ROUTE EUROPA
     
Paul Klee: Polyphony, 1932. Click for page with more paintings and icons.

link to dynamics in Europe

It is fascinating to have knowledge of elevations and dark sides of Europe, to share views and perceptions about (apparent) prosperity, earnings and to reflect on the future of our space and our place.

It is actually even more fascinating to work (1) on policy and decision making processes, to enter platforms where spiritual, cultural and artistic, literary, intellectual discussions and debates in the social field are conducted, to expierence faces, drives and motivation of authorities (1) who are delivering substance to effect a good society (2) and our civilization.

This text is a fragment of the lecture 'ROUTE EUROPE', which is about dynamics in Europe and covers route of princess Europa, European societies, money, economy, politics, European institutions and my personal way to and views on Europe. Greeks developed values as freedom, truth and beauty and Romans laws. Faith and love arose from Christianity. Also Germanic, Slavic and Celtic cultures, the influence of secular humanism since the European Renaissance and a characteristic such as the focus on science and technology and its ability to create and to generate new processes, materials and material combinations contribute to our civilization (3).

 

There are uncountable dynamic developments within European societies to bring under the spotlight, which enhance involvement and contribute to the promotion of prosperity and welfare. But to increase involvement is not easy. National interests and people do not always have a primary sense of belonging to Europe that transcends their own living conditions. "What have I to Europe" is definitely an essential question. But contrast may also be wondering what motivations are to join.

Europe, a concept from Phoenicia, probably lived during the youth near the land of the Biblical places Tyre and Sidon (4) (now Lebanon) to the Mediterranean Sea. Daughter of a royal couple. Kidnapped to Crete and brought beauty as well as misery. A myth, the Occident, a union of nation states and of citizens and the name of a continent, an environment of diversity of cultures, hybrid and especially unsteady.

Barbarism, virtues, wars, values, revolutions, emergence and decay of cultural and artistic, literary, intellectual, political movements (5), revolts, periods of boom and downturns, conflicts, fortitude and setbacks have always been and still makes part of the way people of Europe are living. Of influence of these dynamics is, amoung other things, the Franco-German rivalry, which has existed from far before August 843 (Treaty of Verdun) and subsequent divisions of the Frankish Empire.

But even now, Europe falters again. From the spirit and movements derived values and virtues have greatly declined in importance, acquired successes gradually evaporate or have already been lost, and within a few years, multiple crisis did arise. European societies have forgotten the real significance of the elevations and achievements or did forget to use the password adequately. Only material prosperity (consumerism) was still pursued, which now also is at stake. And, if not enough, there will be loss of influence on becoming increasingly assertive parts of the world, making Europe the New World now more necessary than the other way around; roles are changing. Is it the punishment of Nemesis?

'Át particular times a great deal of stupid people have a great deal of stupid money ..... At intervals .......... the money of these people - the blind capital, as we call it, of the country - is particularly large and craving; it seeks for someone to devour it', (Walter Bagehot
)

If Europe
wants to continue, the continent should first work together to decrease the severity of the crises. Yes, there are several crises: a financial, economic, and political and a crisis in confidence. In September 2008, Lehman Brothers collapsed. Europe has flown off the road. Societies are now in a period of much debt and there is danger of mutual contagion. Issues are complex and there is difficulty to get the future on track.

Causes of the major financial crisis, which began from the credit crisis end August 2007, is the presence of too much liquidity in relation to too low interest rates and human behavior, inability to properly see connections between macro-and micro-economic developments, the lack of real political will of surplus countries to support deficit countries and of deficit countries to adjust to living standards, lack of prudent management and inadequate supervision, leaving a debt within the eurozone of eur 8.2 trillion, from which it is expected that there is no notible decrease in 2016 (German Council of Economic Experts).

It is now about policy of control and muting of debts.

