OPINION

What kind of Europe?

… In essence, what US President George W. Bush said at the Bundestag recently was that for the USA, the only acceptable form of European integration is economic integration; the only acceptable European security framework is the NATO alliance, and the only acceptable European enemy is any American enemy. Stripped of any vacuous rhetoric, Bush’s speech highlighted the basic contours of Europe’s concerns: Does the Continent really aspire to integrate? Has it transcended, or, rather, is it mature enough to transcend, the borders which have led it to so many bloodbaths in the past, or does peace on the Continent come with Europe’s subordination to the USA? And if it meets the requirements for cooperation and unification, is there a reason for Europe to play a leading role globally or is the European Union better served by American hegemony – which is, anyway, not oppressive? This is, indeed, the core of the European question. For those who see a need for a truly integrated Europe, those who seek something more than a merger of Europe’s stock markets, there can be only one answer… The world’s geopolitical focus is gradually shifting toward Asia. So is the US focus. In this light, only a unified Europe can hope to play a leading role. However, political unity does not mean dealing with asbestos, garbage dumps, and subsidies. Above all, it means being able to identify a common European enemy in the absence of any third parties – including the USA…