspire towards more democracy in Africa and to more unity rather than conflict between the African States that are indeed more or less artificial creations of the colonial era. For them, Europe is a model towards which they would like to move;
at least regarding black Africa. Sadly, Africa is not yet ready for a political union, although there are moves in that direction: already in 1963 the African States undertook a first attempt at the unification of the continent when they created the Organization of African Unity (OAU). Unfortunately, as Uganda is under the totalitarian reign of Idi Amin, the technical assistance to Uganda can no longer be morally justified. After just a year, we return to Munich.
While we are in Uganda, the developments in Europe are making great strides. The same year it is decided that political parties can now launch their election campaigns for the European Parliament in an EC-wide fashion for about 20% of their overall candidates, i.e. anywhere in the European Community. Citizens can therefore everywhere within the boundaries of the EC, wherever that may be, vote for candidates of all Member countries of the EC (e.g. Belgian citizens can vote for Italian candidates). Another part of the candidates (80%) is elected by their region or the country of origin. The president of the Parliament shall be elected by the Members of Parliament and in a secret ballot. In addition, a phased plan is adopted which provides for the direct election of the president of the Commission by the European Citizens from 1981 onwards. The Europe of the Six symbolizes increasingly an alternative model to the United States of America. Liberal capitalism, as is practiced in the United States of America, has not really taken roots in Europe. The European model can be described as a 'social market economy', thus characterized by the former German Minister for Economic Affairs Ludwig Erhard, although this term is not very clearly defined. The most suitable definition is probably provided by Walter Eucken4 (1891-1950) for his Ordoliberalism5. The social market 4
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ordoliberalism Ordoliberalism is the German variant between social liberalism and neoliberalism that emphasizes the need for the state to ensure that the free market produces results close to its theoretical potential. Ordoliberal
economy is however more pragmatic and leaves the duty to ensure social justice with the State. Creating a social market economy, does certainly not mean to create a State of total providence, which takes care of you from cradle to grave. This is out of the question for any free and democratic system. But the social market economy is a human system, based on individual and collective initiative and solidarity. Work and labour is considered to be what in the end it is: the Foundation for a successful and rewarding life. Finances are subordinate to working activity and entrepreneurial spirit and not the other way around. In addition, finances should support innovation when it needs financial help. Inside this model, a benevolent capitalism certainly has its place. Without gain, there will be no economic and social progress. The question is always where a healthy spirit of reasonable gain stops and greed begins, in other words where the logic of profit for profit and hence the unbridled financial system starts. It must be noted, however, that social market economy and ordoliberalism only work if we are dealing with relatively healthy public finances and a passably healthy economy. Both will not save a country from a situation of national bankruptcy and a sick economy. To do this, far greater efforts and different solutions will be needed. 'Ideologically', the European Community is positioned somewhere between the United States of America and the Soviet Union. This situation allows her to present herself as an intermediary between these two rivals, making possible a significant improvement in the political and economic relations between Western Europe and the ideals (with modifications) drove the creation of the post-World War II German social market economy and its attendant Wirtschaftswunder. However, ordoliberals promoted the concept of the social market economy, and this concept promotes a strong role for the state with respect to the market, which is in many ways different from the ideas that are nowadays connected with the term neoliberalism
Soviet Union. The European Community is recognized as a partner of the Soviet Union and the cold war loses little by little its hyperglacial face. A hope of dĂŠtente and rapprochement wins over and both partners benefit as much as possible, in particular in the economic, but also in the human field. The Europe of the European Community is considered to be a secular community, tolerant towards all religions. Its 'Western culture' is not only defined by Christianity, but rather by the diversity of its cultural influences from antiquity until modern times, and afterwards. In a future Europe there should also be room for Turkey. In any case, there is now room for deeply religious people of all religious communities, as well as for ardent atheists and all shades in-between the two. It is assumed, however, that nobody harasses non-believers or followers of other faiths with their own faith or show off their religion in a way that other people withdraw into a defensive posture. For most citizens, it does not matter if God is Protestant, Catholic, Jewish or Muslim. If there is a God, He has certainly not chosen any particular religion. Moreover, it is quite possible to have moral values without being religious. Absolutely non-religious education with moral standards and without prejudice can have the same effect as a religious education if these legal standards are borrowed from the peaceful and respectful coexistence of individuals in a community of human beings. However, there is no living example where a whole society lives according to these principles, the Communist model having failed. In the absence of such examples, it is always better to live according to the precepts of a religion, than to live without precepts at all. Letâ€™s come back to the European Community: the attraction that it is now exerting on non-member European countries is growing from year to year. In January 1973, Denmark and Ireland join the EC. The United Kingdom remains outside of the EC because the loss of national sovereignty seems too much. It is also at this time (1972) that the European Currency Snake with a limitation of the bandwidth 48
of exchange rate fluctuations of its member currencies of 2.25% is implemented; this is the first attempt to move closer to a European currency. However, Italy (almost instantly) and France (a little later) leave the system from the beginning. But the project remains alive, even though some European countries are not yet prepared to take this step, which requires coordination of financial policies and national budgets. It is only in 1979, that all Member States are willing to make major concessions in this area. A lot of persuasion both by the European Commission and by Governments has been necessary. Meanwhile, some countries like France and Italy are plagued by high inflation rates and realize that without regulatory bodies inflation can be extremely difficult to control. In 1974 we move to Togo, where we stay until 1977. Here the situation is more peaceful than in Uganda, although Étienne Gnassingbé Eyadéma, the Togolese President, is not a philanthropist either. I'm working in uranium exploration in Northern Togo (based in Lamakara). In January 1976, my first daughter, Tina, is born in Lomé, the capital of Togo. Life in Africa is far from being boring - we also travel to neighbouring countries, including Kenya, Ghana, Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon, etc. Of course, there is initially a distance between ‘white Europeans' and 'black Africans'; but this distance decreases as we try to understand each other. People are extremely friendly, and, despite the often extreme poverty, appear even cheerful. The landscapes are fascinating but also sometimes threatening (storms, drought, and torrential rains). Daily life is marked by worries such as: do we have enough drinking water for the next few days (there is no running water in the dwellings in Lamakara), how to stay in contact with the head office in Lomé, (there are almost no telephones in homes and the telephone line at the post office is often interrupted), whether the supply for the exploration group arrives in a timely manner, etc. Regarding our son, there's no kindergarten in Lamakara and children in the region do often not speak any French. So we send Sven at the local elementary school, although he is still too young for this. Soon, he mixes German, French and local languages such as for example Kotokoli. I stop speaking German with him in order
to prevent that the confusion of languages becomes too important. With lots of improvisation, Annie masters life in a not always comfortable environment. For example, on the day of Tina’s birth in Lomé, Annie walks to the hospital for delivery, exactly as most Africans do when they have the chance to have a hospital nearby. We think often of the rapid developments in Europe towards a community without borders and without discrimination against minorities but also more and more towards a consumer society, while the world in Africa appears to have come to a halt and is standing still. But again, appearances can deceive. There are certainly attempts to break out of the isolation. Unfortunately "the OAU [Organisation of African Unity] maintained the principle of non-intervention in the domestic affairs of its members. This has led to an attitude of passive observer in the face of violent military coups, civil wars and gross violations of human rights and the OAU is often perceived as the ‘Club of dictators’6 and as ‘Paper tiger’"7. However, the European idea resonates in West and Central Africa. After all, the West and Central African monetary unions with their franc CFA (franc des colonies Françaises d'Afrique and later franc de la Communauté financière africaine) as a shared monetary unit have positive economic effects that could unfortunately not survive without radical devaluation in the 1990s for lack of economic and fiscal coordination in the 1980s. The links with the former colonial powers of the African countries after their independence is still too strong for a pan-African movement with the ultimate goal of an African Federation to succeed. The successor Organisation, the African Union8, has not been much more successful In mid-1977, the African adventure has come to an end. I get jaundice and stay for a period of 3 months at hospital in Germany while Annie stays with our children at her parents’ in 6
http://diki.heliohost.org/africanunion2002.htm http://www.bpb.de/politik/hintergrund-aktuell/140209/zehn-jahreafrikanische-union 8 http://www.saiia.org.za/opinion-analysis/ten-years-of-a-contrasted-unionthe-african-union-at-the-crossroads-or-business-as-usual 7
Paris. After the hospital break, I am advised not to return to Togo, and start a four-month mission in the United States of America, where I am based in Denver, doing exploration in Idaho. The family remains in Paris. The sojourn in the United States of America gives me the opportunity to get to know people and country at least to some extent. The landscapes are stunning: Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park, Colorado! On the way from Denver to Idaho and back, I had the chance to drive my pickup and camping trailer through magnificent places. What I admired about Americans, is the naïveté with which they approach things. Americans do not accept failure. If anyone has tried something without success, he has simply not approached it in the right way. So let's try it again, but differently. Even scientific evidence does not hold Americans back from trying something or believing in something or not believing in it. I have experienced this attitude during my uranium exploration in the USA. Things that one would simply not do in Europe, because there is a history that tells you it will not work, will be tried all the same in the States. If someone comes up with the idea to do so, he will do it, notwithstanding any objections that it won’t work. And sometimes, with a little luck, they even succeed. This becomes obviously problematic when it comes to environmental matters or climate change. In this case, there is simply nothing you can do about it; the majority of the population just does not believe that human activity is at the root of this problem (I say this today in the year 2013 - in 1977, the issue of climate change isn’t pertinent yet but the American mentality has not changed since). Regarding the European Community as a political topic of interest, Americans are rather indifferent. The aspects "Peace factor" and "Atlantic partner" of the EC are of course highlighted and supported. However, the EC is also seen as an economic rival and political support is therefore ambivalent. But somewhere, at least when listening to the 'informed' Americans, the admiration for the European model cannot be overlooked. It should be mentioned, however, that many Americans have only
a vague idea about Europe. They live in their own world and have little contact with the continent of origin of their ancestors. The "appropriation" of their continent was certainly no picnic and this has of course its cultural consequences still a long time afterwards. In addition, a different rivalry comes into play: the European Community is not only feared as an economic competitor but also as an emerging challenger in the sense of a political and life-style model. So far, the United States of America has been the undisputed global model for economic, geopolitical and military success, for which they were openly or secretly envied by virtually all countries of the world. Now, all over sudden, a competitor arises who disputes them this status if not in the military but certainly in the economic, geopolitical, social and cultural spheres.
In Europe meanwhile, new progress has been made in the field of education. In 1977, Ministries of education reach EC-wide agreement on coordination and equivalence of academic and other professional education and registration fees for these courses. At the same time, the possibility for students to do part of their studies in neighbouring EC countries is promoted. This greatly facilitates the ability of college or university students in one Member State to a change over to a college or University in another Member State. At the same time, it promotes the recognition of diplomas obtained in one country by all countries of the Community. This recognition will be finally integrated in the legal framework of the EC, which is an important step as it enhances the mobility of well trained specialists of any kind, whether trained at university or at other higher education establishments. Whether they exercise a liberal profession or are employees, this newly gained mobility is immensely conducive to the continuance of economic and technological progress within the European Community and, in addition, avoids the sclerosis of social and employment structures. The recognition of documentation and diplomas certifying the completion of other professional training and studies throughout the European Community is soon to follow. In addition, the barriers to entry in certain occupational categories will be gradually dismantled. 52
At the same time, agencies are created in all regions of the European Community that are responsible for creating awareness among young people regarding the demand for different skills and the corresponding career opportunities. This is achieved through the participation of representatives from industry and small and mediumsized companies, as well as associations from the various professions. In addition, Belgium, France and Italy adopt the apprenticeship system that has proven its worth in Germany and which has been abolished in France only since the 1960s. In 1978, Europe affords a research policy, which aims to propel the European Community at the forefront of the world of scientific research and innovation. Next to electronics, computing, physics and chemistry, medical research also plays an important role. The research will be done in particular in the field of rare diseases, which are neglected by big pharmaceutical companies, and in the field of cancer and diseases of the third world (as developing countries are still called in those years), such as malaria, typhoid fever, etc. and the development of new drugs. The AIDS virus is not yet discovered. Finally, the moment has arrived: in 1979, finances (revenues and expenditures) in the countries of the EC are aligned on a model adopted by the community, according to which countries must create financial reserves during years of affluence, to be used during lean years so that deep recessions can be avoided. This means of course that tax systems should be largely unified / standardised and that designated regulators can intervene when nations prepare their budgets. Their authority shall be such that the measures proposed in the countries concerned must not be watered down or even ignored. In addition to the coordination of overall national budget plans, there is also a solidarity system of redistribution of funds between rich and poor countries so as to enable investment in the poorest countries and regions and raise the standard of living there as well. Countries, such as the Federal Republic of Germany and others within and outside of the EC have already practiced this for some time within their own borders. In addition, an improved banking supervision is introduced 53
in 1980, to make their activities more efficient and to better serve the economy. Those banks that want to earn their money with financial transactions such as mergers, acquisitions, speculative Forex trading, trading in options and derivatives, and so on, must make use of their own capital and set aside reserves for possible setbacks. The banks designated as 'normal' must foremost finance economic growth and prove their risk-taking capacity by funding innovations (e.g. financial support for the establishment of new companies or start-ups) and help small and medium-sized enterprises when they need to invest in order to modernize their inventory of machines or to penetrate new markets, etc. For this purpose, national central banks and, later, the European Central Bank (which has yet to be created), will put credits at very affordable rates at the disposal of private and municipal banks. For a social market economy, these banks are absolutely necessary, because without them, the economy would remain in poor health and suffer from the high volatility of the financial markets. Of course, these banks must place the savings of their customers in a profitable manner, but they should not risk these savings with speculative investments. They should not forget either, that the intended use of the individual loans, for example, for the purchase of a house or an apartment, is important but must remain profitable. However, the range of allowed interest rates on these loans must be designed to avoid excesses. For banking supervision it is not only imperative to closely observe what banks do, but also to help them with advice and assistance when disadvantageous or even adverse developments are appearing on the horizon. There must be a Commission, with experienced financial experts, that can give banks the necessary advice to safely navigate and avoid dangerous areas. These dangerous areas are generally called 'bubbles '. It is important to detect them at the point of formation and not only when they are already preparing to burst. In the early stages of bubbles they can still be controlled through countermeasures, without causing major collateral damage. In other words, this Committee shall function as the banksâ€™ conscience and enable them to properly perform their tasks, i.e., to ensure that the 54
economy is always well oiled and works as smoothly as possible; even if this does never produce explosive, but rather moderate but steady and sustainable growth. Of course, sooner or later, even the economic policies of the Member States must be coordinated and a common economic policy must be established. This will probably become possible only after the unification of the EC member States in a genuine Federation. In early 1978, my family and I, we arrive in Canada, where exploration for uranium in the provinces of Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Labrador, and Nova Scotia is conducted out of Montreal. After the experience of Africa, a very different experience awaits us here. We come from a two-month vacation in Martinique, the country of Annie’s parents, where the temperature was about + 30 degrees Celsius and arrive in Montreal in January when the temperature is – 30 degrees Celsius. We are almost making a U-turn – such is our first impression of Canada’s inhospitable climate. However, after the first shock, we discover that Quebecers are very friendly, welcoming and gracious people. With an apartment in Lambert Closse Street in Montreal, very close to the downtown Atwater (Hockey arena) we integrate fairly quickly and acquire a circle of friends, which is not very difficult in Quebec. The schooling of Sven and later Tina happens without any difficulty. Only in winter, the way to school is not entirely without problems. Even if the children are picked up at home by the typical yellow school bus to be driven to school, they must be dressed very warmly in thick winter suits with only their eyes remaining visible, making them walk like astronauts in their space suits. In the early days, we believe that our Sven will soon be able to fluently speak English, next to French. After all, Canada is a bilingual country. Wrong! Our hope is quickly deceived. At the time, from 1976 to 1985, René Lévesque, a likeable politician, is Prime Minister of Quebec and his policy aims at the
independence of Quebec, which is quite the opposite of what happens in Europe. One of his key measures is the prohibition of speaking English at school, even during recreation time, except during English lessons as a foreign language. If a child is taken by surprise to speak English with a classmate during recreation, he is reprimanded. We have therefore rejoiced far too early. Although Quebec does finally not break out of the Canadian Federation â€“ the European example has perhaps influenced peopleâ€™s minds after all - the idea of independence remains alive over the years. Many readers surely remember the "Vive le QuĂŠbec libre!", the words spoken in 1967 by Charles de Gaulle at the end of a speech in Montreal. In any case, the Quebecers do remember. As far as I am concerned, I am often up-country or "in the bush", as the geologists say. In other words, I am away from home up north in tundra country and do exploration and geological mapping; plan, monitor, and analyze drill holes; analyse geochemical profiles etc., while living with a group of prospectors and drillers in a camp away from "Civilization" in Northern Canada. Exploration campaigns take several months in summer and in winter. During the months in-between, the North is not easily accessible, because thawing during springtime or freezing during early autumn renders mobility on land but also on lakes difficult or impossible (in winter drilling campaigns are carried out on lake ice). During the exploration phases, Annie must again manage getting along all by herself without a husband or father for the children being around. In Canada, and in particular in Quebec, it is fortunately not complicated when it comes to finding a job. You present yourself somewhere, where you have heard that someone with a specific skill is needed, and the next day you are employed (or sometimes the same day). As a consequence, when Annie looks for a job as a physical therapist, she finds it almost immediately. When she is not at home, a nanny takes care of the children. In September 1981, we have a second daughter, Nancy.
