The European Union was created under the liberal basic assumption that shared institutions and judicial patterns of behavior and relations are to the benefit of all countries. But is this assumption correct? What is required to solve and come out of this current crisis stronger than before?
First, we have to realize: There is much at stake. We are dealing with categories of numbers that are making us dizzy. According to the ruling of the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe from September 12, Germany’s top limit on liability within the ESM is 190 billion euro. Furthermore, Greece may need another cut of approximately 150 billion. Other countries may need help as well.
However, from 1990 to 2004 there has been a net flow of about 1.2 trillion euro from West Germany to East Germany. Today we are dealing with a lesser amount and we have partners to share costs and responsibility! More importantly, the euro is more than just a currency! Reducing the euro to a simple cost-benefit analysis neglects its historical and political benefits. We cannot measure the euro purely in mathematical terms.
I am convinced: To come out of the crisis, we need a European government, including a democratically legitimized Prime and Financial Minister and a movement towards greater centralized power for the financial sector, for budgetary matters and for economic policy. A recent report by the President of the European Council Herman van Rompuy points in the same direction. However, we have to avoid the development of non-legitimized executive powers or automated austerity mechanisms that would lead to a EU governed by aristocrats.
During the last decade, we have got used to justifying the need for more European unification as the only way to cope with globalization. We always underlined the fact of having no alternative. This is a blind end. We need to get back on the track of idealism! Germany has shown how (re-)unification can work within a national state. We have to go one step further now for a more united Nation of Europe without giving up the regional and cultural identities. Yes, we want more Europe, not because of the lack of alternatives, but because we really seek more!