Description - German Europe by Ulrich Beck
The euro crisis is tearing Europe apart. But the heart of the
matter is that, as the crisis unfolds, the basic rules of European
democracy are being subverted or turned into their opposite,
bypassing parliaments, governments and EU institutions.
Multilateralism is turning into unilateralism, equality into
hegemony, sovereignty into the dependency and recognition into
disrespect for the dignity of other nations. Even France, which
long dominated European integration, must submit to Berlin?s
strictures now that it must fear for its international credit
How did this happen? The anticipation of the European catastrophe
has already fundamentally changed the European landscape of power.
It is giving birth to a political monster: a German Europe.
Germany did not seek this leadership position - rather, it is a
perfect illustration of the law of unintended consequences. The
invention and implementation of the euro was the price demanded by
France in order to pin Germany down to a European Monetary Union in
the context of German unification. It was a quid pro quo for
binding a united Germany into a more integrated Europe in which
France would continue to play the leading role. But the precise
opposite has happened. Economically the euro turned out to be very
good for Germany, and with the euro crisis Chancellor Angela Merkel
became the informal Queen of Europe.
The new grammar of power reflects the difference between creditor
and debtor countries; it is not a military but an economic logic.
Its ideological foundation is ?German euro nationalism?
- that is, an extended European version of the Deutschmark
nationalism that underpinned German identity after the Second World
War. In this way the German model of stability is being
surreptitiously elevated into the guiding idea for Europe.
The Europe we have now will not be able to survive in the
risk-laden storms of the globalized world. The EU has to be more
than a grim marriage sustained by the fear of the chaos that would
be caused by its breakdown. It has to be built on something more
positive: a vision of rebuilding Europe bottom-up, creating a
Europe of the citizen. There is no better way to reinvigorate
Europe than through the coming together of ordinary Europeans
acting on their own behalf.
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Publisher: Polity Press
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Author Biography - Ulrich Beck
Ulrich Beck is one of the world s leading sociologists andsocial thinkers, well-known for his best-selling book RiskSociety. He is Emeritus Professor at Munich and Professor ofSociology at the LSE.
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