Није прича о “братству и јединству” код куће и “несврстаности” у иностранству одржала Југославију целовитом, већ гвоздена рука њеног вође Јосипа Броза Тита којег су наследили неуспешни бирократи
Tito used debt-fueled economic growth to buy peace; when the bills came due, fiscal austerity added yet another political irritant.
So the crisis Europe faces today is not all that unprecedented. It is not merely a financial or economic one. The deeper question is how — or whether — any multinational confederation can survive in the land mass between the Urals and the Atlantic, long after the world war that originally justified it and the Cold War that helped perpetuate it. How is the E.U. to escape the fate of every previous empire and confederation in European history?
When viewed that way, Europe’s predicament looks difficult indeed.
Franco-German rivalry helped cause one continental bloodletting after another, the most monstrous of which was World War II. United Europe was supposed to tie France and postwar West Germany so tightly together, economically, that war would become impossible.
This was both a noble and, potentially at least, feasible project. But it is clear in hindsight that the authors of European unification have oversolved the original problem.
They could have had Franco-German peace without giving Spain and Finland a veto over policies that affect the German and French peoples, and vice versa. They could have had free trade and mobile capital without pretending that Greece and the Netherlands belong in a currency union.
Did the E.U. overexpand and overreach because France wanted a vehicle for its own unrealistic foreign policy ambitions? Or because poorer countries in Europe were eager for privileged access to Germany’s money? It hardly matters now.
The fact is, Europe is stuck with this confederation, yet it is no longer solvent, politically or economically.
Short-term efforts at muddling through occupy the continent’s politicians. But they are pushing against tectonic forces that are shifting against the E.U., just as surely as similar forces ground away at the Holy Roman Empire and Yugoslavia.
There are only two ways forward. One is breakup; though not likely to be as bloody as the Yugoslav meltdown, an E.U. collapse, even a gradual one, would impoverish the continent and leave a toxic residue of nationalist rancor.
The other choice, of course, is to follow the perennial prescription — “more Europe.” The only cure for the ills of today’s relatively loose confederation is a tighter one, it is said.
What this means in practice, however, is the surrender of more national sovereignty to Brussels, to include, for the first time, elected parliaments’ loss of control over basic financial decisions.
Nor will this cession of power be symmetrical: Germany and other wealthy nations will determine the new rules of the game and debtor nations will follow them — not uncomplainingly.
United Europe’s future, if it has one, looks more austere, more contentious and — above all — less democratic than its present. And I repeat: This is the optimistic scenario.
Lane is a Post editorial writer, specializing in economic policy, financial issues and trade, and a contributor to the PostPartisan blog.