Monday, September 12, 2011

Europe is Not in Decline

by Juliette Kando

I have just come from Amsterdam via London, back to Southern Spain and I do not see a decline in Europe apart from perhaps fewer Real Estate agents in Spain. Generally the people in Europe are almost as fat as in America, they drive new cars, I do not see any beggars or poor people. In Holland house prices have risen by 30% since last year! Yes everyone moans about the "economy", but isn't that to a great extend just talking about the news?
I repeat: The news bears little relevance to the reality we see around us. How can we, educated middle class Westerners moan about hard financial times when our bellies and shopping malls are bursting at the seams? I don't get it.

Collapse of the EU?
This is the kind of statement you find in the media: "Because of the economic crisis, there is a threat of re-nationalization and the collapse of the EU."
The people of Europe need time to get used to being interested in a unified Europe. It takes time to let go of nationalism, to cease caring only about your own country. It will take one or two more generations for all Europeans to "feel" European. But we sure won't go back to passports, visas, different currencies and more stringent export and import rules.

Never Been Done: What Europe has done has never been done before: They have conquered a vast territory without colonizing or making war. Instead they said to all the poor countries around them like Spain, Eastern Europe etc:
"Get your act together, and then you may qualify to join us." Brussels doled out billions to Spain to ameliorate Spanish infrastructure, highways and airports. Southern Spain is now the "Florida of Europe". West Germany has painlessly absorbed the burdens of its Eastern poor sister. My Slovenian friends spend their winters here working. They don't need a work permit. Most Europeans, especially the younger generation couldn't conceive of things going back to the old ways, it's impossible. We still have a long way to go, but the idea of Europe going back to individual nations is preposterous.

To Sum Up: I believe that with strong long-term planning and learning from past mistakes Europe is going to be fine. We, Westerners could more readily accept the positive sides of Arab culture and recognize our own faults. Then, give or take a couple of generations of intercultural communication at grass roots level, we'll all find a way to live together happily ever after. At least until the Martians come. leave comment here