How to avoid Europe’s disintegration

Krastev_disintegration_468wIvan Krastev at Eurozine:

On the European level, a new paradox has also emerged as a result of both the European crisis and the situation in Ukraine. In recent years we have witnessed the Europeanization of broad policies while we see an emergence of a renewed national sentiment on the nation-state level. Citizens across Europe are beginning to feel frustrated with the EU. You can see how solidarity and borders can be redrawn. Germans are not ready to do for the Greeks what they did for East Germans in the 1990s. What is more, Germany's approach to Greece was not a decision of one government or one party; there was a general consensus in Germany towards Greece. And this sentiment is not limited to Germany, but most of the EU states as well.

In his 1992 book The European Rescue of the Nation State, British economic historian Alan Milward argued against the thesis that European integration would break up the nation-state. Indeed, European integration re-legitimized the nation-states. Since one of the outcomes of the Second World War was the collapse of the nation-state, integration brought back legitimacy to these nation-states. This was generally the case since about ten years ago with the success of European integration in Central Europe, which highlights the fact that many of the problems that we face today are not a result of failure, but a result of success. This is why it is so difficult to respond to these problems.

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