 

The financial crisis has hit the real economy, resulting in shrinkage (falling wages, rising unemployment (in Greece, e.g., has been a youth unemployment rate of about 54%!), falling house prices and values of securities portfolios, declining trade and contractile retirement benefits). Stimulating growth and increase of earning capacity are now on the top of agendas. Already in 2008, the politics regularly discussed how the crisis could be overcome: proposals, (com)pacts, reports, minutes of meetings and packages of measures to achieve an improved system of economic and financial governance. These agreements, treaties and laws have, by the complexity of the crises and tenacity of national governments to their interests, not yet led to sufficient intended effects.

 

The crisis of confidence comes in large part through "muddling through" from politics, by which desired economic results did not (fast enough) occur and crises are worsened and by positioning and mentality of companies and institutions, who have put in place market fundamentalism, strong price increases, loss of quality of products and services and reduction of associated service.

 

Work will need to be done in the direction of creating prudent and just administration. Does Europe have sufficient spirit, imagination and ability in order to make and rebuild viable societies, to formulate and implement achievable common goals? Is there a realistic route to devise a viable Europe?

 

Expansion and desire to unite Europe is found in Alexander the Great, the Romans, France (the Carolingian Empire and Napoleon) and Germany (Holy Roman Empire, German Empire and Third Reich). Another example can be found with the Ventotene Manifesto (full title "For a free and united Europe. A draft manifesto") drawn in 1941 by Altiero Spinelli and Rossi Emesto.
Also after World War II that urge to unify was present, albeit under pressure from the Marshall Plan. West European nations founded the Council of Europe ('49), united European countries themselves economically and politically ('48), was the Common Agricultural Policy introduced and the planning and implementation of a common currency.
Besides, c
lear rules were included for foreign and security policy and closer cooperation in the field of justice and home affairs. In 1992 there was also agreement to set up a space of freedom, security and justice and of an Economic Area.

 

Thus much has been achieved over the last 60 years. The continent built, partly because of the collapse of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, a society based on peace, freedom (which concepts, despite the Balkan War in 1995 and most recently the war in 2008 in Georgia, were accepted for granted in the course of time) and especially on material prosperity. But a large movement, a common identity or unifying factors by which the majority of society can feel at home, did not occur.

 

Montesquieu in "De l'esprit de lois" 1748 has already discussed: "and the issue to form a European spirit is located mainly in how the identity of a community, state or nation is understood, shaped, manufactured and maintained and appreciated. There are numerous factors that are part of such a spirit: religion, history, law, commerce, culture, morals and manners".

 

If Europe wants to stay a player on the world stage than the following conditions must be met: a strong economy, presence of unifying factors in which the majority of society can feel at home, a solid foreign, security and defence policy. What next? Are there still opportunities left? Should it come, for example, to a 'Congress of Brussels' (following Congress of Vienna) with the aim institutional reconstruction of Europe and political, economic and social reforms? New systems, structures, methods and rules? Are there choices? And is Europe still in a position to choose? Or is it a faltering project as claimed by Jürgen Habermas and Frits Bolkestein? A fundamental rethink is needed and matters in Europe will first get worse before they get better. What counts is internal stability and ability and will to adapt to the new world order with BRIC, MKIT and CIVETS countries (6) or still more poverty (2008: 78 million in 2011: 115 mln.).

 

Whether it comes to capitalism, socialism, liberalism (7), conservatism, individualism and nationalism or even democracy, another reality is currently developing. This reality include the importance of reforms, cuts and boosts, in which countries are divided into levels of their effectiveness and extent of equity. Is it about more or less integration or more integration but in a smaller Europe? On solidarity versus solidity? Or is it possibly also on finding a different balance of price level of labor, goods and services within the eurozone, because this is a softer solution than that the problem countries should bear a period of deflation.

 

In early May, Martin Schulz (President of the European Parliament) said: "With the EU budget, Europe can still stronger emerge from the economic misery. The euro is a project to unite the peoples of Europe. The selfishness of some Member States, the ignorance of some leaders and a lack of empathy, can make the euro a symbol of division, which threatens the whole European project. We need solidarity, responsibility, vision, leadership and - most importantly - unit. Growing poverty can bring the worst in people. Let's be optimistic, it's not too late. Finally, Europe shifts its course".

