Two-speed Europe

  • Italiano

We should not think that during the twenty years of Bric European Community has been motionless. It is true: in the early years of this decade the constituent process stalled. It is also true that the response to economic crisis arrived culpably late, to the point that it took more than thirty European Councils to get to July 2012 and Mario Draghi’s famous “whatever it takes”. He saved the eurozone from ‘implosion, paving the way to go back to normalcy’. But in both cases, if we read carefully what happened, nation states obstructed the achievement of the objectives. ‘As if intergovernmental interests constantly subtracted oxygen and vital forces to Community integration. Therefore, it is an easy task for me to answer those who ask me if we need more Europe or less of it in order to overcome crisis definitively. Results will be seen if the States step back.

When they have no alternatives because they have been putting off things for too long and not the house is in flames. Or – and that would be better – when they understand that privileging the interests of the community is convenient also for them in the long run. Suffice it to think once again of the national resistance the ECB had to cope with before launching an ambitious program, whose effects may turn out to be decisive for resuming economic growth (“Quantitative easing” for instance). A program that, as Eugenio Scalfari often argues during his Sunday reflections, implies and at the same time consolidates a European integration policy strategy that seems to be the most ambitious of our times.

Therefore, we certainly need more Europe. In a world that has changed so profoundly, where our location is less central, we can only keep those European values that are dear to us alive and make them influential if we stay united. Democracy and human rights, fight against discrimination, solidarity and welfare, workers’ defense and respect for the environment and for landscape, to name just a few of them. That is why it is so important to stay on the path of European integration, which, I repeat, has never really stopped during the last twenty years. Sacrificing it would be like deciding to give up on a flight across the Atlantic Ocean when you are already halfway there. It will take us the same effort to fly back and to reach the goal. A bad joke. You cannot stop you, you are in the middle of the ocean. So, you only need to move forward. Because, even though you know it is hard, the very fact that you have come this far shows that you can make it.

So, this is the time to affirm strongly that Europe has to proceed at two speeds if it wants to reach the finish line. The speed of the united twenty-eight, where Britain is actively and convincingly on board. And the speed of the eurozone – nineteen –, which has to share stronger institutions, have a single budget and a single fiscal policy. This had been my opinion for a long time and I became even more certain of it as I spoke at Chatham House, UK’s influential place of reflection on its foreign projection, in 2015. The two-speed formula does not sound like heresy and may allow us to curb Britain’s temptation to disengage, which would be obviously a disaster for the general perspective of a politically united Europe in the decades to come.

Taken from Going Together, Going Far

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