Friday October 24, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
19o C
12o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
Empty vessels

By Paschos Mandravelis

US satirist and journalist Patrick Jake O’Rourke once said about American politics, “The Republicans are the party that says government doesn’t work and then they get elected and prove it.” A similar principle seems to inspire European populists on the far right and the far left. They argue that the European Union does not work and, at the same time, they ask for our vote so as to make sure that it will not work.

Sure, every populist narrative is based on some unpleasant facts that have been decorated with a pack of lies. So the claim that the EU does not work – at least not as smoothly or democratically as it should – is of course true. The problem is that they seek to ground this claim on a bunch of conspiracy theories. It’s true that the corridors of European institutions are full of national and, in Marxist speak, lobbyists representing different social classes. But next to the office of Europe’s industrialists you can find the office of Europe’s unions; and next to the lobbyists from industrial farming you will hear the pressure groups representing the small and big European cooperatives.

The arena of political struggle is open, but the structure of the welfare state in Western Europe shows that the weak have won more battles than the strong. Sure, there have been retreats and defeats, and Europe never really became the socialist utopia that some out there had dreamed of. That said, Europe nevertheless steered clear of a Soviet-style nightmare, and it has the best welfare state systems in the world. The fight continues and, most importantly, there is nothing illegal about it.

For the past 60 years, Europe’s political class has managed to turn a battlefield of a continent into an oasis of peace and prosperity. It took endless compromises between national particularities which, before the time of the EU, would often result in bloody conflict. The price of these compromises has been complexity and red tape. Even a fishing regulation requires a great deal of fine-tuning and qualifications because states in the north and the south have different interests.

This complexity is conveniently attacked by the critics of the integration project. Although some of these complex regulations may indeed no longer serve a meaningful purpose, it is strange, to say the least, that they come under fire by the champions of national peculiarities. Critics attack the EU because it is insensitive about ethnic difference and at the same time slam the EU for being a mega-bureaucracy.

Sadly, in the runup to May’s European elections, the populists’ empty vessels will make the most noise. The question is, how many people will they manage to lure?

ekathimerini.com , Monday April 14, 2014 (21:27)  
Tension for tension’s sake?
Testing ground
Defusing a crisis
PM needs to step up
Heavy rainfall, strong winds cause problems in Attica and beyond
Heavy rainfall and strong winds led to traffic problems and short power outages on Friday as well as flooding dozens of ground-floor and basement homes and stores. The fire service received ...
Greek private workers´ union calls 24-hour strike for November 27
The country's umbrella union representing workers in the private sector, known by its Greek acronym GSEE, on Friday called a 24-hour strike for November 27 to protest austerity measures bein...
Inside News
Tax revenues up by 1 bln euros in 2nd quarter, public sector wages down
Tax revenues increased by nearly 1 billion euros in the second quarter of this year, according to data released on Friday by the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) on Friday while publi...
ECB bank assessment to show 6-billion-euro capital gap, Citi says
The euro area’s biggest banks will show a 6 billion-euro ($7.6 billion) capital gap in the European Central Bank’s tests of the quality of their assets and ability to withstand economic shoc...
Inside Business
SOCCER
Panathinaikos snatches point at Eindhoven
Panathinaikos offered its fans a glimpse of its glorious past in European competitions snatching a draw at PSV Eindhoven, on an otherwise bad night for Greek soccer in the Europa League, as ...
BASKETBALL
Greens succumb to first loss at Bayern
Panathinaikos’s unbeaten run in all competitions came an end on Thursday as the Greek champion lost 81-75 at Bayern Munich for the Euroleague. Bayern is a team that improves every year, and ...
Inside Sports
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
 RECENT NEWS
1. Heavy rainfall, strong winds cause problems in Attica and beyond
2. Tax revenues up by 1 bln euros in 2nd quarter, public sector wages down
3. ECB bank assessment to show 6-billion-euro capital gap, Citi says
4. EU says Turkey´s energy hunt off Cyprus is a a ´serious concern´
5. Greek private workers´ union calls 24-hour strike for November 27
6. Finance Minister appeals for support for amendments ahead of vote
more news
Today
This Week
1. Woman killed in tram accident in Floisvo, south of Athens
2. ECB vies for third time lucky in European stress tests
3. Clocks to go back 1 hour on Sunday
4. Venizelos slams Turkey for 'flagrant violation of international law' off Cyprus
5. Cyprus GDP upgrade seen as boosting bailout exit plans
6. ECB bank assessment to show 6-billion-euro capital gap, Citi says
Today
This Week
1. The past, present and future of the Greek debt crisis
2. Greece’s closed society is central to its current malaise
3. Coalition shooting itself in the foot
4. Greece must stick to reforms, says Schaeuble
5. At least 11 banks to fail European stress tests, three in Greece, report says
6. Cyprus to block Turkey's EU talks after EEZ violation
   Find us ...
  ... on
Twitter
     ... on Facebook   
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright © 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.