Cause and Effect in European Politics and Law

What can be heard from Europe?

Adelina Marini, February 24, 2010

The European Union is something big, in every aspect - in terms of a market, population, even in terms of geographic definition. But it is not unified - it consists of many big, medium and small states, united in one. This is the reason why the citizens of these countries, who are both national and European citizens, find it difficult to raise up over their daily problems and take a view from the top to see what is going on in the EU. They find it even more difficult to realise that they have a role in what is going on.

This view from above gives an opportunity to hear the points of view from all ends of the Union - from Britain to Bulgaria and from Greece to Sweden.

What can be heard?

The common rumble is murmuring - in some places it is louder, in other - weaker. On the one hand the Greeks shout that they have been abandoned, they are accused of being deceitful, that they are on the brink of default and this cannot go on like this. On the other hand - British, Germans and French murmur that no one is obliged to pay solidarily for other people's mistakes, especially when they were warned about these mistakes. In Spain and Portugal people just clench their teeth and stand bent over, hoping the storm will pass by and they might survive.

In the same time, literally, the storm not only did not pass by but hit hard one of the most economically active sectors of Portugal - the touristic centre Madeira. In other parts of Europe people fight with snowstorms, floods. And still, the moment has not come when in the middle of the summer we will have to take account of what's left of this year's crops.

What is being heard from Bulgaria, you ask?

It's not worth telling. However, the general impression is that obviously Bulgarians are not quite aware of what union they are part of. They behave as if nothing in a European and global context has not changed - not only in the last 2-3 years since the beginning of the crisis, but for the last 20 years! They deal with little intrigues every day, with media coverage, with constant reminder of the priorities on which nothing ever is being done.

And the truth is that such a behaviour leads to the questions which Toni Barber (Financial Times' Brussels correspondent) is asking in his comment today: "this challenge may appear only distantly related to the immediate problem of how to pull Greece back from the brink and stop the 16-nation eurozone from falling apart. But in fact this is part of the broader issue: "To pay for Mediterranean countries or to accept the end of the euro?” asks Joschka Fischer, former German foreign minister. “This question alone makes it quite clear what this is about. It is about the future of the whole Europe project.”"

And why this is about it? Because, let me again remind you - we have undisciplined Greece which spent as much as it could and now it's time to pay the bill but the country relied that since it sat on the same table with the rest from the Union, they will share the bill. But no - everyone pays for what is consumed. In the same time Spain tried to pass a social model of its own, in spite the discontent of its partners from France and Germany, and now - it also got the check. The same goes for Portugal, Ireland. The latter was so happy that it was the Kelt tiger that it believed itself and decided that this would go on forever.

I can't stop wondering whether Bulgaria is a factor so that I could incorporate it in these deliberations. The voice that it is prevails because, although the country is not a member of the eurozone, it is a member of the EU and it, on its part, is an economic union with rudimentary institutional bodies. This means a lot and just to illustrate it I will give you the following example: imagine you are part of the team of the world champion in football but you can't play football. When this becomes evident at an important international game, what do you think will happen? The whole team will burn, not only you. And afterwords it would be too late to find out who is to blame for the failure.