Europe – the Final Countdown or Resurrection Time? Reclaiming the European Project
This was the situation in Europe when the financial crisis knocked at its door for the first time at the end of 2008, followed by the outburst of the sovereign debt crisis in the eurozone in 2011, a general economic decline and a disturbing increase of unemployment, especially youth unemployment in the peripheral countries of the eurozone. Since then the European Union has been staggering like a punch-drunk boxer just before the knock-out. Is the great European project down for the count? Does anybody care? Does anybody understand why they should care? Citizens (at least some of them) have turned into recalcitrant ‘indignados’ or vote against their national political establishment and against the EU’s austerity measures, as recently in Italy, with serious consequences for the rest of Europe, or they vote with their feet, as many thousands of Portuguese have done during the last years who have tried to find a new future in former Portuguese colonies as they do no longer see a future for themselves at home. These are tragic developments for Europe.
In 2014 European citizens can elect their representatives for the European Parliament for the 8th time in history. The year 2014 will be a historic year for Europe as it marks the beginning of the First World War 100 years ago, the ending of the Second World War 65 years ago, the beginning of the peaceful revolution in Eastern Europe 25 years ago and the ‘Eastern enlargement’ of the EU ten years ago. Will it become the year of a new beginning for Europe or will it go down in European history as the year that marks the beginning of the dismantling of the European project?