15 Sep 2013

EU Federalism Undergoes Radical Soul Searching As Reality Dawns Clear


Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso gave his state of the Union address 11 September 2013. Besides the expected cheer for his waning Federalist cause he hints at a new normal for the European project.

 “Let me say this to all those who rejoice in Europe's difficulties and who want to roll back our integration and go back to isolation: the pre-integrated Europe of the divisions, the war, the trenches, is not what people desire and deserve.

Does everyone still remember just how much Europe has suffered from its wars during the last century, and how European integration was the valid answer?

Does anyone seriously believe that, if the euro had collapsed, we or our Member States would still have any credibility left internationally?

I recognize: as any human endeavour, the EU is not perfect. Let's make no mistake: there is no way back to business as usual. Some people believe that after this everything will come back as it was before. They are wrong, this crisis is different. This is not a cyclical crisis, but a structural one. We will not come back to the old normal. We have to shape a new normal. We are in a transformative period of history.”
Is Europe turning the corner away from crisis and the Federalist agenda. Winds of change are 
upon us says Commission president Manuel Barroso. Its time for a New Normal.
Image from Martin Nangle series Dutch Landscapes 2009 -2011
The political maze, that is Europe’s character, has left Chancellor Angela “Mutti” Merkel and the new Germany as the undisputed champion of European economic and political thinking.

Results to date from the existentialist financial crisis have spoken. Germany is back to where it was before the crisis began in 2008 while the rest struggle to keep up.

In peace, prepare for war. In war prepare for peace.  In this case war and peace is boom and bust.

So where we are now just days before Merkel is ushered into a third term as German Chancellor and de facto guru for the European Union.

We are divided as ever. For some, economic reforms are working and in a short few years we’ll reap their benefits. For others we are merely papering over the cracks and as the financial juggernaut resurfaces from the policies of quantitative easing a second coming is foretold:

The darkness drops again but now I know
 That twenty centuries of stony sleep
 Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
 And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
 Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?    

If the Federalist movement accepts the need for a new normal, then exciting times are indeed ahead. 

 Surely some revelation is at hand;
 Surely the Second Coming is at hand.  W. B. Yeats