sexta-feira, setembro 24, 2004
O Estado da União
Artigo na Economist.
In 2004, a continent that had been wracked by war for centuries can look back on almost 60 years spent largely at peace. A continent that lay in economic ruins in 1945 is now prosperous as never before. A continent that in 1942 could list only four proper democracies is almost entirely democratic. A continent that was divided by the iron curtain until 1989 now enjoys free movement of people and common political institutions for 25 countries, stretching from the Atlantic coast of Portugal to the borders of Russia.
The people who run the European Commission in Brussels like to believe that this golden age of peace and prosperity is directly linked to the rise of the EU. Yet this view is often contested. Peace in Europe, it is argued, could equally be credited to the presence of American troops on European soil, and prosperity to the same causes of economic growth as in the United States or Asia, such as rising productivity and increasing trade. As for freedom, the revolutions in central Europe and Spain, Portugal and Greece were not led from Brussels.
Indeed, say critics of the EU, far from promoting peace, prosperity and freedom, it now threatens all of these achievements. In Britain, for example, Eurosceptics see a direct threat to British self-government and democracy in the many laws emanating from institutions in Brussels over which the British electorate has no control. In Britain and elsewhere, critics also argue that the EU is increasingly responsible for a tide of unnecessary regulation that is engulfing the European economy. And some believe that its overweening ambition may end up causing exactly the sort of conflicts that it has been seeking to eradicate. Martin Feldstein, an eminent American economist, has argued that the launch of a single European currency could cause political tensions culminating in war.
Over the past decade Europe, a continent often accused of sclerotic caution, has displayed a daring political imagination that has produced a run of successes. Javier Solana, the EU's foreign-policy chief, explains: ?Our philosophy is jump in the pool, there is always water there.?
The trouble with that kind of philosophy is that it can eventually lead to a nasty accident, and indeed the European project looks increasingly troubled. Economically, the EU is falling further behind the United States, and can only envy the dynamism of China or India. Politically, its members have been at each other's throats over Iraq, the management of the euro and the constitution. Perhaps most dangerously of all, the EU is plagued by a lack of popular understanding and enthusiasm.
posted by Miguel Noronha 2:16 da tarde
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