During the transition periods I'm at home in Montreal and we explore Quebec by car. In early fall, at the beginning of October, during the "Indian summer" one can observe beautifully red and yellow coloured Maple forests. Many Quebecers have a cottage in the Laurentian Mountains, North of Montreal, and spend often long weekend there “to see the leaves” during this period. Eastern Canada - and in particular Québec - reminds the visitor much more of Europe than the southern neighbour, the US, and in particular it’s Midwest, does. This applies not only to the landscape, but also to the mentality of both the Francophone and the Anglophone population. Nevertheless, the development in Europe is surprisingly not a burning issue here. People are quite busy with their daily lives and have no time for Europe. However, they do know Europe better than the Americans do and discussing the European Community can find resonance. The European project is universally admired, even if the knowledge about the issue does not go very deep. Also, it must be said that the relationship between Quebec and the European Community is relatively superficial. The feeling of being culturally and linguistically threatened in an overwhelmingly English-speaking geographical, economic, political, and linguistic environment, exhorts this Canadian province to look for cultural and linguistic support not from the EC, but from France. Canada as a whole is economically very closely intertwined with the US, and Quebec is not really an exception in this respect. This general lack of interest in the development in Europe and even in a further integration of the countries of North America worries us very much (the free trade agreement between Canada and the US will not be signed until 1987 and NAFTA enters into force only in 1994) and we ask ourselves whether Canada can possibly be the right place for a second home. What would we do if economic circumstances force us to make a decision to either definitely stay in Canada or return to Europe? Evidently, being so close to the border with the US, we cannot but cross that border and visit the Maine and New York.
However, the customs formalities are very stringent at that time. During a visit to a Chinese restaurant in New York's Greenwich Village, we are served so excellent and opulent a meal that afterwards we can barely move. Apart from these culinary impressions, New York is also a treasure of art, painting and documentation of the past in major galleries and museums. We are not only marvelled by the museums and art galleries, but also the Broadway impresses us enormously.
Third phase: Outcome of the dream (Strengthening the community, preparing and founding the United States of Europe (USE)) Preface: Much has been achieved so far. The “Europeans” can be satisfied. They are now ready to proceed with the next step of the formation of a Union of a truly federal character, with a common currency and pension system, and a uniform taxation scheme. What now remains to be done is to define the number of Government levels for the Federation and the competences each level should have: the Government of the Union, the national Governments (i.e., the Governments of the Member States) and the Governments of the Regions (i.e. the Provincial Governments such as Bavaria, Provence, Tuscany, Wallonia, etc.). The community can now more serenely consider the inclusion of additional members. But at some point, it will be faced with the problem of how the Union might want to support the moral obligations, which resulted from World War II, as for example supporting Israel politically and financially to repair the crimes committed by Germany against the Jewish people, from the Algerian war, or from the slave trade, etc. This painful European heritage, will it be taken on by the Union? Will Europe also be able to integrate Islam as a European religion? ---------------------In 1981, the citizens of the EC States can for the first time directly elect the president of the European Commission. Jacques Delors, a convinced European, who renounced the position of French Minister of finance, wins this election. This event is highly symbolic: a clear signal is now given that in the not too distant future there will be a President of the Federation of Europeans States, who will also be designated through direct elections. The future candidates for accession to the European Community must from the outset accept this idea if they want to become members. Greece is already a 59
candidate for a number of years and completely accepts this perspective. However, some weaknesses have come to light when testing the solidity of the Greek economy and Greece must accept a benevolent custody for two or three years in the area of public finance and tax policy. As a result of this supervision, Greece is soon economically and financially strengthened and in good health. Above all, she has now a system of administration that works and with which it can govern effectively. At the same time, Margaret Thatcher decides that Great-Britain should not join the European Community. For the United Kingdom, and especially for the press, in particular the Murdoch press, the political integration efforts go definitely far too far. The British press does not follow the example of the continental European press at all, but behaves instead in a way that is brutally anti-European. The United Kingdom fears for its independence, which is quite understandable from the point of view of the former British Empire and for Europe this refusal to join is a great opportunity, because the EC and the Governments of its Member States can now freely continue to work on the political integration of their countries into the European Community. Incidentally, we can assume that the European Community, in the case of a different decision by GreatBritain, would have demanded guarantees from this country to fully respect the existing and planned agreements between EC Member States and that it fully conforms to the spirit of the EC and its vision of the future. In the case where the United Kingdom would not acquiesce to these conditions, the European Community would have had the right to exclude the country. At present, the integration of the EC States is already so advanced, that in 1982 they decide to coordinate their defence spending and to integrate the national defence organisations into a European army with general mandatory military service of one year. There is, however, the prospect of abolition of conscription and its 60
replacement by a professional army in the next ten to twenty years. Yet once again, synergies lead to greater efficiency and cost reductions. The dependence on the U.S. defence umbrella is reduced and the European defence is gaining credibility in the world. The EC defence industry sector is now put to the test. MBB (MesserschmittBรถlkow-Blohm), Fiat, Thyssen, Krauss-Maffei, Snecma, Dassault, Herstal, etc., must adapt not only to a new and larger domestic market; they also need to invest in research and development (R&D) to meet the requirements of a modern army. The major companies in this sector must now cooperate much more tightly to keep the costs of these R&D activities within acceptable limits. These circumstances contribute to making the European defence industry more competitive at the international level and the quality of the offered equipment allows it to better choose between customers and especially not to deliver weapons to totalitarian or corrupt regimes. The European Community has reached such dynamism towards a genuine Union that in 1983 the Member States create a Central Bank so they can introduce the Euro, the common currency. This step has become indispensable because the mechanisms for the coordination of national economic, budgetary and financial policies begin to become genuinely effective (after putting the right conditions into place over the years, a European economic policy has gradually and almost imperceptibly emerged). Consequently, the population enthusiastically welcomes the introduction of the Euro, which is therefore easily achieved. Soon the citizens of the European Community can no longer imagine a life without the Euro. Travelling from one EU country to another is immensely facilitated by the fact that you are using one and the same currency in all EC countries. Furthermore, the losses incurred when changing currencies back and forth are an inconvenience nobody is missing. The new common currency soon becomes a matter of course for everybody and travel to neighbouring EC countries is noticeably increasing. More and more European citizens in EC-internal "border regions" take on work in neighbouring 61
countries. Moreover, even highly skilled workers are now willing to spend a few years of their careers in another EC country or even to definitely settle down there. All this leads to a further rapprochement and understanding between the peoples of the European Community. The European Central Bank has now taken on the role of guardian of the stability of the exchange rate against other currencies; particular with respect to the U.S. dollar, but also against the currencies of those countries, which want to join the European Community in the near future and which would then adopt the Euro automatically. The reason for the latter is that, prior to their entry into the EU, their currencies must not, for awhile, move outside of a relatively narrow range of exchange rate fluctuations. Thus, Portugal and Spain have committed themselves to stabilise their currencies between 1983 and 1986 so that they meet this criterion. The Euro contributes to a great extent to the further intensification of trade between the EC Member States and the stimulation of stronger than expected economic growth, which has also a positive impact on the world economy. However, because of the common currency, the differences between the economically stronger and weaker regions come to the fore more clearly than before. The cause is mainly that the peripheral regions compared to the more central regions do not only have a disadvantage related to their infrastructure, but are also significantly less industrialised and therefore less competitive. It is thus crucial that, in order to develop these regions, we put capital at their disposal; and that is what the Europeans do. They create a solidarity fund which is used to compensate, as far as possible, the economic disparities between the regions. The system will later be extended to the new members in the South and the East of the European Community to offset the still existing economic gap between them and the older Member States of the EC. An EC Ministry of Finance would now be desirable, but for this to happen, we must still wait until the creation of the United States of 62
Europe (USE). Until then, the national finance ministers must coordinate their financial issues among themselves and with the help of the Commission. However, in anticipation of the inevitable coming of the USE, the EC State Governments agree earlier than anticipated to align the retirement pension systems in the Member States. In particular, the forms for retirement claims by future retirement beneficiaries, who have worked in several Member States, are simplified. Thanks to a centralized database, it is now possible to fill a single claim form for retirement payment at the last place of residence. Provisionally, different standards for pensions in different Member States are admitted. Nevertheless, over a period of approximately twenty to thirty years, complete harmonisation in all the Member States must be reached. Towards the end of 1983, an agreement on the numbering and the toll of highways is reached. They are now numbered E1, E2, E3, etc. The national A6, A13, etc. disappears completely. In addition, the toll is abolished and transferred to vehicles tax, which greatly increases the degree of usefulness of the highways. At the same time, the railway network will be expanded so that the transport of goods can progressively be moved from road to rail. Also in late 1983, there are considerations regarding the sending, in 1984, of European Olympic teams to the games in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, the time is too short and this will only come true for the Olympic Games in 1988 in Seoul. However, sending a European football team in 1986 to Mexico might be feasible, although the practical implications arenâ€™t clear yet. Now that the European Community's economic and political success is undeniable, we see a considerable migratory pressure exerting on EC countries. In particular, citizens of the third world want to immigrate into the Community and this for humanitarian (e.g. from countries with totalitarian regimes) but also for economic reasons. In 1984, these circumstances lead to an immigration policy across the Community which must be followed by all EC countries. It is a 63
mixture of selectivity (persons with competences that are needed in the EC have priority) and the right of asylum. This right will of course be maintained, but in each case the conditions are examined according to strict standards. In practice however, things are more complicated and compromises are needed if one does not wish to expose the asylum seekers to long and painful procedures. But on the economic front, the promotion of selective immigration is a great success. Unfortunately, this same selective immigration has as a side effect, that there are citizens, who do not accept this wave of immigration. Thus there is a certain revival of a radical rightwing political movement, even if it occurs at a fairly low level and can be dealt with. In March 1979, while we are still in Canada, an accident occurs at the Three Mile Island nuclear generating station near Harrisburg (to the West of New York City and North of Washington, D.C.) involving the melting of a reactor core. Out of this accident, a movement soon develops in the Federal Republic of Germany, which can be summed up with the slogan "Atomkraft - Nein Danke" (nuclear energy - no thanks) and which gradually leads to the resolution of abandonment of nuclear energy in Germany. Therefore, no new nuclear power plant is planned in Germany from that year onwards. The reprocessing plant at Wackersdorf will not be finished and the fuel manufacturing plant for mixed uranium-plutonium oxide (MOX) fuel at the Hanau facility will be closed down a little later. In 1982, construction of the last reactor, ISAR 2/OHU, which has already been planned a long time ago, is going ahead. The nuclear industry realizes soon that security of uranium supply is no longer a top priority. As a result my company begins gradually to decrease uranium exploration and production activities. As usual, management tries to reassure employees and explains that they have no reason to worry: the company is strong and Germany still needs uranium for its existing reactors and those under construction. Also, there are reasons for assuming that public opinion will soon change. This has not prevented us from reading and interpreting the signs of the time and work out a strategy for a return to Europe. By the way, Italy
and Austria are following similar strategies, even closing down their reactors. As already mentioned at the end of the section "Second phase", we are not convinced that definitely staying in Canada might one day be the right decision. Social, political, economic progress is taking place in Europe and we want to be part of it. During the last four months, I'm on a mission to Saskatoon (Saskatchewan, Western Canada), to where I do not bring my family. Instead, they return already to Paris, where, after the period in Togo, we had bought an apartment. Saskatoon offers me the opportunity to get to know Western Canada, where I track around the Lakes of the North such as Great Bear Lake and Great Slave Lake, as well as Yellow-Knife and some other northern locations. Fishing is a lot of fun. Large pike and salmon trout are so numerous that it is easy to get one at the hook of the fishing line. Swimming at a few degrees above zero does not go without a large effort of self-control but is at the same time quite pleasant. A trip to Vancouver and beyond gets me to know a largely Chinese city and almost tropical vegetation in the relatively warm microclimate of the Frazer Valley, where temperatures never fall below zero degrees Celsius. In December 1983, I join my family in Paris, where I am quickly getting about looking for a new job, which is not so easy this time. After a few months of temporary work and unemployment I find a job at the Agency for nuclear energy (NEA) of the OECD, where I am responsible for the area of uranium supply and demand and the description of the economics of recycling of plutonium in pressurized water reactors. I get a contract for three years and an extension of two years at the end of the first three years. During these years, I am often in Vienna, where I work with a colleague in a project where the two international agencies for nuclear energy, the one in Paris (NEA) and the other in Vienna (International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA), are involved. At this time, I also meet Mohamed El Baradei, the future Secretary General of the IAEA in Vienna. This is the same man who in 2011/12/13 represents the Egyptian opposition at first against Hosni Mubarak and later against
Mohamed Morsi. The return to Paris gives me the opportunity to reintegrate into Europe and also to live a more conscious experience of the political and economic situation in the European Community. These five years allow us to lead a somewhat quieter life in Paris. We shall now also see more of the countryside in France. We travel around in Burgundy, PĂŠrigor, Dordogne, Alsace, the Massif Central, Provence, CĂ´te d'Azur, Brittany, Normandy, and in many other regions. France is a magnificent country, extremely diverse and really beautiful. Paris is an architecturally harmonious and balanced city, and at the same time restless but fascinating. We never get bored. The traffic is a bit chaotic and exceeds the capacity of the available infrastructure. But culturally the city is envied everywhere in the world. Each museum is a gem, and there is abundance of theatres and concert halls. I am happy to live here with my family and to have found a second home.
Finally, there we are: in 1985 the EC States unite into a Federal Union: the United States of Europe or USE is born and thus the hereand-there still persistent cacophony of the community of nations has come to an end. The Union is given a democratic Constitution that deserves its name (not just a treaty, as was always the case in the past). It is formulated similarly to the Constitution of the US, i.e. in a short and concise way so that it is understood by all citizens of the Union. The contents of existing constitutions of federations, such as for Switzerland, the Federal Republic of Germany and the United States of America, are the models. It should be noted, however, that the Federal Republic of Germany insists on preserving the right, to include the LĂ¤nder of the GDR in the federation, should the opportunity arise. The European president is directly elected by the citizens. In this direct election, Jacques Delors becomes President of the Union for five years. After five years of Presidency, he may stand as a candidate only once more. The maximum duration of the mandate of 66
a president is therefore limited to ten years. Then, another candidate is elected. The Commission is abolished and replaced by the Government of the USE. Parliament retains its function, but is invested with more powers. To renew the Parliament and the Government, elections are also held every five years. The European passport, the Europass, without mention of the old 'nationality', becomes standard. General citizenship is now that of the USE. The creation of this federation with its associated elections only every five years at the level of the Union put a definitive end to the uncertainties associated with the national elections, which sometimes substantially slow the progress to a new more dynamic political entity. The population is happy to no longer have to endure moments of paralysis of the institutions due to policy changes in one or another of the States. Moreover, at the beginning of 1986, the civil society is strengthened through the introduction, within the USE, of participatory democracy. The civil society is not part of the political power, but is consulted on important issues that significantly affect life in the Union (for example relations between different religious communities and the State) or relations with other countries or economic and military blocs. Questions such as social policy, health, the economy, domestic-, foreign-, defence-policies etc., will be addressed with more citizen involvement, which brings the Union ever closer to its people. The places, where participatory democracy can be exercised, do already exist: the town halls of large and small cities and villages.9 In addition to the creation of a Ministry of the Interior, Foreign Relations, Economy, Social Affairs, and Health, it is also vital to create a Ministry of Finance at the federal level, since the United States of Europe does now have its own tax revenues and a proper 9
An article to be recommended on 'Participative Democracy' is located on the Web page ÂŤEuropean Association of TeachersÂť at the address http://www.aede.eu/uk/53_participative_dem.html
budget. Here we have for the first time an effective instrument to use 'national' incomes and expenditures of Member States for purposes that make sense at the federal level and thus for the whole Union and to ensure that this continues. An important extension of the USE is imminent: in 1986 Spain and Portugal join the Union. They are already candidates for several years and have stabilized their currencies within a predetermined narrow range of exchange rates. It is now easy for them to adopt the Euro. Economically, they have made good progress since they have announced their candidacy. In anticipation of the imminent accession of these countries, a few large companies have already invested early on in Portugal and Spain to take advantage of local conditions (these countries may yet maintain their cost advantage, and the advantage of their balanced economic, financial and social policy long enough to further catch up with the existing members.) At the football World Cup in 1986 in Mexico, the "additional" European football team keeps up well and wins the third place on the winner's podium. Even though not all football fans are excited about this, it is still a great success for the European Union. Since the USE has taken concrete form, they seek acceptance as a permanent member in the UN Security Council. Fortunately in 1987, France, as a convinced member of the USE, is ready to leave its place to the European Union. In a sense, it is the culmination of efforts by the European Union to regain a leading role on the international stage and to express it with dignity. In the Soviet Union, Michael Gorbachev is first Secretary since 1985. The exemplary evolution in Europe makes it easier for him to reform the Soviet system. He manages to loosen the reins of domestic policy and at the same time to introduce skilled reforms to encourage individual Soviet republics to remain in the Union, with the exception of the Baltic Republics, which have long aspired to independence. The republics of the Caucasus such as Georgia, 68
Azerbaijan and Armenia, as well as the republics of the Northern Caucasus such as Dagestan, Ingushetia and Chechnya, where riots break out all too often, are also candidates for independence. However, one or the other of the Asian republics must also be seen as uncertain candidates. The Soviet Union is renamed 'Eurasian Federation'. The Central European satellite-States such as Poland and the GDR, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria are released from the Soviet embrace and can now determine their own fate. There are barely any dramatic incidents or conflicts. All this is happening quite peacefully. But the leaders of the GDR quickly lose their credibility among the population, which now demands with ever more insistence the opening of borders to the West. Yielding to the pressure of Gorbachev, the borders are finally opened and the Government is revamped. The new Government immediately enters into negotiations with the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany to prepare re-unification. In parallel to these negotiations, the German federal Government consults with the Government of the USE and obtains assurance of support for re-unification under optimal conditions. Thus, in 1988, earlier than expected, the German Democratic Republic joins simultaneously the United States of Europe and the Federal Republic of Germany. The same year, the Olympic Games are held in Seoul. This time, the USE sends its Olympic teams to the Games. Fortunately, they had enough time to prepare for this challenge. They win medals in almost all Olympic disciplines and on the whole, the USE comes out on fourth rank. A very good performance! This result is perceived as a great success for “Europe”. For the first time, “Europe” presents itself as a single entity even in the field of sports. The sense of cohesion within the USE continues to grow and, on this occasion, gives way to real enthusiasm! We experience the economic and political consequences of the German reunification from a distance in London, where we live
since 1989. It is in this exciting city that, luckily, I find employment with an association from the private sector in the field of civil nuclear energy and where we stay until the end of 1992. We live in the District of South Kensington, the 'French' sector of London, close to Albert Hall and the Natural History Museum. Given that the integration of the Member States of the USE is already well advanced, the German reunification does not pose any threat to other European countries - including the United Kingdom - and it proceeds therefore smoothly without any problem for any country. In particular the US Government, still under Ronald Reagan and soon Georges H.W. Bush, gives its unconditional support for this turning-point in history. As we are not necessarily living a quiet life in this city, the three years in London go by very quickly. I travel a lot within Europe, but also to Asia and North America. Wherever I travel in Asia: China, Japan, Viet Nam, India, Taiwan, Thailand, I see how Government officials and ordinary citizens admire the European model. Everywhere I perceive the sympathy that people feel towards the European Union. So far, the ASEAN countries have failed to build a model that might work in a similar way. Cultures and interests are perhaps too different for forging a Union that goes beyond what economic interests dictate. Annie works for an exclusive fashion boutique owned by a French Lady in Knightsbridge, near the Harrods department store in London. Our children attend school at the «Lycée Charles de Gaulle», a French high-school. What surprises us most in London is the huge gap between rich and poor, the important role of the Anglican Church in the area of real estate, as well as the role of the old and new nobility. The constitutional monarchy has helped preserve much of old structures. Apart from that, London is of course an extremely interesting and dynamic metropolis. Especially our youngest daughter falls in love with London and she will spend an Erasmus year there (6 months) after our return to Paris. In comparison with Paris, London is much more heterogeneous: over the centuries the city has built the new next to the old and this has not always happened in a congruous way. As in most
of the great capitals, income disparities are also visible in the architecture of the various districts. In the East-End lives a population that has quite obviously not been spoiled by destiny. At the same time, modern projects, such as the Docklands, provide a welcome change. What strikes, is how the British Empire is still alive today in many places of the city. Regarding this aspect, London has something in common with Vienna, the other great capital of another great European empire, which, by the way, has been among my possible choices before going to London.
