Wanted: The United States of Europe

Europeanizing Europe – Joschka Fischer – Project Syndicate.

Whatever happens in Europe, by affecting our stock market, has a tremendous effect on most Americans and their retirement accounts. Even government pensions are at least partially invested in stocks.

Joschka Fischer is German foreign minister, vice chancellor from 1998 through 2005 in the coalition government led by the Social Democrats, and former leader of the German Green Party. He makes the case for European political unity. He is calling for a form of government above governments.

I also believe that Europe needs a political structure to reinforce the economic and monetary union already existing, but the question of a political union involves at least a partial surrender of sovereignty and it is inconceivable that all 27 euro zone members will be prompt to undergo such a drastic break with European history.

Because European history is all about division and nothing about unity. Unity is a relatively new phenomenon in Europe. If we see the emergence of this supra-national government, it could be at the core of the original European Common Market: France, Germany, Italy, and the 3 members of the Benelux (Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg)

With the current crisis, even the participation of Italy is in question.

Interestingly enough, both Greece and Italy have chosen technocrats rather than career politicians to lead them out of trouble.

Just as a note, the Green Party is a significant player in German politics but its guiding philosophy is much more pro-government than the relatively weak U.S. Greens. In New Jersey, the Greens appear to advocate for a return to a quasi-pastoral type of government.

I very strongly believe that a breakup of the monetary union will have very negative consequences for the world economy. But then to prevent that breakup, Europe must move toward some form of supra-national government. To what extent that government will supplant national sovereignty while at the same time maintaining a democratic system are things that the Europeans must decide.

It would be very ironic if the embryo of a first truly European government is created by the two archi-enemies of the last 2 centuries: France and Germany.