Saturday, May 24, 2014
The European election, a remarkable achievement
In a few hours time, I will be voting in the election for the European Parliament, together with millions of citizens in the European Union. Despite the enormous problems that the Union faces, the election itself is a remarkable achievement, as has been acknowledged by Paul Krugman. He argues that an alarmingly high fraction of the vote is expected to go to right-wing extremists hostile to the very values that made the election possible, and he is probably right. But Europeans citizens everywhere are safer, more prosperous and freer because of the existence of the European Union. A continent devastated by war and nationalism in the XX century and earlier has decided to make progress in peace and cooperation. Countries want to join in and only one of those who are in, out of 28, has doubts about staying in. People from other continents risk their lives to join us. The success so far has been enormous: with a handful of the world population and 25% of world GDP, the EU concentrates 50% of social expenditure. The fall of the EU would make all of us poorer and more vulnerable to all kinds of disasters. The nation-state is obsolete and Europe needs to make progress toward a closer, more democratic union. The Roman Empire lasted for one thousand years, and we are just starting a new kind of large political organization. We must do everything in our hands to guarantee the success of this notable institutional experiment.