The United Kingdom lives a national life outside of the United States of Europe and draws obviously, at least for the time being, no major inconveniences from this political decision. The country has an association agreement with the USE, which functions as an assurance against economic drawbacks. The city of London is still a strong financial centre, even though it had to cede a lot of influence to European stock exchanges. The country has still no mechanisms and institutions to curb the zeal of its financial institutions and to protect them from themselves. The de-industrialisation of the country makes further progress and the dependence on the financial sector as an economic factor grows every year. To the extent that the oil and natural gas reserves diminish, unemployment grows over the years, increasing almost unnoticeably but steadily. Great-Britain is approaching an uncertain future. After obtaining the baccalaureat/Abitur (A-level certificate) in London, our son wishes to pursue his studies in Paris and returns to France. Two years later he needs us and if we do not want him to go off the rails, we must return to Paris as well. Once back in Paris, I succeed to meet our needs (no unemployment compensation is granted, because I have left my job in London on a "voluntaryâ€? basis) by performing a few geological missions to Africa for one of the European agencies until in early 1993, I find a job with another industry association in Paris. This time, it is in the field of industrial research and development (R & D), where I am hired as "Deputy Secretary General". Curiously enough, after having searched for a job for
six months, I have now the choice between this position and another one for the nuclear industry. However, most countries in Europe are now turning their back on nuclear power. In 1986, a reactor of the RMBK-1000 series at Chernobyl in Ukraine explodes and causes serious radioactive contamination in a large area and, as a consequence, many deaths. For me, this event has removed the desire to continue working in this industry once a different choice is available. I therefore decide to accept the position of DSG. This European association matches my expectations by encouraging cooperation between European companies. It organizes several round tables per month as well as working groups and conferences for representatives of different sectors of the industry. Here I can play out my European preference. Soon, we have good relations with companies in Poland, Hungary, Slovenia and the Czech Republic, and progressively a certain number of them become members of our association. My family is happy to be back in Paris, and our son lives an 'orderly life' once again and continues his studies at university.
The reunification of the two Germanys brings the theme of consistency of pensions and taxation schemes to the fore, which forces the Government of the European Union and the Parliament to urgently and extensively deal with these topics. Finally, it is agreed to prepare a Bill to address these issues and propose it to parliament before 1993. These laws must then be implemented and adopted prior to 1995 and then gradually put into practice during 1997 and 1998. After the admission of Spain and Portugal, the question is who else may still be admitted to the USE. In 1989, a definition of the ultimate potential external borders of the USE is approved. In this context, the definition of Europe is not geographical but based on the political, economic, cultural and military reality. It is agreed that the countries of Northern Europe and of Central and South-Eastern Europe, including Yugoslavia (or the new States emerging from the disintegration of Yugoslavia) and Albania should have the possibility to join the Union. In addition, admission would also be possible for 72
Turkey if it so wishes, provided that the conditions of political and economic stability, as well as of democratic principles are fulfilled. Turkey has the ambition to adopt a Western economic and political model and has made great progress in particular on the economic front but also at the political level and in the field of democracy. The friendly relations between Turkey and the European Union have led to the peaceful resolution of the Cyprus problem. Cyprus is now reunified under a neutral Government. The western republics of the Eurasian Federation (former USSR), Ukraine and Belarus, remain out of their free will within the Eurasian Federation. The next few years are marked by efforts to bring the new L채nder (of the former GDR) up to a similar standard of living of the old L채nder (of the FRG before reunification), which puts the financial possibilities to the test, but produces the expected results within a few years. At the same time there is an intensive discussion in the United States of Europe about how its political structure should look like in the future. It is agreed that temporarily (up to 2010) the USE should remain a three-tiered structure where the level of the States is subordinate to the Federal level and the level of the regions being in turn subordinate to the States level. Many fields of competence, such as defence, central taxation (according to a fixed percentage of total revenue), a large part of the legislation, a part still to be determined of research spending and a few other competences are transferred from the States to the Federal level. States retain: almost unlimited powers at the level of Justice (apart from the powers of the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg); partially limited competences at the level of tax revenues and the education system; and very limited competences at the level of legislation, promotion of R&D and science, industry, agriculture, infrastructure and the like. Thus, the States retain quite a few competences, or at least parts thereof. However, they must at the same time involve the regions in European and national decisions, as well as in the implementation of decisions and laws in order to achieve a negotiated consensus with them. In specific cases, which must be defined with precision, regions may be voted down by national Governments. The States 73
represent the intermediate level between the federal Government and the regions, which in turn are rapidly gaining political and economic influence. The regions have their own income tax and policy of education (both in the predetermined EU framework), project and research funding, cultural policy and urban planning, etc. Austria, Finland, Sweden, Norway and Turkey join the USE in 1995. In addition to the first three countries (Austria, Finland, Sweden) fulfilling the conditions of accession for some time already, there is also Turkey, a candidate since many years. Its first application dates back to 1959. Four years later, Turkey is granted an association agreement. In 1990 - it is politically stable and fast developing economically â€“ the country becomes an official candidate and finally joins the USE in 1995, together with the other three countries. Surprisingly, a few years ago, also Norway had asked for membership to the USE. It can no longer escape the attraction of this exemplary Union, even if it could continue to muddle through as an independent State for a few more decades, thanks to its natural gas and oil deposits. As the five new members have been aware of the timetable for the next steps on the road to unification of the taxation and pension systems long before their accession to the Union, and because they have approved these measures at the time when they were decided, no political difficulties are now encountered for their implementation. In 1996, the United States of Europe decides to build a space station on the moon. The first module should be operational by 2002. There is a huge scientific, technological and logistical challenge to master if we want to prove to the world that Europe isnâ€™t yet just good for the scrap heap. As the European defence expenditure is relatively low, this financial effort is regarded as acceptable and bearable. At the same time research and development is done for a stationary European Space Station (ESS), which would be linked to earth by a 'rope '. Synthetic fibres that do already exist today give hope that one day we may succeed in engineering one that can withstand the huge tensile stresses involved to keep a space 74
station attached to earth. These fibres must be sufficiently resistant to traction that they can withstand the tension produced by their own weight along the distance between the ESS and the Earth's surface plus the centrifugal forces exerted by the ESS itself. With the already existing fibre "Dynema" we are no longer that far from this utopian dream than even a few years ago. Maybe we can accomplish this one day with nanotechnology and carbon nanotubes - but this will be possible only if carbon nanotubes can be grown in sufficient length to weave them, which is evidently not the case at all today. Letâ€™s come back to the more prosaic issue of national versus European pension systems. As mentioned above, from 1997 onwards, these systems are largely being standardised and centralised on the European level, while preparations for this move are already underway since 1983. As a result, future retirees who wish to obtain their retirement emoluments at the place of their current residence and who, during their working life, have worked in various States of the USE are now merely required to fill in a very simplified form. As also mentioned already, this is possible thanks to a central electronic database. Today, we live in a world where the gap between rich and poor is getting wider and wider. On the one hand, we have an increasing number of very rich individuals and on the other hand a rapidly increasing number of poor and very poor people. As a result, the middle-class population is quietly shrinking. The Financial Times regularly writes articles on this subject, in particular on the situation in the USA. Of course the very well-heeled individuals of the superrich class and their families will invest a portion of their capital in goods and consumer durables. As these goods are preferably luxury products, the effect of redistribution of wealth is weak, and the result is again the concentration of capital in very few hands, like for example Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Ferrari or large renowned real estate agencies, etc. The rest of this untold wealth will be invested in financial markets or other unproductive targets. 75
To remedy this unsatisfactory situation, the tax system is finally radically redesigned as soon as 1998 and at the same time rendered as simple and understandable as possible. At whatever level, workers can now expect simple rules when they start a job outside their own USE State, and their mobility has improved considerably as a result. In turn, this has a very positive impact on the USE economy. The tax system is progressive with 10 successive levels of taxation up to EUR 2 million income for a household, where the rate of 70% to 80% is applied (anything above 2 million Euro is taxed at 70 to 80 percent - the exact ceiling of income and tax rates for each successive level needs to be thoroughly thought through as economic considerations have to be taken into account and the agreed thresholds need to follow inflation levels). The result is that the income curve flattens (very high incomes become more seldom and do not attain the astronomic sums as before since it is not worthwhile to earn so much money. On the other hand, low incomes are barely taxed and average incomes only moderately). The entire population can thus better participate in the economic life of the Union and the foolish income disparities that have become the standard for example in the United States of America are becoming more and more the exception in Europe. It turns out that for only very few "mega-rich" individuals this situation is a reason for leaving the USE altogether. The demand for megalomaniacal Top-managers larger than life (Alpha males) in the world is limited. The same applies to the "big" bankers and fund managers. They have a way to push the banks to the brink of the abyss as more normal bankers, who take fewer risks, could never do it. More normality should also be introduced in other sectors of the economy. Do we need the 'superstars '? Maybe we can oppose something more human to the saying 'money rules the worldâ€™? Finally, in 1999, a Central European Stock Exchange with headquarters in Paris is created. Ethical rules, which will considerably complicate speculation and encourage investment in the long term, especially in young companies with strong economic or societal potential, will be imposed. The system of support for Start76
ups is amended in the sense that young entrepreneurs are encouraged to accompany their companies in their growth and to not keep their eyes riveted on the next opportunity to sell as quickly and as costeffectively as possible. The Stock Exchange must again become the financial institution which it was long ago: a place where companies can seek reliable and long-term investors. These investors exchange their money for shares so that entrepreneurs can work and expand their radius of action; renew their machines; do research and development for innovation; introduce new working methods, etc. The Exchange might also remain a place where creators of businesses can obtain the capital necessary for the creation of their new businesses. However, it would perhaps be better those banks, which have more experience in the assessment of the risks involved in the investment of company creation, provide this capital. The money borrowed from banks is subsequently easier to repay than share capital, which might have increased ten times, a hundred times, even thousand times from the original share value. Under the latter circumstances, where money comes from the stock market, the entrepreneur has often no other choice but to sell when his company starts to be profitable. Meanwhile, several Central European countries are already queuing for some time to become members of the USE and in the year 2000 it is time for Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovenia to join the United States of Europe. All of these countries are former satellite States of the Soviet Union or parts thereof (e.g. Slovenia, formerly an integral part of Yugoslavia) having become independent. But they all made economic and democratic progress since being freed from the Soviet tutelage. Their entry into the USE does not give rise to any specific difficulty. In particular the Czech president Vaclav Havel facilitates the integration of his country with great sensitivity - after all, he is the philosopher President, as his fellow countrymen call him. The European industry association for research and development, for which I continue to work, creates a climate of
trust between its members and thus gives them the feeling of belonging to a European family. I'm glad to exercise a job that is regarded as useful, productive, and serving the European cause by all. Eastern European companies will soon join this association.
In October 2001 a new war begins: in Afghanistan the USA and its allies fight the Taliban. The latter are quickly forced to retreat to Pakistan. Immediately after the defeat of the Taliban and on the resolute advice of the USE, enormous sums are invested in the agricultural sector, in some sectors of industry that have a link to Afghan traditions and in infrastructure and housing programmes, as well as in the creation of an efficient Afghan army, all of which results in the rapid generation of a huge number of jobs. The United States of Europe contributes its share to these initiatives. The Afghan population is quickly won over by this development. Since the days of Soviet domination, there is fortunately a well educated population in Kabul and in particular women are happy to regain their freedom. For rural populations, there is a programme for establishing schools and hospitals wherever there is a need for them. No condition for this assistance is asked in return. After three years, the country is economically, militarily and mentally strong enough and at the same time resilient against the ideological and religious propaganda of the Taliban, that the foreign troops can be gradually removed. In Europe, the moment has now come to give more political weight to the regions of the USE. In 2001, a constitutional amendment is introduced, which aims at transferring more powers to the regions so they can make their voice better heard. This concerns in particular the policy of education, culture, and industry location. With respect to these domains, regions can form coalitions with regions in the same State or in other States of the Union and directly address proposals to the federal Government. Decisions may be taken by a simple majority, where the regions are weighted according to the population. Responsibility for financial compensation between rich 78
and poor regions is assumed directly by the regions. To do this, an institution is created, that carries out this financial compensation according to objective criteria and in which all regions are represented with an expert each. The former political capitals of countries retain a special cultural role (cultural capitals). In their sphere of influence, an important part of the cultural life of the geographical and linguistic area that they represent takes place, continuing to enrich the "national" languages. In addition, the arts that are not related to spoken or written language find also fertile ground in these large cities, thanks to the existence of the appropriate amenities, just as before their change of status. In addition, these cities will defend their traditional economic supremacy in the majority of cases (economic capitals). But the regions become not only politically, but also economically stronger and their cities, large and small, have their share in this development. Surprisingly, after some time, this evolution has as a consequence that some regions will form a coalition to create extended enclaves within these regions, where people, who want to find new ways of life, far from the industrial and financial world, can settle. If those individuals do not have the means for a new start in life because they are unemployed for already several years, they will get some material help for a new beginning in these enclaves. If this model works, unemployment could become a disappearing phenomenon. In these geographical areas, there will be, at least for a while, no cars and no industry. Everything would be done by hand or by using horses or other animals. That this can work is still proven today by the Mennonites (Amish people) in North America. In this way a fantastic outlet for the long-term unemployed would be generated. If the economy recovers, then those who wish can return to 'Civilisation '. In two or three regions, particularly in the region of Auvergne in France and in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania in Germany, this model becomes a reality, and it works. They receive even the influx of people coming from professions, where there is no unemployment problem. At the same time, it must be ensured that the system does not become mandatory for the unemployed, as a return to the world 79
of employment is generally still possible at least for the first and may be for the second year of unemployment. On the other hand, given that this device works, the supply of labour is reduced to such an extent that the pressure on wages in the â€œrealâ€? economy is easing and employees and workers can again expect better wages and salaries. This aspect works all the better as many other citizens feel attracted by the societal model in these regions. A parallel society can thus form in these areas and new ways of living together can be found. New ways of mutual fertilization between modern society and this wholly different and much calmer and more balanced parallel society will open up. A further very positive effect of the return to the regions is that even the judiciary is decentralized, which can significantly improve the penitentiary system. We all know that the prisons are overcrowded and major criminals, because of lack of place and staff, are often mixed with minor sinners. Some of the latter are in fact receiving training there to become real criminals. When they finally leave prison, they will actually start to commit crimes, which is not really the intended result. With the decentralization of the judiciary and the prison system, i.e. the execution of the sentence, we can perhaps return to a more human dimension and better adapt the degree of punishment and the prison system to the degree and category of the offence and the offender. In particular, the execution of the penalty for crimes of lesser importance can include repair and reconciliation with the victims, so that both parties can have an opportunity to find inner peace. Local legislation is more human compared to the institutionalised justice of the State and offers a much better chance for offenders to reintegrate in the (local) community. In other words, the rehabilitation can be more successful. I also believe that adding more local aspects brings about more humanity in community life. For example, we won't let old people die lonely in nursing homes or in the death corridors of hospitals and 80
under miserable conditions. Perhaps we can also ultimately distance ourselves from the extreme competition of all against all and which makes us sick? At the regional and local level there is less need for this kind of competition. As expected, the first module of the European lunar station opens in June 2002. This is a great day for Europe, which has now demonstrated to the world that it can not only participate in the concert of the space powers, but that it is also able to play a leading role. In March 2003, the third Gulf war in Iraq begins. The United States of America and Great-Britain quickly overcome Iraqi forces and then try to stabilize the situation. The USE successfully convinces the USA and Britain that this can only succeed using a fast and effective program of massive job creation for the population. Once again, the USE is contributing to this effort in terms of financial and material assistance and through the supply of expertise. In a few months, the population is convinced that "the occupation" by foreign troops won't last long and that the country will be better off than before. Skilled negotiations with the representatives of different religious trends and groups such as the Kurds, quickly lead to a transitional Government that will be democratically confirmed after two years. Taking into account the evolution away from global conflicts and towards the â€œmanagementâ€? of local conflicts, operations of European Armed Forces in the world no longer need the support of an army of conscripts. It was therefore decided in 2003 to create a professional European Army and to abolish conscription in the USE. In the following years, the Baltic States, Malta and Cyprus with the two separated regions again united (2004), Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Kosovo (2006) and Bulgaria, Romania and Albania (2008) join the United States of Europe. As the rules are clear, these accessions happen without major problems, even if much 81
remains to be done to raise the new members to an economic level comparable to the existing EU States. The European Union as a Federation, i.e. the USE, is now complete, with the exception of Switzerland, which also questions its status and examines if it can be maintained over time. Andorra and Monaco do not quite know how they should behave. Liechtenstein will probably join the path that Switzerland will finally take. But here we do no longer deal with very important issues for Europe. After the completion of the European Federation in 2009, I just turn 65 and am going to retire. The adjustment of the pension schemes to the new realities of the United States of Europe is a blessing for me. I fill out a form, submit it three months before retirement in Paris and get my pension payments on time three months later. Only for my three years in London, I have to fill out an additional form, because this country is not a member of the UES; but the British are very pragmatic and un-bureaucratic. Even in this case I get my retirement emoluments just in time. The following year, I start work as a volunteer for a youth organization in Paris. This organisation has also a European mission. It has branches in almost all regions of France, while being itself a branch of a European organisation, which in turn is a branch of a worldwide organisation. It promotes entrepreneurship while teaching and practicing it at school with the active participation of young students. In addition, it promotes the scientific and engineering professions highlighting their potential. My enthusiasm for Europe finds once again a practical application.
