Hey, Hermann, what’s that thing with the big ears doing over there by the translation booth?
Here’s the thing. The current crisis in Europe isn’t just a Greek or German or Irish or Portuguese problem, it’s a European one. Our economies are so integrated, and not just through the euro, that there is now such a thing as a European interest. Yet there is no one actually responsible for dealing with “Europe” as a whole. Chancellor Merkel (rightly) worries first about her German electors. Taoiseach Kenny worries about his Irish ones. Same with prime minister Papandreou and president Berlusconi and president Zapatero. No one is looking at the sum crisis as it affects all 500 million of us.
Europe is going to have to address the fact that there is no one at the top table worrying about what voters in Galway and Gstadt are thinking, and as long as we fail to incentivize some guy or gal to worry about those voters, we’re not going to see any European leadership.
And there’s more. If we do start heading towards a Eurobond fiscal (almost typed fecal there. How Freudian!) union type scenario, I’m not sure that I, even as a committed European integrationist, will be willing to vote for it if the democratic thing isn’t worked out, and that means me walking into a polling station and deciding who I want to be president of Europe, not Angela and Nicolas over dinner.