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ulrich beck on europe January 15, 2008

Posted by Bradley in : Uncategorized , trackback

Ulrich Beck at the Guardian today:

Both the federation of states and the federal super-state describe the same zero-sum game from different angles. Either there is one single state of Europe (federalism), in which case there are no national member states; or else the national member states remain Europe’s rulers, in which case there is no Europe (inter-governmentalism). Within this framework of thought, whatever Europe gains, the individual nations lose. And this is true whether one is for a given option or against it. Caught up in the false alternatives of the national gaze, we are given the choice between no Europe or no Europe.
The decline of the nation-state is really a decline of the specifically national content of the state and an opportunity to create a cosmopolitan state system that is better able to deal with the problems that all nations face in the world today. Economic globalisation, transnational terrorism, global warming: the litany is familiar and daunting. There are a host of problems that are clearly beyond the power of the old order of nation-states to cope with. The answer to global problems that are gathering ominously all around and that refuse to yield to nation-state solutions is for politics to take a quantum leap from the nation-state system to the cosmopolitan state system. Politics needs to regain credibility in order to craft real solutions.
More than anywhere else in the world, Europe shows that this step is possible. Europe teaches the modern world that the political evolution of states and state systems is by no means at an end. National realpolitik is becoming unreal, not only in Europe, but throughout the world. It is turning into a lose-lose game.
Europeanisation means creating a new politics. It means entering as a player into the meta-power game, into the struggle to form the rules of a global order. The catchphrase for the future might be: move over America, Europe is back.

And there’s an interesting set of reactions – both positive and negative. I particularly like this part of one:

The EU uses money for things that the various countries governments would not dream of spending it on, such as regional projects, culture, the arts and so on. The governments would probably just use that money to bail out banks..

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