It should be mention here in passing that between 2007 and 2008 a banking crisis occurs in the USA and the United Kingdom, triggered by the granting of real estate loans without effective control and then packaging them into derivatives. In Europe, we do not really feel concerned by this American and British financial crisis, except for a slight decline in exports to the United States of America, which is partially offset by exports to Asia. The regulation of banking 82
activities in Europe saves the 'normal' European banks from participation in the race for repackaged (derivates) shaky bank loans for the acquisition of real estate by often poorly endowed individuals. At the same time, the purchase of derivatives in general by other financial institutions (investment banks, etc.) has decreased in Europe to the extent, that no harm is done. Prudent fiscal management also saves the Member States of the USE from a drastic increase of public debt. Europe as a Federation must now deal with some sensitive issues: If today there is finally a European identity besides or maybe even on top of a national or regional identity, how then should we handle the moral obligations arising from various historical events for countries like Germany, France and some others? I refer for example to the Second World War and the atrocities that the Jewish population of Europe has suffered. The result is a moral obligation for Germany towards the Jewish people and Israel. Can the United States of Europe take this obligation onto its own account and does it want to do so? Is this even desirable? From the point of view of sense of unity, I would answer by the affirmative. In the end, World War II is part of European history. Israel would welcome this solidarity. In this case, Europeans must prepare an explanation for this assistance vis-à-vis the Arab world, which will not be easy. Politically speaking, this approach is all but easy and may be is not workable after all. But it should be worth trying. I've been myself “visiting” the extermination camp at Auschwitz as a student when, in 1966, I stayed for about ten days in Krakow (Poland). This visit to Poland was organised in the context of the Polish-German reconciliation and sponsored by the Protestant Church in Berlin. I will not here describe the impressions that I have taken away from Auschwitz, but I can assure that, coming out of there, you are no longer the same person as before. One should perhaps also ask the question whether the Holocaust can really be reduced to the relations of the Hitler Germany to Judaism. In my opinion, the issue goes much further: How can it happen that a 83
part of humanity is able to inflict such suffering on another part of humanity? Or more generally: what people like you and me can do to others when conditions permit? Are there no limits? After all, during the German Empire (under Bismarck), the Jews were regarded as ordinary citizens. They were Germans of Jewish faith as others were Germans of Catholic or Protestant faith. What had to happen so that such a thing was possible? Evidently, during the Middle-Ages, the Jews were prosecuted everywhere in Europe. Another example might be the Algerian war. If the European Federation recognizes this episode as a European episode and agrees to assume the obligations arising there-from, this would surely lead to a substantial improvement in relations between the French USE State and Algeria on the one hand and between the USE and Algeria on the other. Given that this issue is less complex and less decisive for the fate of Europe than the previous question - and there are obvious advantages to a European solution - the USE should take this problem in hand and make a step and a gesture towards Algeria. Concerning France, yet another but quite different question arises: this country still has extra-European possessions, which are considered overseas departments and overseas territories. Are they now automatically departments or territories or regions of the USE? How will they be administered? In addition, there is a particularly thorny issue with France: what will become of the French nuclear â€œForce de Frappeâ€?? In a genuine federal Union, this capacity of nuclear response to a nuclear attack should be transferred to the Government of the Union. I have a lot of doubts that this will happen! So, do we need to get rid of this ability? Last but not least, there remains the issue of the slave trade. Here, several countries have participated; even Sweden. If Europe as a whole would commit to fulfilling the obligations arising from the historic slave trade, the worldâ€™s public opinion would be pleased and 84
full of praise for the USE. Coloured people on all continents would finally receive recognition and compassion for past sufferings. And what about the Roma problem?! A possible solution over an extended period, say fifteen or twenty years, might be the process of European citizenship with fixed residence, schooling for children and the opening of the labour market for these heterogeneous populations in Europe. However, it remains to be seen if they want this. There's certainly some resistance among certain population groups, which must be overcome. It will take a positive and decisive policy to convince the Roma that this is a reasonable and mutually satisfactory development. In addition, the population referred to as Roma consists of different groupings, some of which are already for quite some time sedentary and well integrated, others are referred to as the "travelling people" or the "travellers" and still others represent the Group of new arrivals mainly from Romania, who did not have the time and support to integrate. But again, Europe has solved other difficult issues and has shown repeatedly that it is able to act. Where there's a will, there is also a way. Europe will also solve this problem. It consciously takes on a diverse heritage. There are still a number of other issues of this calibre, but I would like to confine myself to a last one: the problem of integration of Islam in European society. January 1, 2011, the population of the European Union is estimated at 502.5 million (about half a billion). About 6% are Muslim (30 million people). This proportion in the total population will continue to increase and stabilize perhaps by 2050 at about 10%. We cannot but consider Islam as one religion among others in Europe. In return, European Muslims should be prepared to submit their confession to the same rules as are observed by the other confessions in Europe. I think that it would be even constructive to grant Islam the same funding that for example Germany, during the time of its existence as a country, had granted the Catholic and Protestant churches: declared believers pay Church taxes and "churches" are financed by this tax. Declared Muslims would then pay a religious tax and their mosques and imams would 85
then also be financed by the State. Thus, we have the absolute equality of all official religions in Europe and a peaceful and constructive coexistence. Unfortunately, the reality is different, and this reality is very worrying. Outside Europe, Islam is radicalising ever more, even if it did not experience this same radicalisation only a few decades ago. In past centuries, it was even considered as a model of exemplary tolerance. In the Middle East, at the time of the early medieval period in Europe, scientific knowledge of the ancient Greeks was adopted by Arab philosophers (translation of the works of Aristotle and others in Arabic) and further developed. One could almost say that the enlightenment has arrived in the Middle East before its own medieval period. The European age of enlightenment could not occur without fertilization on the part of the Arab world. Even today, Western society can still learn very positive aspects for example from the Arab banking system as it is religiously and legally ring fenced in Arab countries! The excessive profit seeking as practiced in â€œthe Western worldâ€? does simply not find fertile ground here. Unfortunately, in the sphere of influence of Islam, there has been a backlash in the name of pure religion and the considerable progress already achieved has been wiped out in a short period of time. It is difficult to imagine that a new movement of Enlightenment will develop in the near future in countries that are at the centre of Islam. The Arab spring has shown the power of the conservative forces in these regions. Even a 'revolution' was unable to topple them. That one day influence from the outside will help ignite the fire of modernity remains still uncertain. However, it is not impossible, and we hope that it will happen one day. However, there are also some rays of hope in more recent history, especially in Europe: while in many places in Europe, mosques are still built according to the traditional model, there are also examples of modern architecture. Thus a very modern mosque was built in
Penzberg in Bavaria10. This modernity is thus quite possible. In the end, it is nowhere written that a mosque must have a minaret or a dome. It must only be oriented towards Mecca. These innovative changes allow us to hope for the emergence of a modern Islamic, at least in Europe. Ultimately, the architecture of a church or a mosque is the reflection of the spirit and tolerance of the faithful. Another, very successful design is that of la Bocca, near Cannes in the South of France. The project started in 2006 and the mosque should have opened at the end of 201211. The project of Aarhus in Denmark is also a very modern design12. If Oscar Niemeyer, the Brazilian architect, who designed the city of Brasilia to a very large extent, were still alive and could still create (he died just at the end of 2012, five days before his 105th birthday and had worked up to his 100th anniversary), one could have entrusted him with the project of a modern mosque. He would have definitely created something wonderful and at the same time light and graceful - quite like the lightness and grace of some of the traditional mosques, particularly in central Asia, by which we are still charmed today. The faithful would have been proud of this work. Apart from these glimpses of hope, a great sadness seizes us when we observe how the efforts for peace in the European Union could be annihilated by the dark forces that are now everywhere at work and that exploit religion. Is it not enough that we have to overcome a severe financial crisis? In addition, this other conflict now threatens our society. Could these forces succeed in catapulting us hundreds of years back into the Middle Ages? We must appeal to the modern and reformist forces of Islam in Europe: â€œMake your voice heard beyond the borders of Europeâ€?. Only a world in peace can guarantee prosperity and spiritual and material well-being. 10
see http://www.sonntagsblattbayern.de/news/aktuell/2009_32_25_01.htm 11 see http://www.saphirnews.com/Les-musulmans-de-Cannes-s-offrentune-mosquee-design_a5633.html 12 see http://mosquedenmark.org/project/moskeogislamiskcenter_aarhus_english. pdf
Personally, I think that the naïve optimism of the Americans in their way of dealing with global or regional conflicts and the imperialism of U.S. companies are probably not entirely blameless regarding the rejection of the 'Western' influence in Arab countries; but the real reasons are certainly lying much deeper. In the eyes of Hassan al-Bannâ, the founder of the “Egyptian brotherhood, who worked between 1906 and 1949 in Egypt, the colonisation of the Arab Mediterranean by European powers was a disaster, because it destroyed faith, its depth and its absolute supremacy in public life. Hassan al-Bannâ rejected Communist materialism and atheism and Western democratic chaos. He literally criss-crossed his country as a preacher to advocate a return to pure Islam and has left his supporters behind everywhere. He also believed in a global mission of Islam. For him, faith, politics and the State were inseparable. Since then the orientation advocated by him has undergone further radicalisation, after a more moderate orientation, promoted by Jamal al-Bannâ, his brother, was nipped in the bud. One might compare the movement launched by Hassan al-Bannâ with the resistance against the German occupation in France during the Second World War - only at the religious level. With sabotage and violence alone, apparently little could be achieved at the time, although there was also substantial sabotage and armed unrest in the Arab world at that epoch. Islamic resistance was therefore more one of rejection of foreign influence. A further important difference between the French resistance and the religious Arab resistance is that, when the French resistance had achieved its goal with the end of the German occupation, it then disbanded, while the religious Arab resistance, until the election of Mohammed Mursi as Egyptian president, was still very far from the creation of at least one true theocracy in the Arab world (the Iranian theocracy is not part of the Arab world). Anyway, we will see what happens in Egypt in the months and years to come. And then, resistance is only at the 88
beginning, because a number of other Arab States must also be turned inside out. And then there is still the non-Arab world that must also be converted. We must not forget that the wounds of colonialism are partly still largely open, as shown on the example of Algeria. The war of independence has created new injustices and, so far, the two parties, Algeria and France, have not really forgiven each other. Suffered injustices are impressed deep into the memory of the peoples of both sides. A profound gesture of reconciliation by France or the USE would be welcome. Coming back to Islam: for centuries, it has been a model of tolerance! But today, this open-mindedness has disappeared in several Muslim countries and Copts and other Christians still present in the Arab world are no longer accepted in some Arab States. What happened to that tolerance? At first glance, one might think, that Israel is the focal point of the pseudo-religious aggressiveness in the Arab area. But I do not think that much would change if Israel were to disappear from the map. Israel has always been a good scapegoat for all Arab States and the victims have been the Palestinians and their politicians, who have always refused to compromise. Pseudo-religious aggressiveness would quickly find other objectives, in particular those Arab States that practice a more liberal policy. It is singularly frightening to see that rational arguments cannot accomplish anything against radical religious extremistsâ€™ attitudes and that, in some Arab States, these have a huge community of followers. The current â€œreligiousâ€? conflicts are testimony of a struggle for hegemony in the Sunni area of influence, where Qatar supports the Muslim Brotherhood and Saudi Arabia the Salafists and both are fighting together against the growing influence of the Shiite movement. The Hamas organisation in Gaza stands for Sunni influence and the Hezbollah organisation in Lebanon for Shiite 89
influence and both are fighting proxy-wars against Israel but also for the Sunni and Shiite cause. Currently extreme Sunni groups fight against the regime in Syria and Shiite groups support the Alawite regime of Syria that is religiously close to them. What will happen if the extreme Sunni win the civil war? However, there is still a glimmer of hope that moderate Islamic forces in Europe and America, more sensitive to reason, raise their voices loudly, so that they are also heard in the Arab world and that one day those voices become irresistible. Who else could stigmatize the excesses of radical Islam than Muslims living in countries with a long tradition of tolerance? On the other hand, apart from a few rare exceptions, here on Earth reason is not the strongest force to facilitate the peaceful coexistence of communities. Favourable circumstances for reason to guide humanity have always been extremely rare. But they have existed and we hope very much that they will materialize again one day before it's too late! With this pledge not to lose hope, we shall now proceed to the section "Consolidation of achievementsâ€?.