 

During a small, flexible, informal and off-the-record international forum May 2012 issues were discussed about 'the European political landscape', 'imbalances, austerity and growth' and 'sustainability of the euro and its consequences'. In June Merkel called for a 'political union' to save the euro. In a report by Herman van Rompuy on the euro to forge a stronger union, proposals are given for a fiscal union, economic union, bank union and political union and Barroso told the European Parliament during the annual 'State of the Union "that a more federated direction is needed".

 

Maynard Keynes published an article "The Great Slump of 1930" in which he the world described as "the shadow of one of the greatest economic catastrophes of modern history. We have involved ourselves in a colossal muddle, having blundered in the control of a delicate machine, the working of which we do not understand".

 

The past few years HoSG's delivered a series of declarations and agreements to strengthen economic governance and the governance of the euro area and were many agreements signed. This year:

  • there were elections in France, Greece and the Netherlands;

  • refinanced Italy 300 billion;

  • the way was paved for the ESM, a permanent financing program for the rescue of Member States of the European Union in difficulty and which is, together with supervision and a European deposit guarantee scheme, part of a Banking Union;

  • undertook the ECB actions to support the standardization process and the functioning of the euro money market (the 'longer-term refinancing operation' of three years) and recently to buy 'unlimited' bonds from sensitive countries and also to sterilize (8) this action.

In the coming years 1,800 billion is to refinance and end 2015 and must the with Greece agreed measures be implemented.

'Europe', at present also called transfer union, and in the mean time learned to focus on taking action on short term as well long term problems, has now indicated direction:

  • the growth strategy "Europe 2020", which focuses on smart, sustainable and inclusive growth through digital agenda, renewal, youth, resource efficiency, industrial competitiveness and boosting skills and jobs growth;

  • a European Semester for economic policy coordination (starts with Annual Growth Survey);

  • a Euro Plus Pact that focuses on competition, employment, public expenditure, financial stability;

  • macroeconomic surveillance of excessive macroeconomic imbalances in exports versus imports, TARGET2 (intra-euro payment), balance of payments (deficits on the current account balance versus surpluses on the current account of the countries like Germany, that their competitive position strengthened);

  • a treaty for a European fiscal union, fiscal compact (9), which should provide for balanced budget rules and that these rules also be anchored in national legislation.

Why is there a need for political authority? The Spirit of the Laws Montesquieu 1748: 'In a free state every person who posesses a free will, has to manage one's self-control. Legislature would then laid down at the people. But seeing that something like this is in large states an impossibility, and even in small states many difficulties are met, the people has to appoint representatives who must do all the people itself can not'.

 

It's time to press refresh and reset buttons and to go into the right direction. Time to adapt policies to the new reality. Is it a start from 2014 to make the European Commission part of the Council of the European Union? And that Europe only undertakes cross-border projects and which serve common European interest? And what kind of polity?

 

The Lisbon Treaty provides the tools necessary for the development of a European area of freedom, security and justice, for the opening of new opportunities to refocus EU policies in these areas, in the interests of EU citizens. The co-decision procedure with the European Parliament and a qualified majority in the Council of Ministers, is now the rule for new legislation.
Judicial review
is completed, both concerning the Court of Justice and the national courts. Our EU Charter of Fundamental Rights is finally, after ten years of existence, legally binding and on par with the Treaties. The EU is now able and is at work to join the European Convention on Human Rights.

 

Spinelli,  in favor of a federal Europe, said: "The modern civilization has pointed the principle of freedom as a basis, a principle which means that people are not merely a tool to be used by others, but an independent center of life.
To take this road
is not easy nor certain. But this must be followed and so shall it be".

