vendredi 31 août 2012

Europeans, too different to agree *

 
         Than the gap between the economic performance of EU countries, it is the cultural gaps between the Europeans who are the main obstacle to the creation of a truly homogeneous community. It is therefore not surprising that we have so much trouble to build it.
        
Many have tried to unify Europe. All there are broken teeth: Attila, Charlemagne, Napoleon, Hitler. The latest attempt is that of the European Union. Which has not made Flamberge wind, Europe has become, since the end of WWII, continent pacifist, but harmless means such as goodwill, common institutions, laws and regulations .         
 The euro is the last and probably the most daring of these initiatives in favor of a unified Europe.
        
The origin of modern European political project, even if the focus has been on since the beginning of the economy. Community coal and steel industries was to leave for the war in the context of the nation-state to prevent new conflicts.
         National economies were to meet in a single market without borders and gradually converge towards each other.
        
The project was not based simply on the supremacy of the economy but also on the idea that economic rationality would allow the emergence of a common understanding in other areas in order to create a set that looks like United States of Europe.

The most complex region of the world.

        
The economy has undoubtedly played a decisive role when it came to Europe in the shelter of the war, and in this sense, European cooperation has been a great success since 1945.
        
Economic cooperation but not enough for what we build today, the euro crisis teaches us that this cooperation has its limits, which are actually historical and cultural. Because Europe is undoubtedly the region of the world that is more complex.
        
In a space small, more than 300 million people are trying to form a union when it is not necessary to go far to not understand what the other is saying, to find people who eat and drink things that we do not know who sing other songs that celebrate other heroes who maintain another but also with respect to time, other dreams and other demons.
        
But underlying these differences are never or rarely mentioned. Are masked by a discourse in which all Europeans appear naturally welded to the rest of the world, while a Swedish will probably have more in common with a Canadian or a New Zealander with a Ukrainian or Greek.
        
It is likely that this is primarily due to our cultural differences - not political or economic - that European history is littered with war and violence, starting with the most terrible wars that humanity is known, and which were at the bottom as European civil wars.
        
Yet it seems that all this is forgotten or repressed. Or unknown. So that the European discourse that we used daily - the flag, Beethoven, Eurovision ... - has little to do with our European reality, he should rather be pure propaganda for a project that will not hear about cultural differences or mental, which are yet far deeper than our financial or material differences.

The Europe we do not want to believe.

        
In reality, it was not until the European crisis to open the eyes of the gap between rhetoric and reality. To our amazement, the crisis has shown us people who never paid taxes, which felt that others had to pay their debts to their place of despotism and accusing those who tended their hand. We did not know the existence of such Europeans and we do not believe it.
         This is the reality, and this is long as it lasts.
Who, outside experts, knew a year ago what clientelism? I have a friend who is a minister of Croatia since the beginning of the year.          This is not a ministry of leading, but still. I asked how many permanent staff are on the list of employees of the Ministry. Five cents. Five hundred? It seems a lot for a country like Croatia. How many employees would you need to develop the policy it intends to pursue?
        
The answer sounds like a thunderclap: thirty. "And you're thinking to dismiss the other 470?" Minister looks at both empathetic and mocking the north of the Alps simpleton that I am (without blond provided). No. Because she did not want to play with his life.          Especially since she has a son who goes to school on foot every day. And an accident can happen so quickly. Even when my girlfriend has left office, nearly 500 officials will continue to make every day in offices that do not exist to do a job that does not wait. They affect only wages exist in the real world.
        
That looks like our Europe. And note that the North is not strange that the South East that is not less than the West, and vice versa. It's all about perspective. Europe is neither more nor less than a honeycomb extremely fragile, composed of specific cultural, historical and mentally. No European really looks like another. And yet, we prefer to see a Europe not as a beam but as a honey pot, ready to eat.
___________________________________________

* Article by Richard appeared in the newspaper Dangens Nyheter in Stockholm on 22 August 2012.

* Richard Swartz is a Swedish journalist and writer born in 1945 in Sweden. Based in Vienna since 1976, he has long been the correspondent of Eastern Europe Swedish daily Svenska Dgbladet and worked in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and Süddeutschde Zeitung. Since 2009, he writes for the editorial pages of Dangens Nyheter. He is the author of several books, including "Room Service, (Essays, The New Press, 1998) ", a collection of stories that have been translated into several languages.

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