Monday, October 22, 2018

Habermas: "EU caught in a trap?"

On September 21, 2018, Jürgen Habermas delivered a speech at a conference in Bad Homburg on "New Perspectives for Europe". An abridged version of his speech is now available at the website of "Social Europe":

"“New” Perspectives For Europe"


"If you in the end ask me, not as a citizen but as an academic observer, what my overall assessment is today, I’ll have to admit to failing to see any encouraging trends right now. Certainly, economic interests are so unambiguous and, despite Brexit, as powerful as ever that the collapse of the eurozone is unlikely. That implies the answer to my second question: why the eurozone still clings together: Even for the protagonists of a northern euro the risks of separation from the south remain incalculable. And for the corresponding case of a southern state’s exit we have seen the test case of the current Italian government that, despite loud and clear declarations during the election campaign, has immediately relented; for one of the obvious consequences of leaving would be unsustainable debts. On the other hand, this assessment is not very comforting either. Let’s face it: if the suspected link between the economic drifting apart of the eurozone member economies on the one hand and the strengthening of right-wing populism on the other hand in fact holds, then we’re sitting in a trap in which the necessary social and cultural preconditions for a vital and safe democracy face further damage. This negative scenario naturally cannot count for more than just that. But already common-sense experience tells us that the European integration process is on a dangerous downward curve. You only recognize the point of no return when it’s too late. We can only hope that the rejection of Macron’s proposed reforms by the German government has not been the last lost opportunity."

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