 

Is direction of more federation the way? In any case, necessary is will, convergence, cooperation, congruence, unity, coordination, implementation, compliance, democratic legitimacy and parliamentary control and oversight. However, associated shifts in (national) sovereignty in combination with further integration and effectiveness will certainly be called into question. Some steps towards more federation have been put and the idea was given a broader base. For possible further development are important the German parliamentary elections in September 2013 and the 2014 European Parliament elections, which provide an opportunity to create a political union.

 

The European Union is a union of democratic states that itself is a democracy too. In half a century, the EU has evolved from a union of states into a European democracy. Let we together face the challenge to make it a living democracy. A democratic Europe for citizens, educated and with faith in progress thinking. A Europe with economic growth with the support of Europe 2020 strategy through the next (r)evolution by means of a digital agenda, new energy and innovation, such as low carbon vehicles. A Europe with solid infrastructures. A Europe with spirit and a broad movement, common identity or unifying factors in which the majority of society can feel at home so that our interaction rises again. A Europe with modern social structures, systems and regulations, where youth are involved. A Europe of solidarity and tolerance, with a comfortable political ideology, and good forms of public administration (10) with sufficient space to dynamics of entrepreneurship. Europe as a hub. A Europe where everyone thinks along and participates to enlarge viability.

 

Nexus Institute reports that "there is no euro or EU needed to be European. It is a mindset, an ideal of civilization, the culture needed to cultivate spiritual values, so that danger can be avoided".

 

Globalization has shaken the world and consequences show and confronts with numerous challenges. Multilateral systems and social models are in trouble, amoung other by aging populations and increasing competition from low-wage countries. There is a need for guiding visions and ideas, knowledge and ways for the settings required for free, fair and effective global governance. This year, the European Commission declared the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations. The Commission also recognizes the long-term program "Europe for Citizens". The purpose of this program is to bring Europe closer to its citizens and to enable them to fully participate in the European construction. Through this program, citizens have the opportunity to be involved in transnational exchanges and cooperation to promote the development of a sense of common European ideals and encouraging the process of European integration.

 

Europe works intensively on the solution of the crises. The idea to lift the direction and concept to a larger and more robust whole is present or aspects of it are already realized. Concepts such as more federated direction, better monitoring, more democracy, stronger economy and creating jobs are increasingly rising and likely more commonly accepted. I emphasize the hope that all governments, legislatures and communities can leave the way of a narrow mind in favor of holistic insights that lead to a reasonable life, both socially and economically as in terms of the humanities (11). Or, as Herman Van Rompuy emphasized: "We need to look higher and wider (...). We must convince people that the European interest is a matter of our interest. In the long term, the biggest challenge for our Community. The answer is not "back in the fortress Europe." We need to stay an open, aggressive and innovative continent".

 

On 18 and 19 October, there was a European summit where Van Rompuy's interim report on the master plan for the future of economic and monetary union was on the table. During the European Summit, mid December 2012 the report will be discussed more intensively. Is the direction towards more federative governance for countries in the eurozone?


