OPINION

The abduction of Europa

For Greeks — at least many, though not all — the people who are responsible for the demise of this country are — not only mainly, but exclusively — the Germans. This arises from public opinion polls as well as from the tone of much of the media: derogatory, unsparingly generalized, mocking and mean-spirited. For the Germans — at least many Germans, though not all — the people responsible for the discombobulation of the European Union are — not only mainly, but exclusively — the Greeks. This arises from public opinion polls, as well as from the tone of the media: derogatory, unsparingly generalized, mocking and mean-spirited.

Through all of these difference, this rivalry, we can still see the similarities. The rhetoric is the same, as is its purely emotional basis, there is an equal lack of interest in self-criticism, both nations are identified with their leaders and both resort to trite stereotypes: the ?idlers? of the south who have learned to live like ?parasites? on the one hand, and, on the other, the German ?bulldozers? who want to ?rule the world.?

What lies between these aphorisms I know not. I can only assume that it is not the Europe ?of nations? or the EU of ?understanding and solidarity,? because we know that these belong in the realm of myth rather than in history, like the princess Europa, snatched from the coast of Phoenicia by Zeus after he took a fancy to her and transformed himself into a bull.

Of all the different roots that have been suggested through the ages for the name of the continent, the one that seems most unlikely today is that arguing that the etymology is from the ancient Greek words for ?wide-open eyes.?

Europe has shown us that neither its eyes, nor its mind, nor its heart are open, given that its every expansion has been the result of micro-economic or micro-political calculations and not the result of some grand vision for the continent. It is now also abundantly clear that it has been neither open nor democratic in its operation. Its fate is determined by power hubs (now, for example, by the Merkel-Sarkozy hub), which, taking advantage of the fact that too many heads can lead to destructive indecision, have given up even pretending to care about democratic cooperation, especially as they see their power growing beyond the control of the European Parliament.

Instead of being haunted by a red ghost, Europe became the ghost itself. And this is how it will remain for as long as economics substitutes politics and the only religion is the laws of the markets, which, moreover, are formed and imposed by others mightier than the European Union.