Fourth phase: Consolidation of achievements Preface: What has been achieved so far is considerable. It must now be consolidated. These efforts of consolidation must start early on in young peopleâ€™s life, i.e. at school: our history can no longer be conceived as an essentially national history within a European space. It must be seen as a European history with national chapters. This is how it should be taught to students. Furthermore, as Europe needs safe and affordable sources of energy if what has been achieved should not be lost again; efforts to develop and secure such sources of energy must be undertaken. Otherwise, there will be new economic crises and a large part of the achievements will again be questioned. We therefore need a common and constructive energy policy that takes into account that fossil energy sources are declining or at least more difficult to find and to extract and will therefore be more and more expensive. The extraction of shale oil and gas is not unproblematic and plagued by significant environmental problems. For Europe, there is enormous potential for innovation in renewable energy and it should take on this challenge and play a leading role in the world. Other fields of activity for consolidation of the achievements are the various cultural areas and the field of social innovation. ---------------------If we want the achieved to be long-lasting, we must ensure that the next generation grows up in a world that is accepted by a large majority of adults and that the path towards a Union is presented from a European perspective. If the adult generation does not identify with Europe, how can we hope that the younger generation will? The best way to show young people that we are convinced Europeans, is teaching history not from a national perspective, but from a European one. It is, of course, impossible not to mention the national contributions and deeds and events that have shaped European history. But we must avoid giving too much importance to national aspects, because the purely national interpretation of history 91
can and has lead to conflicts. For example, from a purely French national point of view, Napoleon is a great statesman and military commander, and even a hero. This opinion is not necessarily shared by the countries that he traversed with his army. Even the attribution of responsibility for starting World War One will probably need a more neutral analysis. Thus, there are many examples where a more objective judgment will be required. Our children should not be influenced by the old ways of thinking, which are often negative, but by humanistic, conciliatory and even creative thoughts. At the same time, we should give young people the opportunity to acquire a just and morally impeccable judgment. This acute sense of morality should give the extreme rightwing parties something to chew and prevent them to play an important role in Europe. There are many examples of European historical perspectives, particularly in the cultural area. The Gothic architecture is a good example of European culture. Since the 12th century, coming out of France, it has left traces almost everywhere in Europe, until the neoGothic style of the 19th century, except in regions dominated by Orthodox Christianity in Eastern and south-eastern Europe. The Renaissance, starting in the 15th century in Italy, has also spread throughout Europe. Later, in the 18th century, the era of enlightenment has sooner or later influenced almost all of Europe. Classical music, including opera, in the 18th and 19th century (and before and after) is another example. On this basis, we may very well teach European history at school. There are obviously many other examples. I do not mention Christianity here, because, as a result of the diversity of religions that are today present in Europe and the steady decline of the faithful of the Christian churches, Christianity can no longer be considered the determining engine for the cultural unity of Europe, although its precepts are still crucial elements in education and in the foundation of ethics in general. In all these phenomena, some cultural spaces, which do not necessarily coincide with national borders, have played an important role. Thus we cannot imagine Gothic architecture without France, 92
the Renaissance without Italy, and the century of enlightenment without France, England and the German cultural space within and beyond its changing borders. To gain a better understanding of this aspect, it would be beneficial that at school more attention is given to foreign languages. The mastery of languages of European neighbours is a powerful tool for significantly improving the understanding of other cultures. Already in the Middle-Ages, travellers spoke several languages, and this fact has greatly facilitated travelling. Especially the aristocracy was often multilingual. While being enthusiastic about European history, we should not forget to also teach non-European history. China, India, Japan, Egypt, Iran, even sub-Saharan Africa and pre-Columbian America offer important history. Another area of activity for the consolidation of achievements is energy policy. If Europe manages to play a leading role in this area and to strengthen this role, we will also succeed in the future to remain an attractive model for the world, worthy of being followed. The major oil companies are still optimistic that there will be enough conventional oil and natural gas over the next 30 years and beyond to power our industrial and consumer societies. Certainly, there will still be petroleum around in 100 years from now and geolosts will continue to look for more and perhaps even find some. However, for some time already, fewer new economically recoverable oil resources are found than existing ones are consumed. The new oil fields that are discovered today are often relatively small, offshore, expensive, and difficult to access and exploit, although some new onshore oilfields are discovered as well and they are not exceptional. Unfortunately, they are often located in landlocked countries without access to coastal oil terminal and hence without the possibility to bring the oil to the market. This is particularly the case in Africa. Le really large discoveries are becoming the exception. In addition, the increasing instability in countries of the Middle and Near East contributes to the upwards pressure on oil prices. If oil becomes too expensive for running industry and traffic, new energy sources will have to be found or developed. Evidently, natural gas can replace oil 93
for quite some time. The new deposits of oil and gas from shale in the US (they are also available in Europe) are huge but difficult to exploit and the extraction technology, which requires in situ hydraulic fracturing (fracking) of bedrock and the simultaneous injection of water, sand and chemicals, is not exactly environmentally friendly. Nevertheless, in the United States of America they are exploited on a large scale and relatively cheap shale gas is used for example for the production of electricity. The extraction is not easy, but saving the nation the exodus of US dollars to Arab countries. Although the expansion of wind power in China and America is notable, many coal-fired plants are built every month, especially in China, and the number of vehicles of all kinds also increases rapidly, in particular in China and India. Therefore CO2 emissions continue to increase every year. At the same time, global warming continues and apparently even accelerates, if one believes the scientists in the field of climate change, even if warming seems to have come to a temporary halt for the last ten years (which does not prevent the polar ice cap to melt to a larger extent each year). Europe has the scientific and technological capacity to research and then develop alternative energy so they can economically compete with fossil fuels, even if one considers that renewable energies must be stored if we do not want to remain dependent on the natural fluctuations in the availability of these energies (sun â€“ no sun, wind no wind). Until very recently, we could not imagine another way of economical storage of electricity than by pumping stations (during periods of the day with oversupply of electricity, i.e. at night, water is pumped into one or several basins on high ground and in periods of shortage of electricity, i.e. at peak demand, water is drained from these basins to the lower level through large pipes to power turbines, which, in turn, drive generators to produce electricity. The energy efficiency for this type of energy storage is about 70% (about 30% of energy is lost in this process), which is regarded as acceptable, especially as electricity prices at peak demand attain three times and more of the prices at normal demand. In the meantime, other technological solutions at least for local and mobile storage needs are 94
becoming available and little by little the possibility of chemical, mechanical or even capacitive (by capacitors) storage becomes reality13. Even the use of fuel cells has proved a possible alternative. Research and development in these areas must be fostered if we want the solutions to be available in a timely manner. In 2010, the share of renewable energies in gross consumption of electricity in the United States of Europe is on average about 20 percent, including hydropower, wind energy, solar energy and biomass. In the mountainous regions of the USE, such as Austria, obviously hydropower dominates (~ 55%), while wind energy stands in first place in Denmark (~ 28%). Next to hydroelectric energy, where there is now very little unused capacity left, wind energy takes second place (> 4%) and has probably the largest remaining potential, while photovoltaic represents only 0.7%. The aim should be to achieve, by 2050, about half of the production of electricity from renewable or CO2 neutral energy sources and if technological progress permits, to achieve even more. This should not just be a declaration of intent, but this goal should indeed be truly targeted and achieved! If we succeeded in this, Europe can claim the role of pioneer and leader not only in the respective fields of technology, but also in policy areas, such as the protection of the environment and the fight against climate change. At the same time, renewable energy must not become a fetish. Wind farms need lots of space and many residents observe the development towards wind energy quite critically. Solar energy needs even more space, at least at our latitudes. We should therefore not entirely forget nuclear energy. In recent years, progress in the 13
LE STOCKAGE DE L'Ă‰NERGIE Ă‰LECTRIQUE MOYENS ET APPLICATIONS
http://hal.inria.fr/docs/00/67/40/68/PDF/StockageEnergie_3EI_1996.pdf Graphene Supercapacitors Could Revolutionise Energy Storage: http://www.electronicsweekly.com/mannerisms/rd/graphenesupercapacitors-could-2013-03/
manufacture and composition of fuel rods is made. Beryllium oxide, with a very high melting point and also high thermal conductivity, could increase efficiency and render the possibility of a melt-down of the reactor core less likely and thus strengthen safety. In addition, thorium reactors are being developed that are still safer regarding the danger of reactor core meltdown and promise a much better energy efficiency. In addition, the disposal of radioactive waste is much less problematic, because substantially less waste is produced. There is then the question whether these reactors can produce electricity at lower cost. This issue is not yet resolved from the practical point of view, but theoretical calculations indicate a relatively low cost per kilowatt / hour. This prediction should soon be confirmed in practical terms if a pilot plant is allowed to be built. Technologically, Europe could play a leadership role even here if it does not wait too long to start research and development in this area. The reactor type in question is the “Liquid Fluoride Thorium reactor” (LFTR). Already at the beginning, we said that Europe must be more than a purely economic Union. Europe must also be present in the intellectual and cultural fields. Classical music of various national origins is a fine example of the conquest of the venues across Europe - and beyond - until today. Might music in Europe still be elevated to a higher level and thus unite people? Furthermore, literature could certainly also take possession of the theme of Europe and thus contribute to making people feel more at ease and at home in the new Europe. What comes to my mind here is especially modern philosophy, which deals with the social, intellectual and political realities of today’s Europe and also novels that tell stories and dramas etc. taking place in a Europe of great diversity. Why not follow the French example? Over the centuries, the French have been very successful in creating a French identity: "literature is the soul of France," wrote the columnist for le Figaro, Alain-Gérard Slama, a professor for political sciences, in his new book, "The writers that made the Republic”. Why should this not succeed once again in and for Europe? Why not accompany the creation of the 96
European edifice with some poetry? On the other hand, I do not suggest that there should be a European chauvinism and / or nationalism. But we can still be proud of belonging to a Federation that came into being by means of democratic processes and that does not only produce commercial goods, but that is also largely present on a cultural level – in many areas. A still largely overlooked area is cinema. Evidently, we have a “European Cinema” today, but the films, even if sponsored by various organisations across Europe, are largely playing out national themes. Screenplays for films may well gravitate around Europe. I believe there are destinies that can lend themselves to making “European” movies! Among other things, the USE must also ensure that European universities come top in world ranking (for example in the Shanghai ranking). This will require that we do more and better research in universities, although some improvement has already occurred. If we also succeed in this, we will have made an important step towards the consolidation of achievements. Moreover, our large companies such as EADS, Siemens, AREVA, BASF, Philips, Fiat, etc., should strive to present themselves as European companies and not as national - or even multinational enterprises, which make us forget their European links. This does, of course, require a radical change of mentality because large companies are involved in globalisation and the European market is regarded as too small. But globalisation does not necessarily mean that there is no more any link to the region where you come from. Looking at Microsoft, Apple, Intel, ExxonMobil, Boeing and other U.S. companies, we still find, next to the multinational character, also the link to the American origin of these companies, whether they have their headquarters in Seattle (Washington State) or in Silicon Valley (California). Once the European universities conduct world-class research, the results can be included in industrial research and development (R & D) of large European companies and these companies can 97
continue to innovate. This innovation is then perceived as European innovation. A European Patent Office already exists in Munich. Now, it is time to introduce a USE patent, which is already in the planning stage. The first unitary patents will be issued in 2014. National egoisms have virtually disappeared. Thus, we should soon have simplified application formalities, and this will give a great boost to innovation in the USE. At the same time, examination of the degree of novelty of the invention becomes stricter, so that there is not an overabundance of detail or utility patents. Finally, in a not too distant future, the three-tiered political structure of the USE should be replaced by a structure of two levels, with a new Constitution for a "United Europe" with the regions as a second level and the elimination of the national level altogether. But this change will probably not happen before the next generation of Europeans. Fortunately, the press supports the development of a Union, away from nation States and closer to a Federation. Especially young Europeans cannot wait until the moment where the national fossils finally disappear. They are all polyglots, lived, studied and worked in different parts of the USE, and wish to no longer fall back into the old national model. The capital, Brussels, is accepted by the vast majority, even if this capital suffers a little from a lack of momentum. Having said this, some politicians argue that a capital city should be more than just a place for the administration of the UES and some cultural and architectural projects that are intended to give a more dynamic image of the capital are approved. In particular, artists with international format are invited to Brussels to organise concerts, performances, exhibitions, etc., and architects are responsible for future and at the same time sustainable projects.
Chapter 3 : The Reality What has been missed out? The following timeline is taken from http://www.erinnerungsort.at/thema1/ewg.htm and http://europa.eu/about-eu/eu-history/2000-2009/index_fr.htm and enriched with information and comments (in bold letters) by the author. ---------------------Timeline of events and institutions of the EEC/EC/EU 9 May 1950: French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman delivers the declaration about a common Europe (the 'Schuman plan'), drawn up by his colleague Jean Monet, which pursues the objective of a French-German reconciliation. The idea is, with respect to keeping peace in Europe, to withdraw from the individual nation States the direct access to the material basis of a war economy. 18 April 1951: The treaty of foundation of the ECSC Treaty (European Coal and Steel Community, with the members: France, Germany, Italy, the Benelux countries) is signed. It stipulates the Customs Union between the Member Countries of the area, under the control of a largely sovereign 'high authority'. An extension of the cooperation in all areas of industrial production follows in 1955. August 30, 1954: The project of the EDC (European Defence Community) fails (not only) because of the rejection by the French National Assembly. January 1st, 1958: Signing of the "Treaty of Rome": due to the success of the ECSC, the six Member States establish the EEC (European Economic Community) and the EURATOM Community 99
(European Atomic Energy Community). The EEC aims at the reduction of customs duties, a common foreign policy, as well as the gradual implementation of a political Union. 4 January 1960: Treaty of foundation of EFTA (European Free Trade Association) May 3, 1960:
The EFTA Treaty is implemented.
The Beatles play in Hamburg
1967: The three ECSC, EEC and EURATOM institutions are merged into the European Community. 1968: After the transitional period of ten years, tariffs between the EEC States are completely dismantled. In France, control of foreign exchange is introduced for a while, continuing well into 1969. 1970: All companies such as the Post Offices, Telecommunications and Railways are still in the hands of the Member Nations. Not the least efforts towards European companies have been undertaken. 1972: Water, gas and electricity utilities are also still in the hands of the National States, regions or municipalities or are still private. Not the least restructuring effort in the direction of European companies is on the way. 1 January 1973: Great Britain - together with Denmark and Ireland - joins the European Community. Since that date, the UK is sabotaging any further integration of the Member countries of the EC, although it took Great Britain substantial efforts and fierce negotiations since its application for membership in 1961 and 1967 to finally join. January 1, 1981: Greece joins the European Community (but cheats about its financial situation) 1985: First Schengen Convention between the countries of the Benelux, Germany and France. 100
December 1985: The SEA (Single European Act), which provides for the creation of the single market (implementation in 1992) and regulates the decision-making process within the Council of the European Union, is signed. Thus the EPC (European Political Cooperation) receives its legal basis and the European Council, which has existed since 1974 (composed of the heads of State and heads of Government), and which fixes the fundamental political objectives of the European Union, is institutionalised. January 1, 1986: Community.
Spain and Portugal join the European
June 1987: Establishment of the Erasmus programme to promote the mobility of students and teachers March 1987: Judgment of the European Court of Justice on the German requirement of purity: beer which does not correspond to the German purity law may nevertheless be sold in Germany. 1988: Regulation EEC No 1677/88 (regulations on the degree of curvature of cucumbers) 3 October 1990: Reunification of the two Germanys and thus the inclusion of the former territory of the GDR in the European Community. 7 February 1992: With the signing of the 'Maastricht Treaty' on the creation of a political and economic European Union (EU), in force as from November 1, 1993, the European treaties are fundamentally revised. Furthermore, with the establishment of EMU (Economic and Monetary Union) in 1992, the introduction of a common currency is decided as well. September 16, 1992: Black Wednesday - the pound sterling is removed from the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) after George Soros directs a strong attack against this currency. 1 January 1994: The EEA (European Economic Area), including the 12 States of the EC and all States of EFTA, with the exception of 101
Switzerland, is established. The objective is the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital, as well as the cooperation in the fields of environment, education, research, development, etc. In the 1990s: Various directives are promulgated for the sectors of public services such as the Post Offices, Telecommunications, the Railways and the Energy Utilities, requiring gradual liberalisation, i.e. privatisation. These directives stipulate just the opposite of what has been suggested in the earlier â€œDreamâ€? chapter, i.e. to merge the individual service and utility companies to create great European companies; and so the opportunities for creating strong symbols are lost. January 1, 1995: Austria, Sweden and Finland, join the EU. In Norway, the EC membership is rejected by a referendum. Unfortunately, Turkey remains on the sidelines. May 1995: French president FranĂ§ois Mitterrand does not present himself for re-election. He is seriously ill and dies in January 1996. Thus, Europe loses one of its two key defenders (the other being Chancellor Helmut Kohl). 1997: The "Schengen II agreement" on the abolition of controls at the borders between the countries of the European Economic Area (EEA) is belatedly incorporated into Community legislation. The United Kingdom and Ireland are not part of the agreement, while non-EU countries such as Switzerland and Liechtenstein do participate. September 1998: German Chancellor Helmut Kohl loses the election to the Bundestag and Europe loses its other key defender and main engine. 1999:
The Schengen agreement is implemented
1 January 1999: The introduction of the Euro as the single currency had to wait until this date. Euro banknotes and coins are introduced on January 1, 2002.
December 11, 1999: Turkey is granted the status of official candidate for accession to the European Union. February 1, 2003: the "Treaty of Nice" (a largely failed Treaty) regulates the size and functioning of the EU institutions with respect to the needs for enlarging the community. December 2003: Regulation regarding products of cocoa and chocolate (cocoa Regulation) â€“ Authorisation of other fats in chocolate alongside cocoa butter 2004: Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia, become EU Members. Bulgaria and Romania are applicant countries. May 2005: The French referendum on the European Constitutional Treaty ends in rejection June 2005: The consultative Referendum of the Parliament of the Netherlands on the same treaty ends also in rejection (these two referendums pronounce the end of the Europe that we had dreamed about). December 1, 2007: The 27 countries of the European Union sign the Treaty of Lisbon, which amends the previous treaties. It is designed to make the EU more democratic, more effective and more transparent, and also to give it the means to tackle global challenges, such as climate change, security and sustainable development. It is, however, a poor substitute for the originally planned constitutional Treaty and is imposed mainly by French President Nicolas Sarkozi. However, it will not greatly change things, though there might be some potential (see annex). 2007: Bulgaria and Romania join the EU. Croatia, Macedonia and Turkey are still applicant countries September 2008: The global economy is hit by a serious financial crisis. The triggers of the crisis are rotten loans (sub-prime) in the US. A number of European banks are also in danger. The crisis has 103
temporarily led to closer economic cooperation between the countries of the EU. December 1, 2009: The Treaty of Lisbon is finally ratified (after a lot of come and go) by all the countries of the EU and enters into force. Serbia seeks EU membership. 2010: The European and American economies are threatened by a severe crisis of public debt, which has, in part, emerged from the financial crisis. The Euro, or the very existence of the Euro zone, is threatened. The crisis continues to this day and an end is not in sight. One has the impression that the EU has lost its momentum: the belief is no longer there. December 2011: Croatia is officially informed that its EU membership will take effect as of 1 July 2013 (the European Council and the European Parliament have approved). May 2012: Wolfgang Schäuble, the current German Finance Minister, proposes the direct election of the president of the Commission. December 2012: Unitary EU patent - after 30 years of negotiations - finally. 1 July 2013: Union.
Croatia becomes member of the European
Note on the structure of the European Union: The European Union is currently composed (in addition to several advisory bodies) of the following institutions: • the Council of the EU (composed of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs or Ministers of other relevant domains of the Member States); • the Commission, which has the right of initiative and is the Executive Body for the implementation of contracts; • the Parliament of the EU, whose headquarters are in Strasbourg and whose members, since 1979, are directly elected in the Member States, exercises political control and participation rights; 104
â€˘ the judicial body of the European Union, i.e. the Court of Justice of the EU (ECJ), which was established in 1958; â€˘ the ECB (European Central Bank), which has been active since June 1, 1998, together with the national central banks of the Member States of the Monetary Union, defines economic and monetary policy As a result, everything remains very complicated! ---------------------So far the timeline - it does not at all claim to be exhaustive. In what follows, I do not want in any way belittle what has finally been accomplished. We have a period of peace and great prosperity behind us. Europe has never had this before and we should be grateful for that. Unfortunately, Europe did not progress significantly since about 15 years, apart from the adoption of the Euro, which has not been sufficiently prepared from a political point of view. Nationalisms are all back, as if there were no European Union, no Euro, and no crisis. If we want to get out of the current crisis in the European Union, we must commit ourselves with all our heart and soul and with all the available energy to Europe and together bear the heavy burden that has accumulated over time due to more than 15 years of inertia. We also encourage those citizens who are well endowed with financial capital, to help us bear this burden on their probably broader backs. Why should these citizens not also be willing to make sacrifices? Now the question: what went wrong? Why is Europe in such a mess again? Can we still hope that Europe will be realised from top to bottom or should we now try to achieve that from bottom to top? Are the citizens willing to take the initiative? If we believe the polls, this is not necessarily the case. So we need institutions of the civil society that facilitate public discussions about a Federal United Europe and where the citizens are informed about the advantages and disadvantages of such a Europe, without political ulterior motives. 105
Everything went well until 1965 (apart from the rejection of the European defence community in 1954), and we could have continued in this direction with the same momentum. There is, however, already a step backwards in May 1968 when France, for a time, introduces foreign exchange controls for the French francs and thus uncouples from the free convertibility of currencies in Europe14. Personally the French exchange control in 1968 did concern me only marginally, since I needed to import foreign currency into France and not export French francs. However, French students in other EEC countries had significantly more headaches when they were dependent on payments from France, which, later on, was the case for Annie when we moved to Munich.
Unfortunately, nobody has even thought about creating really strong symbols for a United Europe and therefore opportunities have remained unused: neither public services nor energy and water utilities nor anything else of this nature have become elements of coherence for the European Community of Destiny and Europe gradually chokes in bureaucratic rules. Then, there are these directives in the 1990s for the progressive liberalisation and privatisation of services and utilities, which have finally and definitively put an end to the prospect of using these institutions as symbols and driving forces for a United Europe. Many people in Europe do not understand this approach. In addition, there are many small measures which appear totally devoid of any sense and purely bureaucratic, such as the 1988 regulations governing the degree of curvature of commercial cucumbers, which the population not only does not understand but also perceives as ridiculously stupid. There are also dozens of other regulations of this nature for vegetables and fruits. Other laughable examples: a cocoa regulation, dating from 14
See also Spiegel article http://www.spiegel.de/spiegel/print/d45876499.html. Somewhat similar but less restrictive cases recur later on in Germany (http://www.spiegel.de/spiegel/print/d-14023902.html and http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bardepotgesetz).