Klee: Polyphony, 1932. Klee (1879 - 1940) was a German / Swiss painter making figurative paintings with a balanced color technique. His work belongs to the modern art. In 1920 Klee was appointed professor at the Staatliche Bauhaus in Weimar. He met Vasily Kandinsky, founder of a small group of like-minded artists in Germany.
In the
second and final exhibition of Der Blaue Reiter in 1912, Klee was represented with 17 works . Surrealism, cubism, abstraction are terms of European art movements which may apply in his paintings. His work is classified by expressionism. Klee had much influence on modern art. Especially the Cobra art, a European art movement of the late 40s of the 20th century,was influenced by the work and by the ideas of Klee.
(1) During EU Presidencies to share perspectives at conferences on the future of Europe, to participate in meetings of the European Commission in the presence of Neelie Kroes, to visit Nexus Institute where moments arose to talk with Sonia Gandhi, George Steiner, Jurgen Habermas and Ismail Serageldin, to go to CEPS (the Centre for European Policy Studies) where George Soros early 2008 has explained (the consequences of) the credit crisis, Kostas Karamanlis spoke about the future of Europe, Jerzy Buzek gave a speech on a common energy_policy, Christine Lagarde led to a stronger position in Europe for SMEs, and where Barroso, Van Rompuy and Martin Schultz report, to expierence Greek Power Summit in Athens where Steve Forbes attended a meeting on helping Greece rebuild, to share knowledge and insights during the Aspen Ideas Festival, to attend the Washington Ideas Forum where amoung many others Joe Biden, Henry Kissinger, Madeleine Albright, Alan Greenspan, Timothy Geithner, Dick Cheney expressed and adressed, and to be present at the annual awards dinner of the Aspen Institute in New York.
(2)
A group of people in which there is interaction, where polyphony is present, who share an environment, where common feeling prevails, where participation, influence, integration and fulfillment of needs and emotional ties are a part, as well as live, work and a place such as a library, cafes and other places that create social capital that is needed to promote sense of connectedness.
Community development
is often promoted by NGOs and universities. With further development personal and cultural values are formed, a worldview and attitudes `with respect to larger society.
(3) arts, (including
Gothic and baroque) not only in architecture like Carcassone and paintings like the Sistine Chapel, but also music (masterpieces by Mozart), new dance (hip hop, breakdance), literature, discoveries, equality, respect for the reason, intellect and feeling, use of philosophy, together with the four cardinal virtues Prudentia (prudence - understanding - wisdom), Justitia (justice - righteousness), Fortitude (courage - strength) and Temperance (moderation - self control) as depicted by frescoes in the old Apostolic palace in the Vatican State, are from European civilization evolved human values and virtues.
These values
and virtues are a synthesis of spirit of the Greeks, Romans and Christians, and developments from the time of the Gothic, Renaissance, baroque, humanism, the Enlightenment (Age of Reason) and Romanticism as Romanticism.
(4) places had repented (Matt. ch 11, verse 21 and 22), making Judgement Day will be more tolerable
(5) Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Romanticism, Communism and protest movements like Occupy, The Zeitgeist, Indignado's
(6)
Pan Europe (Balkans, Russia, GUAM), Turkey, USA, BRIC, MKIT, civets countries, MENA, rest of the world (including the Palestinian territories, Israel, Pakistan and Iran). MKIT: Mexico, Korea, Indonesia and Turkey. Civets: Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey and South Africa
(7) Friedrich Hayek's classical liberalism that besides freedom in economic behavior also pays attention to the ideal of civil, political freedom in the broadest sense or Popper's neoliberal that is limited to the first
(8) to manage the amount of money in circulation (M3) and so to keep pace with the value of all goods and services produced is also spoken to sterilize, ie the monetary impact of this action by neutralize redundant created money
from the market. The M3 may grow by adjusting 4.5% (2% desired inflation, 2% the previous volume growth of the economy and 0.5% technical adjustment related to the velocity of money)
(9)
In 2013, the approval of the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union; Also Referred to as TSCG or more plainly the Fiscal Stability Treaty at EU level. The European fiscal union refers to the planned enhanced cooperation between the states of the European Union in the field of budgetary policy.
In a
fiscal union, the Governments of the participating countries, take their decisions on spending and taxes jointly. With regard to the European fiscal union, such decisions on one side are interpreted, that countries that fail to comply with the fiscal discipline and which the common in the Stability and Growth Pact agreed budgetary discipline violated will lose some of their sovereign powers. Others see in a fiscal union convergence in the area of tax policy, social security and labor legislation. On December 9, 2011 all EU countries voted except Britain with severe restrictions on public spending, including automatic sanctions for countries that break the rules. The final treaty must to March worked out and signed
(10) Natural enthusiasm and inspiration, holisitic insights, capable to enter alliances, level of authority, the 4 classic western merit:
- prudence (wisdom, good sense)
- justice (sense of fairness)
- temperance (selfcontrol) and
- courage (strength, perseverance, pride)
(11)
languages, history, philosophy, musicology, cultural studies, art history, theology