Some thoughts on the European Union project after the Greek NO vote:
1. I voted YES to the European Union myself in the Swedish referendum in 1994. At the time, with the knowledge and understanding of a 21yr-old, it seemed like a logical thing. I loved the multicultural, bridge-building, transnational aspects of the EU, and didn’t understand the economic aspects much back then.
2. I think the EU deserved the Nobel Peace prize for peace it was given in 2012 “for helping to transform Europe from ‘continent of war’ into ‘continent of peace'”. It has been a stabilizing force for the fragmented Europe for a long time.
3. But is the union still relevant? Everything has its time. Today’s challenges are very different from those in 1950, when the EU seeds where sown as the European Coal and Steel Community formed. In today’s truly globalized world; does it make sense to build walls around a chunk of our planet, where only some goods, services, people and money can move freely? Countries have always entered partnerships, collaborations and alliances with each other, but none of these have lasted, so why would this one?
4. Perhaps my biggest concern with the union is the old question ‘Cui Bono?’, i.e. ‘who benefits’? And more importantly ‘who doesn’t?’.
5. Meso systems such as the EU might be a stepping stone to new global, distributed systems. Many of us work in creating a global connected network of local, thrivable communities. The challenge in that work (to me at least) is that the difference between the micro (local community building) and the macro (global network weaving) seems so huge, and it’s hard to work simultaneously on both (and find sustainable value exchanges in both). Perhaps meso systems like the EU can actually help here? EU for example funds Edgeryders, one of my favourite transnational changemaker communities.
6. Would I vote yes to the EU again today?
Probably. My intuition says yes.