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The Face of Fragmenting Europe


Two stories today (h/t OpenEurope) point to the realities of political life in the EU in these trying times.

First up is the news that Silvio Berlusconi has lost his appeal over tax evasion charges in Italy. This long-running saga could stretch out even further; Berlusconi could appeal one more time, during which time the statute of limitations on the original charges would kick in. But the immediate effects of the ruling may be felt by Italy’s government. Berlusconi’s party joined a grand coalition with Enrico Letta’s Democrats at the end of April, and the FT reports that Letta is facing the prospect of the left wing of his party splintering off as Berlusconi’s party faces uncertainty. The possibility of a rudderless Italy is not heartening.

Second is the IPSOS/Publicis poll (warning: French language!) from earlier this week. The poll is an eye-opener as to how pessimistic the European public has become and is worth leafing through in full. The following statistic is the most striking, however: 57 percent of Germans and 53 percent of Italians thought that being in the EU was a handicap for their countries.

Unfortunately, that is the face of today’s EU: the financial hardship and political infighting caused by the euro failure are poisoning life in both debtor and creditor countries. Europe must make changes to survive. But that does not mean developing an even more elaborate and powerful dysfunctional central bureaucracy.

[EU fracturing courtesy Shutterstock]

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  • Jim Luebke

    The United States only became United under “predator pressure” from European powers.

    Europe has no such motivation. Why should the peoples of Europe give up their sovereignty to foreigners with different values (different as Italy and Germany) just so the continent’s elites can gain more power and wealth?

  • Lorenz Gude

    Actually I think the percentages will have to get higher than that before the Euros force their tormenters to desist.

  • Stacy Garvey

    The Euros are going to keep struggling along from crisis to crisis because their elites will never give up the dream. They’ll enjoy, like Japan, a couple lost decades before they limp into obscurity or implode altogether. They just don’t possess the cultural energy to take on the kind of reforms necessary to either make the Euro work or let the project go. Rock meet hard place.

    • Pete

      Well said, Stacy.

      If Europe was a stock, I’d short it.

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