2014 will be a crucial year in the development of the European Union. The elections for the European Parliament taking place in May will offer the possibility for the European populations to give their verdict on the policies by which the European Union has responded to the crisis.
The language reflected in objective figures is very clear and cannot be mistaken: the policies of austerity inspired by a neo-classical approach have resulted in an exacerbated social polarisation in Europe, both within societies as well as between states. We are living a Europe in which not only the numbers of those unemployed are surging, but also poverty and lacking security are spreading and where the gulf is widening further between the poor and the rich, but also a Europe in which an irritating hierarchy is manifesting itself between the member states of the European Union. In the European south the crisis has triggered particularly drastic effects, bringing some societies to the very brink of a humanitarian catastrophe.
A Europe that is deformed by such outrageous social inequality and unsymmetrical distribution cannot function.
The political consequences of these developments can be seen in all the countries in spite of them taking different shapes everywhere: An increasing level of frustration vis-à-vis the process of European integration is accompanied by a shaking of trust in democracy in general and its capacity to guarantee social control of economic processes.
Thus Europe finds itself at a crossroads. What we are witnessing today is a crisis of trust between major parts of the populations and the institutions. Putting an end to European integration would not only mean abandoning the idea that there is a way-out but also conjure up the danger of renewed sharp nationalist rivalries. Bringing that back to our minds 100 years after the outbreak of World War I is by no means irrelevant.
Yet, both European integration and the policies of the governments of the member states require a change of direction in the sense that priorities have to be given to questions of democracy and social issues as presented in the EuroMemorandum of 2014, available now. The EuroMemo is edited by the group European Economists for an Alternative Economic Policy and is supported by more than 300 economists.
Like last year, transform! europe has taken on the responsibility for the production of the printed versions of EuroMemo in English, French, Greek and German.
Thus we hope not only to provide a useful contribution to the European debate on social, economic and ecological alternatives but also to help the development of a broad political movement towards another Europe and a change of the balance of power in its favour.
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