2003, allows the use of fats other than cocoa butter in chocolate; and a Community judgment in 1987 on the marketing of a beer in Germany which does not meet the conditions defined by the German purity law, instating that, notwithstanding the German rule, this beer must nevertheless be allowed on the German market. The same applies to all other EC countries with such rules. The founding fathers of the European Community were already aware that a European Community or Union has no chance to survive in the long term, if the idea is not filled with life. Especially Alcide de Gasperi warned that the sole creation of common administrative bodies without a visible political will does not produce anything lasting. On the contrary, the population could one day perceive this bureaucracy as a straitjacket and as negative in comparison with more vigorous national forces. He compared this situation with the final stage of the Roman Empire.15 It should be noted at this point that there was some misunderstanding among the Germans: when there was talk of a federal Europe, it was almost a no-brainer for the citizens of the Federal Republic of Germany. Obviously, Germany has been a Federation since its inception and the L채nder (regions) are regarding the federal Government as an institution that protects them, not as one that removes rights or sovereignty. The Germans do not understand how a country like France can have a different attitude. Unfortunately, the French tradition is very different from the German and has its origins in the time of absolutism. France is a highly centralized State and the sovereignty is vested in the State. The regions are subjected to this sovereignty. In a federation, France (and other States) would lose their centralised sovereignty, or at least a considerable part of it and it is not (yet?) ready for this concession (as well as many other countries are either not yet or no longer). 15
You can listen to some excerpts from speeches of these founding fathers at http://europa.eu/about-eu/eu-history/founding-fathers/. It is worth the while!
A European football team and European Olympic teams do not exist and are not planned either. In 1972 we are still far away from a proper European passport and even in 1985, nothing has changed. Every 10 years I need to renew my residence permit in Paris if I do not want to become a Frenchman. Initial progress exists without any doubt in several areas, but it is often not supported by accompanying measures. For example, what utility does the European Parliament have if there is no immediate right of initiative and it cannot, therefore, make any proposal for a law on its own initiative? (It should be mentioned, however, that the Lisbon Treaty of December 2009 has somewhat improved this situation). What is the purpose of the Commission, which represents de facto something like the Government of the Union, if it is not empowered except in some very narrowly defined areas and if there is no uniform procedure for the legislation that the Commission is expected to implement? The laws are treated differently depending on the area. What utility may the Euro have if the budgetary policy in the Member States is not co-ordinated? Will the EU unitary patent (only one patent for all signatory States) keep its promise when Italy and Spain are not part of the treaty and the old system, under which a separate patent can be registered in each Member State, is continued in parallel? In 1973, Great-Britain decides not to stay out of the European Community but to join. Considering that the Beatles have started their career in Hamburg (they played repeatedly there between 1960 and 1962) and have enjoyed the continent even if conditions were difficult (I attended one of the completely crazy performances in the Star-Club), and that Winston Churchill was an ardent defender of a European Federation, one can understand that the UK wanted to be part of it. Unfortunately, from this moment onwards and with great satisfaction, the country slows down all initiatives of European integration, and the other member countries cannot do anything to 108
stop it from pushing the brakes. It should, however, also be mentioned that the USA has not always helped the European Community to advance on the path towards a true Federal Union. Regarding the UK, it becomes even worse since September 16, 1992, when George Soros forced Britain to leave the European exchange rate mechanism (ERM), formerly the European Monetary System (EMS), which it had joined for some time already to participate in the introduction of the Euro. Moreover, this story has affected me personally as follows: In 1990, we are about to buy an apartment in London. The money is still in France and Germany. At that time, Britain is ready to become a member of the European monetary system (EMS) and starts to talk up the exchange rate of the £ Sterling. In doing so, she probably wishes to satisfy the bureaucracy in Brussels, which believes that the £ Sterling is undervalued. The pound 'responds' positively and is gradually gaining in value against the Euro before joining the EMS. Suddenly, our money in "Continental Europe" is no longer sufficient to buy the apartment. The purchase is cancelled. Two years later, after Black Wednesday of September 16, 1992 – George Soros, the man later known as a philanthropist, has speculated against the pound because he believes it is overvalued – the pound Sterling exits the EMS, now ERM, and drops back to the level of exchange rates it had in early 1990; but we are already on the way back to Paris. Our son had returned to Paris after his Alevel exam in London to continue his studies there. He needs us.
Britain will continue to slow down Europe, as soon as it is in its interest. It is also noteworthy that the British press so infuriates the British public opinion against Europe that the Government cannot but emphasize again and again that it is keen to keep its independence at any price. Nevertheless, more and more European countries wish to join the Union. Indeed, there are also many positive aspects. For example, in 1987 the Erasmus programme is established and in 1997 the Schengen agreement is incorporated into 109
the EU legal framework. These two initiatives are advancing Europe by some great steps. Having advanced this far, the next major step towards achieving further European integration is the adoption of the Euro in January 1999 as a unit of account in 11 EU countries (evidently without Great-Britain). In January 2002, after three years of mental preparation for the concerned citizens, Euro banknotes and coins are put into circulation. Unfortunately, there is no central authority to coordinate the Member countriesâ€™ public finances, economic policies, budgets, etc. The long-term survival of the Euro, as well as that of the EU, is therefore not ensured at all. As there are already a large number of countries in the Euro zone, it becomes increasingly difficult to design and implement the missing bodies or institutions that are needed to make the common currency work. Achieving the needed consensus in each case would require protracted negotiations. Governments, being only too happy to unload the shortcomings of their own policy onto the Brussels bureaucracy and to blame the Euro for inflation and other evils, will not undertake initiatives for more integration. For many citizens 'Brussels' is now to blame for all the misery that is waiting for us or that we face already today. What a boon for the national politicians! A powerful demonstration of this situation is given in 2005, when the countries had to vote for or against a new European 'Constitutional Treaty'. It is intended to fix some shortcomings in the functioning of the EU. A clear majority of Member States voted in favour of the Treaty. However, in national referendums in France and the Netherlands, a majority of citizens vote against it. We experience this episode in Paris and must see how an influential wing of the normally pro-European Socialist Party, for partisan political reasons adopts an anti-Treaty position and makes noisy propaganda against the Treaty. Together with the extreme rightwing party, they manage to bring the Treaty down. They harm not only, as intended, the Conservative Party in Government under Jacques Chirac, but above 110
all the EU and finally themselves since they lose credibility. We are deeply disappointed by this outcome and, as a consequence, the change in the dynamics of Europe to come to a complete standstill, since the Constitutional Treaty would only have come into force if all Member States, without exception, had voted for the treaty. There is in particular one circumstance that has caused great damage to the EC/EU. After Jacques Delors as President of the European Commission (1985-1994), we had only extremely weak and insignificant Presidents in this position. Today, the situation is even worse than it was under Jacques Santer, Delors successor. With Romano Prodi, there was perhaps (?) once again a small improvement. Today, with José Manuel Barroso, we have again a rather irrelevant and extremely weak President of the Commission who does not drive Europe and with Herman Van Rompuy, the permanent President of the European Council (since December 2009) and Catherine Margaret Ashton, High Representative of the EU for foreign policy and security and Vice-president of the European Commission ….. (since February 2010), we have also two insignificant technocrats as leaders of the European Union. Worse could not have happened to Europe. Today, we do not have any person in a leading position in bodies or institutions of the European Union with the ability to bring the individual States back on a constructive track and halt the decline of Europe! All of this has not just happened by accident. The emasculation of the Commission President and other EC/EU representatives was pushed by the governments of the Member-States. In their eyes, Jacques Delors was too strong a leader when “governing” the EC. In this respect we do not only have to blame Great Britain but also Germany under Helmut Kohl, who wanted a more obedient person in the job of Commission President. Adding to this is the annoying and never-ending EU horse trade and bickering about new treaties, objectives and budgets in the long term, agricultural subsidies, etc. We are the bystanders of a fierce struggle and unworthy bargaining for advantages and pennies. In addition, 111
the EC - and later the European Union - has erected a number of rather remote administrative structures that have remained inaccessible to ordinary people and which they do not understand. Should we be surprised when citizens, young and old, cannot get excited about Europe? Who can blame them? We have mentioned earlier in this booklet that the common agricultural policy has not brought the then EEC countries closer together. Unfortunately the Euro hasnâ€™t accomplished this either for the Euro-zone countries 40 years later, and the common currency has thus also not kept its promise. Most citizens even in France and the Netherlands have got used to the Euro and they probably do not want to give it up. But for many countries it has become a straitjacket from which they would like to escape, but canâ€™t because the consequences are unforeseeable. Since no further move towards stronger political bonds between the member states is under way and the resolve towards a real European Community is weakening by the day, the Euro has today for many politicians become an unloved child which they would prefer to send into the wilderness if they could. In addition, countries like Denmark and Sweden, which are outside the Euro zone, are obviously not so severely affected by the financial and debt crisis as those countries within the Euro zone. It becomes increasingly difficult to convince fellow citizens of the European idea. The 'Nations' drift helplessly through the financial and debt crisis. "Brussels" can and must do nothing which would exceed its limited competences. We will deal with the abovementioned crisis in greater detail three paragraphs further below. Fortunately, there are also structures in the EU, such as the Erasmus programme. It permits young people to study for a while in neighbouring EU countries, doing an internship, or staying there for some time for other purposes with a contract of employment or on a voluntary basis. Especially French youth seize this opportunity. As already mentioned earlier, thanks to the Erasmus programme, our daughter Nancy could spend half a year of her studies in London. Also foreign languages are increasingly taken up at school and here 112
again, it is in particular French youths who are getting better and better in speaking foreign languages, especially English. In the former Soviet European satellites, English is now practiced as a first foreign language and Russian has significantly declined. If Europe does not come to the citizens, then the (mostly young) people come to Europe. As a still relatively young retiree of 69 years, I must confess that something else is working well: someone who has the right to pensions in three different Member States, even if the amounts are not exactly colossal, gets these retirement emoluments without too many complications. If all goes well, in three months, the formalities have been completed and the pension is on your bank account just in time (but will this situation last?). Notwithstanding, in my case, the French administration lost my files twice and I had to start over again and reproduce the paperwork three times before receiving the confirmation that everything is in order.
Reality has accumulated a lot of problems in recent years: since July 2007 the USA and several European countries, including Britain, slip into a banking crisis, triggered by the so-called subprime crisis. Financial institutions demonstrate extreme largesse when lending to buyers of real estate, regardless of their creditworthiness. Several financial institutions are happy to just hear their customers declare that they are able to repay the loan according to the terms of the contract and do not ask any guarantees. When it becomes evident that many customers are unable to repay their loans, a severe banking crisis spreads quickly and Governments must intervene and supply banks with huge sums of money to save them from bankruptcy. I will not dwell here on the technical details â€“ much has already been written about this. The fact is that Governments indebt themselves heavily in order to save their financial institutions from the abyss. In addition, a lot of money must be injected into the economy to avoid bankruptcy of a number of large companies, especially in the automotive sector. This crisis has barely ended when it becomes clear that, in part because of the bank and company bailouts, but also 113
because of negligent management of budgetary spending, many countries, especially the USA and European countries, have accumulated mountains of debts over the years. The United States of America has piled up debts of more than 15 trillion $ (more than 100% of GDP) and at the end of 2011, Greece is indebted to more than 170 per cent of GDP. Other European countries are not much better off including Germany with an 80% debt/GDP ratio. How can we ever get rid of this mountain of debt? The austerity measures have so far not had the desired effect. Given that the EU now has a Central Bank, the latter could simply print money as does the U.S. Federal Reserve. However, as the Euro is not the worldâ€™s leadcurrency, we would quickly have a galloping inflation in Europe. Another solution might be to see the creditors forsake 50 or 60 per cent of EC countriesâ€™ debt. That this will happen does not seem very likely, however. We saw how difficult it was for even a small country like Greece to apply this strategy. Only the US was able to shift a large portion of its bad bank loans to foreign banks, which had actively and naively participated in the business with derivatives of home loans. Moreover, the FED could print tons of dollars without risking inflation, because the liquidity supply in the international reserve currency was to a large extent absorbed by the international community - and still is - and therefore, the American public debt is mainly covered by foreign countries and banks. Whether we have reached the limits of this strategy is a matter of speculation. Meanwhile, even Cyprus has entered the financial and debt crisis. It urgently needs a several-billion-euro credit to survive. Its banking sector is similarly oversized as the Icelandic one has been. In addition, Cyprus is also a tax heaven. It is therefore understandable that other Europeans do not want to stand in for example for deposits of Russian investors for the purpose of tax evasion and are therefore asking these investors to pay for their privileges. On the other hand, the financial world is so intertwined that in the absence of decisive action unpredictable consequences may be on the horizon for the whole euro zone and beyond. If Cyprus declares bankruptcy, this 114
can definitely have a domino effect on Greece, Portugal, Spain, Ireland and Italy. Will Europe be able to once more overcome a deep crisis as it has done many times before? It is always said that Europe progresses especially in times of crisis. This time around I'm not so sure of that. Europe is simply no longer working. To emerge victorious from the crisis, we need bodies and functional institutions through which the required decisions could be taken democratically. Currently, the mechanisms of decision-making are still far too heavy, long and complex or inexistent. Notwithstanding, Europe must recover. It has no choice. How can todayâ€™s younger generation find its way? It has no longer a home or point of reference. The belief in the nation is already no longer as strong as it has been for previous generations. Although in recent years, there is a move towards the political right and extreme right in some countries, this does not really mean that nationalism has a comeback, at least not for young people. It is probably rather a reaction against recent politics that are unable to do any good. Politics are essentially governed by self-interest. As already mentioned earlier, the wrangling of politicians on a national as well as at the EU level, even of the heads of State, is today very much perceived as no more than a Punch and Judy show. Individually, politics of European Nation States have no longer any clout at the international and little clout at the national level. Youth oppose this shadow fencing. They need goals. They want to know where the journey is going and if at the end of that journey there is something that is worth their commitment. Outside of a socially fairer Europe, there is not much. The era of the great European Nations has ended. Neither Denmark (either with or without Greenland), nor France or Germany have today the necessary economic mass to cope with global competition and other global issues. Europe could be the 'home' for the young generation - if only she wanted! We need to give this young generation reason for hoping that the European 'home' will be theirs one day. 115
All this is not to say that for example France and Great Britain have not been great nations. Quite the contrary! Despite having also had their weak points, they have immensely contributed in the creation of a world as we know it today and this in various domains, such as cultural, social, technological and human rights. However, this greatness is past history. In Europe, there is no “Great Nation” left today. But Europe could be great! This is something political leaders need to recognise! So, what can we do to offer a worthwhile future to Europe and its citizens, young and old? On the one hand we can, of course, not look into the future, but if the future is an extrapolation of the past and the present, it does not look very promising. On the other hand, we do not have the one solution. We can only reflect intelligently and then offer suggestions for shaping the future in such a way, that the dream of a united Europe remains possible. A few remarks in this direction will be made in the next and last chapter. After all, there are some rare signs that politicians are sincerely concerned about how Europe might evolve. In May 2012, we hear the German Minister of Finance, Wolfgang Schäuble, saying that the direct election of the president of the Commission is desirable because it would partially offset the democratic deficit of the European Union and would create more citizen outreach.
