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Europe during the crisis March 27, 2020

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Slate.com has a piece on how traffic tailbacks…

…represent an existential threat to the European Union. Amid a global pandemic, there are few Europeans to be found. Containing the coronavirus has resulted in a return to nation-level politics and closed borders inside the 26-nation Schengen Area, within which border checks are supposed to be nonexistent. Governments are allowed to reinstitute them in the event of a “serious threat to public policy or internal security”—France did so during the 2015 refugee crisis and after the November 2015 Charlie Hebdo terror attacks, for example—but the present scale of closures is unprecedented.

To argue that this reimposition of borders internally represents a ‘fracturing of the Schengen Area’ and ‘undermining the European economy and weakening its internal market as frontier workers—those who live in one EU country but work in another—find themselves shut out’ is sort of missing the wood for the trees. I’d imagine many of us on this site actually think the reduction of borders within the EU over the years is a good thing in and of itself, and would no doubt like that applied more widely. The piece notes that:

It is true that European institutions have succeeded in avoiding financial catastrophe. On March 18, the European Central Bank unveiled its Pandemic Emergency Purchase Program: a “whatever-it-takes” $808 billion fiscal stimulus package that allows the ECB to buy up public and private sector debt, rescuing companies and governments on the edge of bankruptcy. “There are no limits” to the ECB’s commitment, its director Christine Lagarde said on March 19. The next morning, the French and German stock markets opened up 5.5 and 6 points respectively.

But follows the above directly with this:

Yet Brussels has struggled to open up Europe’s internal borders and foster internal cooperation.

Again, there’s the not exactly small matter of a global pandemic.

In some ways I think this exemplifies a confusion about what the EU is and isn’t. For all the rhetoric it isn’t a federal state (and for many of us such a prospect would be anathema) and it is entirely appropriate that borders would, in the midst of a medical emergency, close as necessary – precisely in order to contain contagion. That isn’t existential for the EU, indeed one is reminded of the problems with Brexit proponents. Their jibe that the EU is always on the edge of collapse doesn’t hold water. After this crisis all the prosaic issues that led to the establishment of lowered borders etc across much of Europe will remain because there’s a basic logic to same.

There is a threat though, albeit not to the EU as such, and Citizen of Nowhere alluded to it on Wednesday evening and this is a threat to the Eurozone. As CoN notes:

But if the Eurozone is to survive this crisis, risk-sharing and collective debt sovereignty-sharing is what it’s going to take.

Comments»

1. Tomboktu - March 27, 2020

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - March 27, 2020

+1

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2. makedoanmend - March 28, 2020

+1

But there’s a much larger narrative, imo, that has evolved from the mainstream orthodoxy of market fundamentalism that has affected science over the last 40 years. Money rules science. Scientists from the university level down have been manoeuvred into becoming shills for corporations. (Universities have become de facto corporations IWA).

When the materiality of science collides with orthodox market fundamentalism, the fundamentalists simply trot out the effective message that reality should never get in the way of our freedom to pursue profit. If science suggests that something should not be done, it is portrayed as impinging upon our inherent liberty – especially the liberty to hoard capital. “How dare the do-gooders and virtual signallers suggest they can limit our freedom.”

OTOH, rarely do we hear about the freedom from the tyranny of capital these days in the MSM.

The apostles Cummings and Bannon exemplify the assault on science with their command of PR and manipulation of electronic media. Rationality is to be banished in favour of man’s command of his universe.

Trump, Marcon, Merkel, Johnson & Varadkar et. al. are simply the spokespeople in one form or another for the fundamentalists.

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WorldbyStorm - March 28, 2020

I’d hope that the sheer scale of what is happening will demonstrate how wrong that faux-libertarian argument you describe ‘how dare the do-gooders… limit our freedom’ actually is. I’d be strongly libertarian left, but there’s obvious contexts where that doesn’t function at all – crisis, certain aspects of our society day to day, etc. Attempting to frame everything (and monetise it) within that framework is a fools game isn’t it?

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