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May 9 European Day in an emergency situation
Before the European Day of May 9, marking the anniversary of Robert Schuman’s Declaration in 1950 – celebrated this week – important elections took place across Europe. Let us start with France. Electors have chosen François Hollande as their new president. Now we have to wait for June’s legislative elections, with the risk of a coup de theatre caused by the extreme right. The parties in power in Greece, responsible for the country’s dramatic economic situation, were heavily defeated, with no glimpse of an alternative on the horizon. In the coming days we will know if a national union government is possible or if the country will further plunge into chaos. The first round of the presidential and parliamentary elections in Serbia can be viewed, with all the necessary precautions, as an affirmation of the Europeanist will of the Serbian population. However, European fervour seems to have subsided. One of the two candidates to the second round of presidential elections declared in the past that he prefers that his country becomes a Russian province rather than a member of the European Union. Finally, the results of the elections in the most northern region of Germany, Schleswig-Holstein, represent a further enfeeblement of the coalition chaired by Angela Merkel. The chancellor is unquestioned at federal level, for the time being, also considering that the opposition is unable to come up with a clear alternative for the good of its constituency. On the contrary, with the new success of the Pirates Party, introducing the Internet within the political realm, just as the Greens had introduced environmental issues thirty years ago, a greater number of shades colour the kaleidoscopic picture of the political parties. What is the lesson to be learned from this situation of emergency in Europe? Moreover, beneath the appearance and the deceiving image of the parties in power, which continue riding the wave of left-right divide, a new political framework is coming to the fore. At present it still remains in its undefined form, but it won’t take long to emerge. It will cause widespread confrontation between two parties: a national and an Europeanist one. These two parties will be the point of crystallization around which other political formations will be shaped, representing the springboard of political debate. The national party will voice opposition to a federal Europe characterised by the establishment of a federal government, an efficient army and a parliament that votes the budget and has the faculty of raising taxes. Conversely, these will be the claims of the Europeanist party, based on the rejection of nationalized monetary and commercial policy, along with European immigration provisions and the common market. This opposition will spark off gruelling political confrontation, with no space for indecision. In fact, all citizens will be required to take a stand. On the basis of the famous distinction between mysticism and politics introduced one hundred years ago by Charles Peguy in his masterpiece "Our youth", it’s possible to identify the strong and the weak spots of these two parties. The weak spot of the national party will be its politics, since in the era of globalization national solutions are bound to be insufficient. Its strength will be its mysticism. National belonging represents a strong point of reference for almost all citizens. It represents a central aspect of collective identity and it echoes the sacrifice of all those who contributed to the shaping of the nation through revolutions, insurrections and civil wars in the past centuries.
09/05/2012 - Stefan Lunte - Sir Europe (France)
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