Thursday, 3 March 2011

Verhofstadt, Delors & Prodi in FT

Paul Sweeney: Jacques Delors, the sorely missed former President of the EU Commission along with Romano Prodi, also a former President of the EU Commission and the former PM of Belgium have a very thoughtful article on European reform in the FT today. If this approach were to be adopted, it would have immediate implications for troubled Ireland. It will of course take time, but it is a lot better and more democratic than some of the myopic ideas from the Merkel Sarkozy dominance.


Martin O'Dea said...

Is there not an arguement that the right thing to do is to try to revesre monetary union in orderly fashion (at least temporarily) and return to 1998 E.U. It would seem that greater political union is needed urgently (Krugman's comparison of Ireland with Nevada illustrates) if monetary union is to survive. However, a political union that is not desired but 'needed' like this will be enforced in an anti-democratic manner and would probably spell the end of the european project as so many voters would reject outright and see the financial disaster as, wrongly, a result of the largely excellent political union expirement. Perhaps until it is a fedaration of Europe then it must remain a political union of trust and sharing and trading and cooperation and not this monetary union that requires so much inflexibility and coerced commonality. If this arguement has any merit - how could it (the reversal to pre-euro europe) be done?

Paul Hunt said...

@Paul Sweeney,

Many thanks for highlighting this. It is a clear and resounding statement of the principles that guided Jacques Delors and his peers "Competition, Co-operation and Solidarity". But there is no point harking back to the political circumstances that ensured the EU democratic plurality in support of the application of these principles. Or, even worse, seeking to return to the status quo ante.

That democratic plurality must be forged anew. And that forging must recognise that the democratic plurality throughout much of the EU is supportive of the right and centre. The pragmatic, liberal, progressive centre has been pulled to the right and has been repelled by the antics of the progressive-left (who, in turn, have been damaged by the emergence of the Greens.)

It was the formal and informal coalition between this liberal centre and the progressive-left that provided Jacques Delors and his peers with the political base to advance their humane and progressive vision of the EU.

Seeking to replicate this in a new era is the challenge for the progressive-left throughout the EU. It will require an assertion of abiding values, a commitment to a rational and evidence-based balance between economic efficiency and social justice and a major change in tactics to extract the liberal, progressive centre from the snares of the Neocons and the clammy grasp of the 'stupid' right.

Paul Carroll said...

Prodi served as the Prime Minister of Italy, from 17 May 1996 to 21 October 1998 and from 17 May 2006 to 8 May 2008.He was not the Prime Minister of Belgium.