Are Finances Alone Enough to Unite Europe?

posted by Ida B. Wells IV @ 15:07 PM
September 18, 2012

   Is there anything other than economic unity that seems to hold Europe together?  And are economic interests alone strong enough to maintain that Union, or is the Union itself a myth that may accommodate cross-continent travel, and the economic interest of generally northern European countries?

In ‘Where’s Charlemagne When We Need Him?,’ Isitvan Deak asserts “The trouble is that the European Union (EU) presently exists mainly for its elites––politicians, businessmen, professionals, academics and top students––who can cross borders with ease.”  Thus, economic class is still Europe’s great divider.

Deak goes deeper: “It is not yet the Europe of the vast majority of people who have trouble with languages and for whom finding employment abroad is quite difficult. . . . Archduke Otto Hapsburg . . . warned that economic cooperation alone would not satisfy the peoples of Europe and that European unification could not succeed unless it was imbued with an abstract principle.”

The Archduke said that only a mystical movement, such as the Holy Roman Empire, can give Europeans enough euphoric hope and renewal to overcome “the pernicious effects of local interest, chauvinism, xenophobia and racism.”  The Catholic Church insists it is the EU’s spiritual force as a precursor to re-establishing that Holy Roman Empire.  But its scandals, and low numbers in church attendance do not inspire hope.

Because some EU countries, such as Spain and Greece, now sink deeper into economic depressions, their people go to other nations in the ‘Union,’ looking for work, only to find two barriers: 1) They cannot speak or understand the language of their ‘host’ country; and 2) The ‘host’ country selfishly ostracizes them as unwanted vagrants, only there to prey upon the ‘host’s’ wealth.

All of which is evidence of a lack of collective concern in the EU––i.e. unless nations have past ethnic or cultural ties, most have little sense of concern about how events in a nation 1,000 miles across the continent affects them.  And, as with Greece, too often the sentiment is if nations don’t conform to EU rules––simply put such trifling countries out of the ‘Union.’

If what holds Europe together is purely financial connections, leaders of individual nations do not understand why they must give up sovereign rule over their countries just to borrow funds from EU financial institutions.  They had assumed such loans would be based on usual promises to repay.  Trusting Germany and other richer nations, these leaders apparently never imagined that these loans would mean wealthier nations would rule over them.

If only they had been taught historical books of the Old Testament which warns:  “The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender (Proverbs 22: 7).”

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