In the interest of its citizens, the European Union, or at least core areas such as the eurozone, need to become effective and democratic, but we are still waiting for the Copernican revolution among our national political leaders, who still ”own” the EU.
Without their leadership, many point out increasing hostility among populations towards the integration project of these leaders.
In some countries, the people have been forced to swallow the bitter pill.
In other states, they have been constrained to foot the bill.
Little wonder that there is animosity in the air. This narrows the margins for the governments, as long as they remain within the straitjacket of their own design.
Those who wish for the death of the euro currency and the demise of the European Union rejoice. Even if total victory may remain elusive, they can still hope for major gains, such as defaulting countries, the eurozone splitting, election losses for more or less pro-integration governments and increasing discontent.
As long as the conceptual and practical limits of democracy are set at the national level, the ill-wishers can evoke that they have the numbers on their side, in all or at least most of the countries.
Until this day, the domestic leaders have not redefined the battleground.
Perhaps it is too much to ask from the current heads of state or government with national mandates to show the same level of continental vision as the founding fathers of the USA did, when the thirteen former colonies were still small specks on the map of the East Coast.
Game-changing progress is seldom made by those who are a part or a cause of the problem. Profound political reform does not start by commanding majorities.
How many where the philosophers of the Enlightenment?
Europeans need security and prosperity in a global environment. Effective powers at the continental level need to be democratically legitimate at the same level.
I do not know how long it will take for these simple truths to sink in, or transforming leaders to emerge.
I am reasonably sure that core groups have to take the lead.
Still, there is no place for despair, only impatience.