Monday, 6 July 2015
What future for Europe after Greece?
One of the earliest political campaigns I got involved with was Radical Youth For Europe back in 1974, a pro-Common Market campaign run the then quite radical Young Liberals. Just 16 and having left school the idea of starting to bring countries together appealed. Of course then it was a very different "beast to the EU today and we'd been kept out of it by the French for many years.
Old enmities die hard it seems.
The modern European Union is much bigger of course. perhaps too big for where we as a a collection of different peoples should be.
Don't get me wrong I still think uniting Europe is basically a sound idea and without wandering into the realms of science fiction would be a first step to eventual world government. Mankind just isn't ready yet.
All the evidence suggests that even a wider and greater European Union will not be achieved in this or even the next couple of generations. This is the result of the growth of both nationalism and an economic divide that was not fully addressed as the EU moved to expand and centralise.
In Britain we have seen the rise of UKIP in a backlash against immigration and the rules imposed on us Brits by Brussels. This has been aggravated by separatist parties gaining momentum in Scotland and Catalonia. Other more ugly nationalisms have grown in France and Hungary in the forms of the National Front and Jobbick.
This situation has been further complicated by the growth of Islamism which presents an ever present threat in most European countries as the Muslim community grows and a large section within that is clearly being pulled towards fundamentalism.
Combined with the rise of anti-Semitism , a factor ignored by most observers crooning about the No vote in Greece where a recent survey showed that 85% of Greeks believed that "Jews" had too much economic influence.
The fact is that the No vote in Greece will put Europe into a period of turmoil which will be accentuated by the UK when it holds a referendum on whether to remain in the EU. Current polls (if you can trust these things following the general election) show two-thirds will vote to keep Britain in.
But that could change so easily if the Germans in particular mishandle the Greek crisis.
The drama will unfold in due course.