Chapter 4 : What next? The EU needs new impetus and momentum so that other regions in Europe and the world can take the â€œEuropean ideaâ€? as a model again. The EU must redefine itself. Many developing countries expect more than just being a trading partner from Europe. Europe should take or resume the leadership in the field of the environment, democracy, moral financial systems, fair trade, etc. Civil society must be mobilized and articulate its impatience with the ever slowing progress of the European Union. This impatience should be expressed in political protests/demonstrations or through institutions and forums provided for this purpose. Participatory democracy must finally become reality at the European/EU level! It is already implicitly mentioned in the Nice Treaty (implemented in February 2003). The world does no longer need individual countries such as Germany, France, Italy, etc. They have become obsolete. There are now virtually only consumers and no or very few committed citizens in the individual countries of the EU; and even the average consumer do no longer have much purchasing power. But a United Europe, which reinvents itself - whether it's with or without the United Kingdom remains to be seen - can play a positive role in the world and can also engage its citizens. We must seize this opportunity! We have seen many empires emerge and perish. The Empire of Alexander the Great has lost its hero too quickly while the oversized empire has been assembled too quickly; the Roman Empire, while built over a long time, overreached itself and did at the end no longer have the moral strength to defend itself as an idea; the Holy Roman Empire lacked the cohesion necessary to defend itself against external powers (the Emperor did not have the necessary instruments of power); the British Empire was too large and too dispersed for a small country such as Britain, and the Soviet Empire was based too much (exclusively?) on control and coercion. Thus, only the American (US) Empire remains, which now also begins to show 117
some weaknesses (although it is too early to write it off altogether; it has proved rather resilient several times already). What will happen next? A Europe, united through the free will of its citizens, could show new ways for political, cultural and economic communities to exist and become a counterweight to China. In order to ensure that there will be a future for Europe, it will probably be necessary to open several avenues at the same time: create further strong symbols, start institutional reform, create new institutions, abolish unnecessary institutions, propose and adopt new laws, put in order state finance and the financial/banking system, etc. But above all: create a real Federal Government for the European Union. Here are a few suggestions for concrete measures: End of 2013 or early 2014 thousands of young people in all European cities will demonstrate for faster progress in the unification of Europe. That people demonstrate for something and not against is new for politicians. As a result, it has the desired effect and they are now actively looking for solutions. To at least create yet a strong symbol, a European football team for the World Cup in 2014 in Brazil (if it is not too late already) and European Olympic teams for the 2016 games in Rio are prepared. The positive effect will be inevitable! Right now, the first priority for the EU is to separate itself as soon as possible from the United Kingdom, a country that is clearly not yet mentally prepared for Europe (and which perhaps never will), to finally rediscover the original sense of the European idea. It is not easy at the time when the EU needs payments from the British for the Community budget. On the other hand, it is an opportunity to define new priorities for investments at the level of the EU. We can only wish good luck to David Cameron for his referendum by the end of 2017 and hope that the British will plead for a quick exit from the 118
EU (even though we do suspect this to be no more than just a clever manoeuvre to win support from his party - in other words, a bluff). So far, it has always been so simple: If there is no progress in the pursuit of further integration of the European Union, it is always the fault of Britain. It is so easy to blame that country and then being dispensed from making any effort, since, in any event, every effort would be futile. Therefore we have yet another good reason to separate us from the Kingdom as soon as possible. If, however, someday the United Kingdom should have the courage to pull itself together, it could become a full-fledged member while accepting the conditions in force at the time and without exceptions. In writing these lines (December 28, 2012), Jacques Delors made a proposal in this sense in the Handelsblatt. Britain should associate differently with the EU, without being a full member. And why not?! Great Britain has not been the only country to slow European Integration. France pushed the brakes as much as Britain did and perhaps even more. At least Winston Churchill was very much in favour of a federal Europe. However, being situated on the continent and a neighbour of Germany, Franceâ€™s love affair with strong central national government and her resistance to give up her sovereignty might one day be overcome. We must admit that the admission of Turkey with its dynamic economy would now be a boon for Europe. Unfortunately, Turkey is today no longer as keen as before to join the EU and Europe should probably forego this addition. On the other hand, Ukraine has not remained within the Russian Federation (former USSR) and would like to join the EU. It may perhaps do so in a few years when its economy has improved and is transformed to conform to the standards set by the EU. But that is of no avail in the current situation. In order to get out of the financial crisis and public debt, the ECB immediately buys up the Greek debt and repays creditors. It grants 119
the country loans at very low or zero percent interest rates so that Greece gets quickly back on its feet. The country commits itself to repay the new loans as soon as its economic and financial capabilities permit to do this. The country will get advice and assistance to build an administration capable of collecting taxes from its citizens and businesses. Even the rich Greeks must pay (progressive) tax. If necessary, something similar will be done for Portugal, Spain and Italy, although Italy appears today stronger than just a year or two ago, even though no one knows how the situation will evolve after the Mario Monti era has found such a sudden end. Will Silvio Berlusconi have a come-back even after his conviction by Italian courts? Everywhere, corruption and financial crime must be combated actively and effectively. Another way to solve the financial crisis might be the following: If a country in financial difficulties has taken appropriate measures to control the primary deficit before interest payments, i.e. if it would need new loans only for paying the interests on current loans but not for the current budget, then the ECB would come to the rescue for the payment of such interests. Only then can the country in question really start actually repaying the debt itself and will no longer need to indebt itself further just to pay the interests and compound interests on its debt. The next step is to invest in those countries of the Euro-Zone that are still economically the weakest. However, it is not enough to create the infrastructure for a vibrant economy without including the economic actors themselves. Here, one could take Poland as an example, which was certainly not in a brilliant position when it became a member of the European Union. But it has invested resources intelligently and involved partners from the beginning. At the same time, we must put in place alternative rating agencies to Moody's, Fitch Ratings, Standard & Poor's, etc. in Europe. They should sound the alarm much earlier than existing agencies tend to do, if they are to be effective. It is indeed much too late if an agency 120
draws attention to the finances of a State when debts are already close to the limit of 100% of GDP. The EU itself had used 60% as the upper limit (before the German reunification). We should probably sound the alarm as soon as a debt of 30% of GDP is reached. At this ratio, debts are still easy to control. Everything beyond that is hard to manage. In addition, we also need a banking supervision that works and at the moment as I write these lines, there is actually an approach going in the right direction: the European Central Bank (ECB) is being given the right (and the duty) to closely observe the major EU banks and raise a finger of warning if they take too much risk or are risking to grant too many loans to non-creditworthy clients and could become insolvent as a result. The ECB may force them to comply with the rules relating to their equity and debt. This new regulation will enter into force in March 2014. Not much will happen until then. However, in order to create a sound financial system in Europe, we need a true banking union as well as a fund with the help of which sick banks can, if needed, be wound up without their customers suffering damage. Notwithstanding, we are still very far from that situation. Progress in the EU is infinitely tedious and it advances to the snail's pace, if at all. On the other hand, globalization is progressing regularly and new ways to circumvent the regulations applied to the financial world are found at the speed of light - before noticing. On the political level, everything works much too slowly and stops frequently halfway before reaching destination. The world of financial innovation runs away always much faster than control can follow. Following the rescue of Greece, Portugal, Spain and perhaps even Italy, we might be rewarded with greater inflation rates, given that the rescue money must be printed, or must at least be deposited on the accounts of the concerned creditors, even if it is only virtual money. The difficulty that now arises is that the money that is repaid to creditors â€œmustâ€? be reinvested, whether it is printed or virtual money is irrelevant. 121
It may be recalled here that debts represent money that has been spent for real things and services, which have been consumed. This money has changed hands and takes now part in the monetary circuit. If the creditors are compensated by the Central Bank with fresh money, issued by the Bank, this newly created money is added to the money already in circulation. Thus, a new balance between the amount of money (monetary mass) on one side and the offering of goods and services on the other side should emerge, resulting in a decrease in the purchasing power per currency unit and should therefore lead to an increase in inflation, at least in the longer term. This is a simple cause and effect phenomenon applying to all national or shared currencies. You cannot get away with printing money in large quantities without risking higher inflation rates. Had the Euro been the international reserve currency instead of the US Dollar, this fate might have been avoided since the international community would have footed the bill. However, we may not see this inflation through higher prices of goods and services in the short term, and this for a simple reason: It would obviously be nice if that new money were now invested in a productive way in small and medium-sized enterprises or in the teaching and education of young people or in the development of infrastructure or for other useful purposes. This can unfortunately not be expected. Money is not intelligent or altruistic. It seeks either a safe haven with the ability to magically multiply or looks for (often diversified) risk investment with the possibility of very high profits. In other words, the money that the creditors receive from the central banks is ploughed back into the financial markets â€“ where it drives up share prices or drives down the interests for government bonds â€“ instead of being invested in the real economy, where the expenditure would probably heat up inflation but at the same time have a positive effect on the economy. These erroneous tracks that surplus money takes when it is left on its own, and the dilemma, that the States are not able to have it without having to pay a hefty price for it, could be avoided. These surfeit 122
financial means should be heavily taxed at source and the gathered tax should directly be led to the places where it is needed. It should be noted, however, that this money does largely not come from taxable sources. For example, sovereign wealth funds and petrodollars cannot in the least be taxed in Europe. Furthermore, one needs to ask the question whether the State is effective in redistributing money and how far taxes can rise without paralyzing the entrepreneurial spirit; because enterprises are indeed one of the few sources that can be taxed to a certain extent. Thus, the State must first learn to be more efficient in the redistribution of wealth. It is not enough to transfer the money from the rich to the poor. This transfer must also have the effect that people at the bottom of the social ladder are empowered to help themselves and be able to get out of the vicious cycle of poverty and dependence. Here, the State should appeal to private support. With regard to the taxation of businesses, it makes sense to subsidize young companies in their development phase and to tax them very weakly or not at all at this critical time so they can grow and become strong and solid economic factors. Once attained this stage, these companies may be taxed according to their economic strength without impeding their ability of reinvesting into their own future. For this to work, the existing tax havens that exist not only outside the EU but also inside must be neutralized. This can only be done when Europe speaks with one voice, i.e. when we have the United States of Europe. Speculative gains and other financial operations may also be taxed. There remains the question of how this can be done in a globalised world. That each nation seeks for itself to find ways how to regulate capitalism and in particular the international financial system is absolutely absurd in todayâ€™s world, because this would be utterly impossible. Only at the level of a United Europe is there a possibility to make a difference. We should do everything to seize this opportunity. 123
We could also appeal to the European patriotism of the richest 0.01 per cent of our population and ask them to not only think in terms of benefit in the short term, but rather in terms of a broader long-term prosperity in which the upper class has more chances of survival than in a world of extreme contrasts between rich and poor. Trying this might be worth its while. A combination of reduced debt service by the States themselves, the willingness of the upper class to participate in this dept reduction and a helping hand from the ECB in order to enable the continued investment in the social features of a moderate/reasonable welfare state, would probably be the best and most elegant way out of the current debt crisis. If this does not work, which would obviously be regrettable, but which is to be expected, then the lack of participation of the top (wealthy) layer of society in the national debt restructuring would lead us to run-away inflation. However, there might still be the following way out: In 2014 or 2015 or even a year later, a monetary reform is carried out. A new ECU becomes the equivalent of 10 Euros. Similarly to the June 1948 currency reform, which was conducted by the German federal Minister of Economics, Ludwig Erhard, the money surplus is thus instantly brought down. With this solution, individuals as well as legal persons are concerned. The State (in this case the European Federation) thus cancels de facto 90% of its debt (only 10% of debt is converted at a ratio of 10 to 1 into ECUs) and gets a balanced budget, which it must now maintain. In theory, this reform would even today be an elegant way to put State finances back on track and make a new start. It remains to be seen, however, whether this is indeed also possible in practice, since companies of all sizes operate today in a global environment. If the plan can be kept secret until its implementation in a moment of surprise, we might have a chance to succeed. Yet, in the age of WikiLeaks and Twitters, we can no longer be sure that this is feasible. As soon as someone gets hold of the smallest bit of 124
information about the operation, everyone in Europe will, in a movement of panic, get rid of the euro, which then soon completely loses its value and the citizens will suffer as much as the companies (with the exception maybe of very large companies, which in any case use large amounts of other currencies for their transactions, especially the dollar,). In December 2012, Greece demonstrated that a country taking part in the currency union can, with the help of institutional partners, succeed to buy back its own debt at lower cost (in this case at about one-third of the nominal value). However, such action can only take place within very narrow limits. Greece is a small country, and its debt is therefore evaluable. When it comes to a large debtor such as Italy, things are different. Creditors will not be ready to sell large quantities of their loans on the free market so they can be re-acquired by a country in financial difficulties, if that debtor is still solvent, be it only partially. If the debtor country is not yet completely bankrupt, the creditor always hopes to recover the totality of the loan granted. And yet, it is just this bankruptcy that must be prevented by all means. Things are obviously complicated when a country shares its currency with other countries. Another approach - no consideration should be taboo here - might look like this: If the banks do not play the game when we redefine their playing fields, we can always create a new State-owned banking system, whose capital is provided by the Central Bank and which has the mission to provide small and medium-sized companies with money and manage savings and income of ordinary citizens and pay reasonable interest on their deposits. Conglomerates and large companies can also borrow money from these banks, if they fulfil certain conditions, as for example give up obscene pay of their executives and stop offering stock options. In addition, they must prove they are investing in the long term and stop feeding the stock market show. Companies, which undertake to comply with these conditions, will receive a special prize, which they can use for image cultivation. Even Jack Welch, the former CEO (until 2001) of 125
General Electric (GE), who has, again and again, pushed his company to make profits of 15% (and more) and who, in this way, succeeded in multiplying the value of GE shares by forty, admitted later that this was absolute stupidity. An enterprise or institution cannot simply skim off profits and at the same time remain in equilibrium with the environment in which it operates. If too much money is subtracted from the real economy to give to shareholders, who re-invest it mostly in other, often speculative shares, there is not enough room for the real economy to grow. The large investment banks are, however, no longer provided with money from the Central Bank, but must find it on the open market. With this money, they can then continue to speculate and make other mischief if they so please and if their creditors agree. But for doing so, they must not use the savings or any other bank deposits from citizens. The question remains whether politicians have the courage to play this scenario up to the end - I doubt it. A beautiful solution to this problem would be to have a special worldwide “speculation currency” the use of which should be compulsory for any speculative transaction and which is rated against “real currencies” on a daily basis. This would highlight the “casino quality” (very much like chips) of this currency and its virtual and volatile character. If too many speculative objects lose their speculative value, then this “speculation currency” loses value against the real currencies without affecting the latter. Few people, organisations, institutions or agencies would probably continue their speculative adventures. Unfortunately, the financial lobby would probably be too strong for this currency to see the light of the day. But considering this possibility as a thought experiment should be a fertile exercise. On the other hand, the recent past has shown that the attacks on the European monetary system did not have an excessively lasting effect as soon as the pertinent Governments and the European Central Bank expressed their willingness to preserve the current monetary system 126
and to make available the necessary resources for its consolidation. The Europeans have won time for a more sustainable solution. But this time should not be wasted by doing nothing. It seems that the only realistic way out of the current mess is the creation of a genuine Union, i.e. the United States of Europe. And if this is not feasible with the 27 Member States, why not try it with the 17 countries of the Euro zone or the 6 founding countries of the EEC? Germany, which from this point of view has the best experience with a federal structure, should for once overcome its reticence and assume a leadership role in this case. Similarly to her predecessor Gerhard Schrรถder, Mrs Merkel has unfortunately lately turned her eyes away from Europe, and this particularly in anticipation of the looming elections in September 2013. However, she could move things in the right direction, if only she wanted. Many other States of the Union expect this from Germany. It is almost a moral obligation for her to do so; and this not only singlehandedly together with France (which will not work given the centralised structure of the French State), but through the hard work of persuasion with all partners. Helmut Kohl had this already well understood. Countries of the European Union, which are favourable to the idea of a Federal Union, should also actively participate in the discussion. Finally, we should not forget to also involve the citizens in the discussions and in the efforts of persuasion. This is absolutely necessary since we cannot avoid a true referendum or similar mechanism to ask them whether they would be happy with the creation of such a Federal Union. The public must therefore be well prepared and provided with all relevant information. Once the pioneering countries have reached some predetermined goals, other countries may join if they commit themselves to follow the prescribed route. The States that choose to unite in a true Federation must do so knowing full well and absolutely that the end result will be a new Unitarian Federal State, such as the United States of America, with armed forces, legislation, an operational and effective Parliament, a 127
head of State, tax revenues, a budget, diplomatic missions etc. This objective must be achieved as soon as possible - without hesitation, without haggling, without quarrels. Do not allow the national languages to be an insurmountable obstacle to such a Union. The Holy Roman Empire had united the peoples of several languages within its borders and Switzerland still does. European leaders have a great responsibility today when it comes to where Europe should be in 10 to 20 years from now and they cannot but face up to this responsibility. When the new federal Government of the United States of Europe is in place, it must immediately begin to assert certain prerogatives in economic, commercial and financial policies. It makes no sense that real politics align with virtual economies and virtual financial markets. Impotent politics have no right to exist. However, in a national context, it is extremely difficult to change things. The Government of the European Federation can respond differently. At this echelon, political, economic and financial-market agents are at level playing field and long-term government policy is better placed to indicate the direction to follow and make sense of the future than the other partners. We cannot escape the duty to take the financial system out of its virtual world and reconnect it with the real economy! As already mentioned, we need a strong and United Europe that can sit at the same table with the other economic powers, to set the rules for the financial system, once the latter has become sober once again. As already mentioned earlier, we must also put an end to the system of tax havens. It is unacceptable that gains are directed towards tax havens without that the Treasury can intervene. If someone wants tax havens to benefit from his or her earnings or other gains, then these earnings or gains should be produced in the local economy of these 'havens'. A review and strengthening of the regulation of the European stock exchange should be carried out as soon as 2015. Speculative 128
transactions on currencies as well as on derivatives, raw materials and agricultural products are removed from the menu. Investors are encouraged to make long-term investments, but also to think about supporting young and rising companies. The powers of the European Central Bank are modelled on those of the Bank of England, to directly influence the monetary mass in circulation and making monetary policy in agreement with the Government, without losing sight of the mission to observe and control inflation. Banks are subject to stricter supervision and the experts necessary for this surveillance are trained and equipped with appropriate powers. Investment banks are carefully separated from deposit banks. Deposit banks can no longer use money from customers for risky investment and speculative transactions. Investment banks are responsible for themselves and with their own capital for any compensation if their activities are concluded under an erroneous assessment of risk and investors should know this. Moreover, speculative financial transactions are (marginally) taxed. The reader may recall that at some point, there was talk about the 'Tobin tax' that was originally designed for the foreign exchange market, where transactions take place in a few seconds, even milliseconds, to mitigate the volatility of currency parities. A similar tax should be levied on any kind of speculative transaction. The State does no longer assume responsibility if something goes wrong for investment banks (no bailouts). Something similar was proposed by John Vickers, the British Economist, in 2011 (ring fencing) and by Paul Volker, the former federal reserve Chairman, in 2009. Such a law had existed in the US since 1933, under Roosevelt (i.e. the GlassSteagall Act). Unfortunately, this Act was subsequently amended several times and was finally entirely abolished in 1999, under the Presidency of Bill Clinton. Only these changes and finally the complete repeal of the Act, which led to the complete deregulation of the financial markets, made possible the 'subprime' crisis of 2008. Economic policy must ensure that the USE not only faces global competition in good shape, but also plays a major role. For this, it will promote cooperation between companies and unions and will 129
