Friday, October 29, 2010

Future Governance of Europe. Nations, Feudals or a Federation?
Our leaders have gathered in Brussels to discuss, or rather argue on how to handle the current crisis. They rarely agree on anything and never take our opinion into consideration on whatever they agree in their summits in Brussels, even though it directly affects us.

The truth is that even though they want to keep the E.U. as a single Market and a place to trade, they do not really want to hand over the reigns of their countries into a new political union that is emerging in Europe.

The problem in our continent today is that we do not know what we want to do with it. We do not know how to manage our resources, how to cooperate with each other and how to work collectively.

And if we take into account the political reality in every nation, that is each dominated by a rich established elite, then it is clear to see that Europe is being ruled by elitism. Both on European and national level.

But that is not much different from the times that our nations were ruled by oligarchs or feudal lords. The difference is that today they are not land owners that govern us, rather rich bankers, businessmen, technocrats and marketers. It is not land they are offering for our hard work, but goods and services.

Our elites' interests are not necessarily our nations' interests. In a globalized world, the nation state is generally an outdated idea for those who thrive from the global market. And some of them have accumulated so much wealth, that are able to influence national governments, or even threaten their very existence. Yet through media manipulation, they are persuading us that what is generally good for them is the "good of the country." 

In the globalized economy, a free and independent state can not really exist unless it becomes another Cuba. Once you enter the Markets and become an open economy, there are certain rules you must abide with, in order to keep receiving credit. Thus your "independence" is relative.
Another factor that influences European politics, is that our continent today still bears the marks that WW2 has left behind. Our political, social and economic models were established on the aftermath of the war and our collective ideology and culture have also their roots there. Our political elites were established around the same time and reflect the ideology and politics of that era.

Global players influence and dominate now the policies that small nations follow, or large multinational organizations like the EU are promoting. That is what our political and economic capitalist system is dictating,a free open market and an overall neo-liberal agenda.

And to achieve that, this system has established in every country that wants to be part of it, a political and economic elite that is coming together, cooperating with the elites of other nations. The only thing though they agree on is that they have to preserve this system. Who is going to receive the Lion's share is what dominates European and global politics.

In Greece like in many other countries, we have two or three main political parties dominating and ruling the country. Political dynasties that have been established after the great post war shake up, that are somehow still relevant in our political and social psyche. But for how much longer?

The squabbles of many countries in Europe today, still reflect the overall attitude that one nation had for the other during or after the war. This political reality is very damaging for our future and for any effort to progress and reform.

The E.U. was created as an initiative of one group of European leaders and thinkers, during the '50s. They envisioned a Europe that would never see another war again. Today the European governments have long left this track and are focusing in making our continent a great market, but for the benefit of their "national" interests. They generally lack any collective vision for the continent. Each country represents simply it's own interests.

Many great motto exist like "United in diversity", "Europe for the people", to add prestige to the "European project." But you only have to wait until a crisis or an EU Summit to see the lack of unity or any consideration for the interests of the ordinary citizens of Europe.

The main power that rules the E.U. still lie with our national governments, plus the strong industrial and financial lobbies of our continent that they represent and serve. The Euro-Parliament has not the authority or jurisdiction to make the EU fully democratic and federal. These powers are being passed to the unelected by us EU Commission, or the EU Council that is all our governments put together.

In fact what EU is right now, a fine mess of the combined effort of all our governments, to control, shape, and influence the policies that apply to all of us in Europe. There are strong business lobbies in EU and in our countries individually, whose interests are placed above the common good of the people. Our leaders are often placing their personal aspirations above Europe's common future as well.

The funny thing is that the same people who despise EU and call it undemocratic, are the same ones who do not want to see it democratic, by proceeding to some kind of federation. When we try to implement reforms that will push with its democratization as an institution and make it transparent to its citizens, they protest in fear of losing their national interests. In many cases their actions simply mask theirs or some rich individuals' personal interests.

What do you want your country to be? A small feudal state that is controlled by rich European or national oligarchs, or to belong to a federal Union of nations that can decide on their affairs united, be more powerful and less susceptible to manipulation? Both from inside and outside of your nation's borders.

It is decision time for us as citizens, but also for our leaders and leading elites. Our actions will influence the future of our continent and our future generations, so we've got to be responsible.I am afraid that we have no other alternatives, in a globalized world.

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