The expansion of Europe to incorporate some of the formerly communist countries is a contentious issue for its governance. A commitment was made in 1997 to expansion, including the fast-tracking of Estonia, Hungary, Poland, Slovenia and the Czech Republic. Along with the proposed adoption of the Euro, this decision was met with skepticism on one hand and applause on the other. Integration brings up issues of economics, sovereignty and cultural identity. The fall of communism gives us great opportunities to spread the dream but leaves a vacuum in the justification of the EU.
Again people from different perspectives are forced to define the future of Europe they want and believe possible. Dominique Moisi sees negotiable barriers to a successfully expanded union, to rival the power of America. Tony Judt uses socio-economic counter arguments and a historical perspective to indicate a shift back towards the nation state. The title of Tony Judts essay "Goodbye to all that" refers to his view that in post-cold war Europe we must say good bye to the dreams of a more inclusive expanded EU. Judts main argument is based around the economic problem of expansion.
He says (para 14) that it would cost 20 Billion DM a year to include the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary. He says these would be "unpopular burdens" for any treasury. He quotes Jane Kramers words "the idea of Europe had been moving only as no-one suffered from it". ' He concludes that the only financially viable way forward is a two tier system, new members could not be taken on with the same terms. TMA 01 Dan Whittle U5236871 DD200 P. 2 The second part of his essay describes some economic and political trends which he says have undermined the EUs feasibility.
He argues that in the boom time of the 60's it was easier to get support for the dreams of the EU. He describes how since the 70's oil crises and the reformation of Germany the economic successes of the post-war period have cooled. Judt says the immigrants became a perceived threat to the poor and politicians scrambled to "recapture the political initiative". He cites the election results of Le Pen and a growing Neo-Nazi movement in Europe.
Judt talks of a shift in the mainstream psyche since 1989. He quotes 1994 Euro-barometer polls which show identifying with a nation uniquely is a majority feeling amongst Germans, Danes, Spanish, Portugese and British. He says the failure of the family in the modern world fuels an individuals attachment to the state. He defends the present day nation state saying it is "modern and well adapted". Moisi starts his analysis of the EU with criticism over its handling of Kosovo.
He feels that a confederation built on the threat of war should be better equipped to deal with it on its own doorstep. Here his argument, which is common throughout the essay, is that the EU needs more power to be more relevant. If the EU could establish its own military reaction to wars like Kosovo, it would be more relevant to the people of Europe. Moisis conclusion is (para 7): "What kind of sovereignty has Europe achieved when sovereignty is not accompanied by ultimate responsibility". Moisi writes about monetary union, enlargement and institutional reform as unequivocal "goals" (para 5).
Whereas Judt seems to view them more as options to be tested and debated. Moisi talks TMA 01 Dan Whittle U5236871 DD200 P. 3 about them with a sense of inevitability which shows he is emerged in the EU dream. He describes problems which are to be overcome, not impassable barriers. In terms of enlargement, Moisi criticises the EUs rejection of applications from Turkey and the "Engage or Contain" policy on Russia. He hints at a "selfish" motive in the rejection of less applicants who do not fit in terms of religion and budget. He hints at the idea that the more we give to these nations, by way of assistance and friendship, the more we will receive in the long term. The third problem Moisi confronts is identity. He points to a similar sacrificial path as with sovereignty. He points towards states loosing characteristics which do not fit in with the vision of Europe.
He acknowledges diversity between and within states though – and indicates that within the EU regional diversity will flourish as the state identity diminishes. "To negate them in favor of a monolithic identity, as do those in France… is to fight a loosing battle. " The now common `multi-layering' concept of identities, whereby a person can be Welsh, British and European at the same time is cited as the key to integration. Judt identifies the poor civil rights record of some Eastern block countries (namely Hungary) as a barrier to integration in para 15.
He identifies one of the key counter-arguments himself, that historically states have improved after being admitted to the EU. Moisi refers to Spain and Portugals "solidity, stability, or the vibrant modernity" in the EU. He also mentions that the accession states "already behave as if they were members of the club". Perhaps more importantly he reminds us not to make enemies by rejecting applicants ad hoc. TMA 01 Dan Whittle U5236871 DD200 P. 4 The Eurobarometer results fail as a convincing back-up for either argument. Judt uses them to show a reemergence of the state as a
unique part of our identities, while Moisi tries to prove the opposite. Certainly they show a good deal of Euro-skepticism in any EU member state. 62% of British identify with their national heritage only. Only around half of all Europeans polled said EU membership was a good thing in 1998. The role of the state in the identity of the individual is as difficult a thing to assess as it is to change. But it seems Moisi is getting his way. Since these articles were written, some major progression has taken place. The turn-out to EU elections was poor, but so were those for the national parliament.
MEPs have seized a lot more power away from beaurocrats, though there is a long way to go on the democratic deficit. The Euro has come about, with residual currencies all but disappearing within weeks. The `inevitability' feeling has spread to even the most right wing politicians in terms of enlargement and pooling sovereignty.
Moisi had a harder job in trying to persuade us in the benefits of something in the future, whereas Judt had all of the mistakes of the past to draw on. Moisi still believes in the original dreams of the EU, and Europe is full of people with the willpower to defeat the problems defined by Judt. MEPs are well aware of problems like the failure a two-tier system would be, and they are working on solutions. Extremist nationalism is identified by Judt as an indication of a shift in politics to the right. It should instead be seen as the return to a liberal culture where extremist views are tolerated, but extremist actions are not. The majority will not mind giving up sovereignty if this means more prosperity, and eliminating regional pockets of poverty which breed the intolerance and extremism the EU stands united against.