grant trade unions certain rights of co-management regarding enterprise policy. Education and research strategies will have central roles and the promotion of regional 'clusters' of innovation, for example in the field of genetic engineering, nanotechnology, information technology, etc., should be a priority. What can we do today to get sustainable economic growth? We must remember that there is no lack of capital. This capital is just invested in the wrong way: into speculative objects on the stock exchange or into tangible objects in the form of overpriced real estate, etc. On the other hand, in many countries, and particularly in France, society is too much attached to the preservation of acquired privileges and thus suffocating in the bud any upwards or sideways mobility. Trade unions in particular have a responsibility in all of this. They do not bother about those who are excluded from the social and economic life simply because they do not have the selfish and aggressive mindset that you need to succeed in life or do not have the skills in demand. Post-industrial society cannot merely provide services and claim these services are unique and cannot be imitated by the emerging nations. Especially mobile services can be very well imitated elsewhere. A purely post-industrial society will therefore lead to absurdity. A minimum of industry must remain in the country and this industry must produce competitive quality products. Innovation is necessary. But it must be well considered and not become an end in itself (I take on this aspect in the next but one paragraph). To do something lasting, industry must open its doors for the generation of young workers. Beside more and more specialized professionals, who are trained in universities and elite schools, industry itself must train young workers those skills that it needs, and undertake to again adopt the principle of apprenticeship. It is a crucial doorway to enter the labour market. Companies must make this investment to secure their own future. It is crucial! In addition, we should make it easier for new businesses to grow and become large companies! From the socio-political and macroeconomic point of view, it is of no benefit to society, when a young company, as soon as it starts to make a little profit, say after three or 130
four years, is bought by a multinational to then disappear in the thickets of this conglomerate. After I had brought my thoughts on the current financial and debt crisis down on paper, I indulged in reading the Stiglitz Report16 and thereby discovered that my analysis of this international crisis does in many parts not much divert from that presented there, while the proposed solutions are not always the same. The Report attempts to adapt the solutions to the existing conditions without breaking the established framework, while I believe that in many instances this may not be feasible. Although the report is not easily digestible reading, I do recommend it. I should like, however, to go to bat for the capitalism of the post-war period (after the Second World War). It brought to the world - even if not everywhere in the same way - considerable progress in the area of prosperity, health, technical and technological innovation, the global exchange of physical and cultural goods and the efficient use of labour. In the meantime, capitalism met its limits - at least in its current form. Entrepreneurship, start-ups, and innovation have become the Golden Calves, around which everybody dances. Today, innovation has often become an end in itself; see, for example the company Apple, which continually replaces its own products that it has just put on the market, with new versions. It is always surprising, how Apple marketing succeeds again and again convincing itâ€™s young (and older) customers that the newest product is an absolute 'MUST'. The enthusiasm of the Apple fans is incredible. They almost sacrifice their last pennies for these products and with a frequency that surprises. In addition, industry gurus tell us that soon we cannot live without Smartphones or similar products. And when the Smartphone has started its triumph, the next product, for example the smart watches or smart glasses are already planned. 16
Stiglitz report to the UN General Assembly on June 26, 2009 (report of the Commission of experts of the President of the United Nations General Assembly on reforms of the international monetary and financial system)
And so it will continue. Even Microsoft has designed Windows so that we need a new version every three, four years. These are really golden-eggs-laying-hen. And that's not enough - computers, laptops, tablets, smartphones, etc. are difficult to discard. There are a number of precious rare earth metals in the electronics of these devices worth recycling, but their recovery is extremely difficult. If these metals cannot be recovered because it would be uneconomic, we will soon have a serious environmental problem. I think this economic race against time and the concomitant environmental risks are not very satisfactory. Youth is also often not aware of the side effects of this race, which is a competition of all against all, in fact almost a war of all against all. It is extremely dangerous and costly for society, because victims must be medically treated. It encourages primitive individualism or egoism and kills the sense for the community, without which a society cannot exist in the long term. What we now need is not some additional technological innovations that soon nobody will any longer be able to pay for - and this also applies to the sector of medical care - but social innovations. If we do not want to risk everything we have achieved to date, we must reflect on how we can share (perhaps more modest) prosperity without putting society to the test. Many people, whom unbridled competition has made superfluous and thrown out of work, have already become familiar with a much more modest â€œprosperityâ€?; and more and more people will get to know this situation and they will not always be unskilled people. The United States of Europe should also create a sovereign wealth Fund, as did Norway, China and the OPEC countries. With this Fund, investments, that wouldn't be possible by the private or public sector, could be carried out. Economic growth alone will not bring about real prosperity in the future. This growth, even if it is still possible, must be accompanied by socially responsible measures. Modern information technology would easily allow us today to work part-time and share our daily 132
work with another person, with the same or better efficiency of fulltime work for one person. Then, we could give less work to more people. I am aware that we run the risk of awakening the old controversy on the topic of the of the 35 hours week in France. In fact, the problem is simple: If a large part of my salary must be spent for my housing, I need a comfortable salary. Real estate speculation drove up real estate prices so quickly that for many ordinary employees the remaining money after payment of rent or loans for home-ownership is no longer enough to live a decent life. On the other hand, for many ordinary retirees or pensioners rental fee is also a big problem. But politics are not courageous and persistent enough to address this problem. The freezing of rental prices would be welcome as well as that of construction costs. Of course, we all know that we have on the one hand an explosion of energy prices and these prices will further increase if we go ahead with renewable energy. On the other hand, the primary and/or fiscal deficits of national budgets do not allow for accelerated construction of rental properties. However, at one point, we need to do something if we do not want to return to an explosive situation, where we are faced with mass poverty (Greece and Spain already give us a foretaste of what may happen). We cannot avoid, sooner or later, carefully, but resolutely, touching and changing the distribution of wealth. Otherwise, what resulted in the French revolution in 1789 and led to the elimination of feudal absolutism could happen again today. Only, the target would not be the feudal aristocracy, but the "financial aristocracy" and there would be much new misery to bear, especially since we are no longer a 50% a rural population but rather >90% dependent on a sophisticated economy which just has to work if we want to survive. In addition, society is getting older and older and we are overburdening the younger generation if we continue taking up retirement as usual at 60 or 65 years. This is why some Governments have already decided to raise the age of retirement, even if this should be in part against strong resistance. Moreover, people at retirement age are a large reservoir of productive work 133
force, which could and should be used in the form of volunteers or for a modest remuneration. Many people at retirement age do not feel the need to retire and would be happy if they could pursue a rewarding job. This is especially important for countries with a low birth rate. Thus, the transition to a smaller population, especially in the case of Germany, Italy and Spain could be managed without too much difficulty. But this reservoir is also of great importance for countries with normal fertility rates. The benefit derived from the use of the experience of the elderly should not be underestimated, as well as the possibility of transfer of their experience to the next generation. Regarding the decline for example of the German or Italian population, I would add that I don't really see a problem. On the contrary, with a smaller population each individual would enjoy a little more geographical space and people would be better off and live more at ease. Real estate prices would fall and life would become less expensive. Moreover, even neighbourly relations and family life could benefit. That we should have to work longer, many people would regard this as a privilege rather than a burden. Naturally we have to consider the physical state and mind of each person individually when it comes to maintaining a person in employment or otherwise active until age 70 and perhaps beyond. However, in order to avoid loss of competitiveness, German, Italian, Spanish, etc, populations would need to raise their educational standards for young people and offer first class training for more senior people so that close to 100 % of the citizens can be kept in â€œproductiveâ€? employment. Social innovation in these areas - and in other similar areas - is therefore an absolute necessity if we want to avoid a new revolution that would bring, at least at first, nothing but suffering for all. Capitalism in its present form is unable to accomplish this, which does not mean that it is a fundamental inability of capitalism. The foundations of wealthy Americans, as for example, Bill Gates, prove that there is a significant potential. On the other hand, Mitt Romney 134
has shown that it can be difficult for the representatives of capitalism to understand the needs of ordinary people. If capitalism is expected to work, then it needs rational and ethic rules, which it must undertake to follow and the State needs instruments to ensure compliance with these rules. In particular in the field of housing shortage, social innovation is necessary. I already mentioned one possibility earlier: allow a new start for those people stranded on the shores of unemployment - a new departure 'away' from our civilization. Some regions, such as for example the "Massif Central" in France or Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania in Germany experienced a significant exodus of its population in recent years. Here, we could enable a new start for these people and even keep open the possibility of a return to the 'civilized' society once economic conditions permit. I also mentioned the example of the Mennonites in the United States of America. Through the related tightening of the labour market, because most probably people not struck by unemployment would also find this alternative way of life attractive, we could perhaps see the return of higher wage levels, which would be good for the economy. Once we have come out of the present financial and economic crisis towards the year 2020, it will be necessary as soon as possible to make a profound constitutional amendment in order to consolidate the United States of Europe. The concept of Nations with the cacophonies that go with it should finally disappear from the vocabulary of the Union. Therefore, a political Union at a two-level structure should be created where the top level is represented by the federal Government, i.e. the Government of the Union, and the second level by the regions. The regions would then be States. Brussels would be confirmed as the permanent and effective EU capital. The city should have a similar status as Washington, D.C., i.e., it would belong to no region or State, but would directly be placed under the responsibility of the supreme organ of the USE. This would at the same time resolve the dispute of the two Belgian regions over Brussels. The USE might even adopt the Royal family as representative Head of State, and thus use it as a figurehead for the 135
Union. Great Britain, or better, the United Kingdom, proves that for already three hundred years democracy and (constitutional) monarchy can be complementary â€“ at first hesitantly and later, under Queen Victoria and George V, resolutely. But this is of course a matter of taste. Finally, Parliament (House of Commons, Lower House) must be equipped with the necessary powers for legislation and the Council of Ministers be replaced by a Council (House of Lords, Upper House) where the regions are represented. We can call these two institutions, ''Senate'' and ''Chamber of Representatives'' and equip them with appropriate authority. The Commission will be replaced by an elected Government. The president of the Commission is replaced by a Chancellor or Prime Minister. The president of the European Union will probably have a more representative character as this is for example the case today in Italy and Germany (on condition that we do not keep the Royal family of Belgium to represent the USE - otherwise, it won't need a President). Once the Union has finally become a reality, one should also opt for one single â€œofficialâ€? language. Since Britain is no longer a member of the Union, we no longer need to consider English as that language. With the rapid decline of the German population over the next 30 years, we do not necessarily want to consider German as that language. Besides English, French is perhaps the most widely used second language in Europe and in the world. As such, it enjoys international status and might convene as the official language for Europe. But here, the citizens of the Union should decide. Perhaps they would decide, and especially youth under 30 years old, for English as an official language after all? Finally, I would like to express the hope that in particular the younger generation, which has also the power to do so, may now be committed to demand the changes in European policy; that it feels motivated by the considerations presented here; and that it will do everything possible to ensure that the European idea regains strength 136
and vitality. I should like to reiterate a concern addressed in the Preface: in particular the younger generation should not allow itself to be infected by the Euro-scepticism of the older generation that cannot help but think in national terms. Euro-sceptics are mostly those who have always opposed European integration and could not imagine living otherwise than with a Czech, Hungarian, Danish, Dutch, German, Italian, French, British, and so on, national identity. The French had to find out during their recent discussion on their national identity, how difficult it is today, to define that so-called national identity. If youth believe in Europe and express this belief when addressing politics in discussions, using appropriate forums, in demonstrations, and in election rallies, politicians will not be able to ignore this movement. My generation, which has already reached a more advanced age, and the intermediate generation feel disappointed by Europe, and many of us think that Nations are much better equipped to face todayâ€™s problems. Everything would be much better if each country had its own currency and could then devalue these currencies if needed, all of them against all of them. Of course, this would not work but it fits very well with the modern era, where individualism is King and the community and commitment to others are not en vogue. I believe that the younger generation is more enthusiastic than we, the older people. And then, why on earth, not being enthusiastic about an ideal that could be achieved in practice? These young women and men would later be proud of their Europe and their children and grandchildren would be grateful to them. Since the end of the 18th century, the effort to mitigate the dichotomy between the individual, on the one hand and the community on the other hand has focused on the creation of nations and belonging to such a nation. The nation was the supreme good and the individuals were going to sacrifice their lives to defend this nation. Hegel says in his "Phenomenology of Mind" that the individuals of a people and their nation find themselves in the same spirit to form a whole, an entity. He even talks about the spirit or 137
mind of the people (people in the sense of the sum of the inhabitants of a nation). Jean-Jacques Rousseau also expressed similar ideas in his "The Social Contract". Well, today things appear a little differently. The modern individual wants to conceive and understand himself or herself as an individual. The identification with the nation does not really work any longer, which, naturally the conservative part of the population regrets, but the 'progressive' part accepts as an inevitable trend. In a broader whole, namely Europe, this dichotomy would have no reason to exist, because Europe does not have the same demand on the individual as the nation. Today's younger generation in Europe is probably the first generation since the emergence of the nation as a principle of cohesion between its members that does no longer regard it as their first duty to sacrifice their lives for the sake of the continued existence of their nation. They see attractive alternatives to the nation and they would be happy to persuade politicians to explore these alternatives. On the other hand, the individual may well feel integrated in the local or regional environment. To me it seems that we should be thrilled by this solution and do everything to get there. One should perhaps also think about a new 'social contract '? In the future, there will be more and more people in Europe, who will lead a life of great mobility, similar to mine. This is due in part to the fact that the nation has become too small for them and they thus escape from this encumbrance to enrich their lives. Moreover, mobility is a big plus at the time where jobs are scarce. People expect more from Europe, than it is prepared to give them. They will be disappointed and physically and/or mentally turn their back on Europe if the creation of a truly federal European Union (and without fatherlands) is not soon vigorously re-launched. I have already noted in another context, that living together here on Earth is only rarely guided by reason. Emotions, individual or collective interests, passions, benefits in the short term, etc. have always been the stronger stimulus. And this also applies to politics. However, the current situation is such, that politicians in Europe 138
cannot any longer afford such luxury. We are now at a threshold where Europe must opt for a wakeup to attain moral and political greatness or for the gradual but irresistible decline to insignificance (in which you can obviously also live very well for a while, but only for a while). Today, Europe has the choice. We have started this thing; why not bring it to a good end? The answer to the question asked at the beginning of this book, whether Europe is already in shambles without the possibility of a way out cannot yet be given with certainty. Deeply going repairs with a radical change in the general direction are probably still possible if we decide to do so within one, two or, at the latest three years. In my opinion, past this period there will not be much that can be done because all the family silver will be sold off (Greek ports, post offices, islands, Portuguese shipyard, etc.), and the European idea will have no longer credibility among citizens. But then again, European resilience may be stronger than I assume. In order for it to survive it will, without any doubt, not only need credible politicians but also some imagination and poetry! Get the citizens to dream again! May be even the British People could be made dreaming about Europe if the â€œcontinentâ€? gets things right.
ANNEX On 27 May, Gunther Krichbaum, Chairman of the Committee for European Union Affairs, gave a speech on the Lisbon Treaty at the Humboldt-University in Berlin, in which he stated in substance, among other things, that the European Parliament is strengthened by the Lisbon Treaty. So far, it could only give its opinion or, in some cases, exercise a right of veto. Now, it is roughly on par with the Council and the Commission and may participate in decisions. Thus, the democratic essence of the European Union itself will be considerably strengthened. But there's still something else: EU citizens will now have the opportunity to also take themselves the initiative by making use of the right to start European Citizens’ Initiatives. The Lisbon Treaty provides that, once at least one million European citizens have signed a petition, the Commission may be invited by this citizen's initiative, to pursue certain objectives which then are reflected in new acts of law (e.g. EU regulations, directives, decisions, recommendations or opinions/comments), which, in the best of cases, are then integrated into the EU legislation. These one million citizens may participate in a petition via the Internet. However they must be residents "of a significant number of Member States". This corresponds to only 0.2% of the population of the EU and should thus be easily possible. Gunther Krichbaum has a very positive opinion about the Lisbon Treaty and says: “In its ultimate consequence, the Lisbon Treaty gives the European Union once again a capacity for action. ……… Until now, European integration took place by means of the economy and especially agriculture and competition. Other areas of policy, however, clearly remain overdue. This will now change. 140
European integration must not stop there. In the past, we all too often asked whether Europe can do what it wants. The question that arises at present is: does Europe want to do what it can do? The Lisbon Treaty now creates the bases to enable Europe to better exploit its potential. This also means that Europe must concentrate on those areas that go beyond the strength of the individual Nation States - even though this [strength] may be very great.â€? Let me, the author of this book, add here that there are indeed many policy areas that go beyond the strength of individual Nation States. The current financial crisis is only the most striking example. See also: http://www.whi-berlin.eu/documents/RedeGunther_Krichbaum,_MdB.pdf Conclusion: The Lisbon Treaty is not yet the great success. On the other hand, it has some potential. In particular the citizensâ€™ initiatives could change our future. But first, the citizens should know what they want. This booklet calls on the citizens to think about this. If their thoughts lead them to gather behind the idea of a truly United Europe, then they should organise demonstrations in the streets or in important places so that politicians become aware of the new drive. If after some time a consensus emerges in several EU Member States about how Europe should look like in the future, then, this consensus could form the basis of a petition on the Internet with a million or more signatures and be forwarded to the Commission. One should keep this in mind as well.
Epilogue If this booklet achieves a certain resonance in the public, I'll be encouraged to describe my vision of Europe and how to get there in more detail than I could do it in this booklet. Meanwhile, the EU may catch up with some of the steps missed out so far but described in the first part of this pamphlet. In my opinion, a Eurotrain remains a beautiful project. The French SNCF, the Italian Trenitalia and the German Bundesbahn as well as the Benelux countries’ railway companies could gather their networks under the European flag and create a supranational railway company. Other countries could join in. If Eurostar was not already a railway company pursuant to the legislation of the United Kingdom, one could extend the model to the founding Member States of the European Community. It would be quite possible with the Eurostar e320. Unfortunately, we are now in the situation where more and more private railway companies are on the market of the European Union, which makes the system very confusing. All this is of course done on behalf of the sacrosanct “free competition”. Regarding the post offices, I am also optimistic – we could still create a Euromail if we wanted (create a mixed private and state-owned company). In particular in the euro area, this would be today relatively easy to implement and would have great symbolic value! The public service could even include the existing small private providers. Of course we cannot turn the wheel of history backwards. However, one can often make up for omissions and thus repair past damage. It is now time to act and really take care of the European projects. There is no more time to wait any longer! More courageous and imaginative politicians could achieve wonders and could revitalize our dream.
P.S.: A good collection of essays and comments on the current political, economic and financial situation of the European Union and some suggestions for solutions is published by the Les Petits matins, in the series "Alternatives ĂŠconomiques" under the title "Comprendre la crise" in December 2012 under ISSN 2117-8747
Published on Jun 2, 2014
Published on Jun 2, 2014
This booklet looks at the European idea, which now looks as if it were a long bygone dream. What went wrong? What should have been done to...