it has to date. 20
Along similar lines, Ulrike Guérot seeks to build on the federalist ideals of the EU’s founding fathers, arguing that such changes cannot be brought about by national leaders. Instead, she argues that what Europe needs is a European republic created by and for a truly European citizenry. By contrast, Yannis Varoufakis, the former Greek Finance Minister, has proposed to democratise European economic governance through the creation of a European Investment Bank that would encourage spending and investment rather than austerity. 21 Whatever
The Eurozone crisis, Brexit, and possible disintegration
Peter J. Verovšek
integrity of the EU itself. The suffering brought about by the austerity that continental institutions deemed necessary to contain the concurrent financial, banking, and sovereign debt crises that roiled Europe exploded the welfare-based justifications of the classical narrative. These fiscal challenges also opened deep divisions between the rich, financially stable member-states of ‘the north’ and the less economically developed, crisis-ridden countries of ‘the south.’ As a result, nationalistic antagonisms and rioting spread across the continent, threatening both the
rebuff calls for greater solidarity and financial assistance from Portugal, Ireland, Spain, and Greece. The northern narrative against bailouts held that the south needed to suffer the pain of austerity in order to learn the lessons of past profligacy.
Over the course of the crisis this seemingly principled narrative has become less instrumentally attractive. Although Germany profited from the early stages of the crisis as a result of greater investment and low interest rates on its sovereign bonds, the economic downturn in other member-states eventually started to
Eurozone,’ affecting not only the states that share its common currency (the euro), but also the EU as a whole. 4 Far from spurring further cooperation, these issues have caused citizens across the continent to turn inward, away from the EU and back towards the seemingly safe harbour of the nation-state.
The problems radiating from the so-called Great Recession arguably reached their zenith on 23 June 2016, when the United Kingdom, driven by English nationalism and neo-imperial dreams of a ‘Global Britain,’ as well as a backlash against the austerity imposed by the
Eurosclerosis (1959– 84) and the second phase of integration (1985– 2003)
Peter J. Verovšek
Jürgen Habermas ,’ Constellations , 21 : 2 ( 2014 ), 213 –221 .
110 I. Krastev , ‘ The Age of Populism: Reflections on the Self-Enmity of Democracy ,’ European View , 10 : 1 ( 2011 ), 11 –16 .
111 A. Koronaiou , E. Lagos , A. Sakellariou , S. Kymionis , and I. Chiotaki-Poulou , ‘ Golden Dawn, Austerity and Young People: The Rise of Fascist Extremism among Young People in Contemporary Greek Society ,’ The Sociological Review , 63 : 2 ( 2015 ), 237 ; W. Streeck , ‘ The Crises of Democratic Capitalism ,’ New Left Review , 71 ( 2011
find the necessities and satisfaction of life that they don’t
want to leave it’ (III: 904). For in addition to preventing luxury this system
would also ensure that ‘the whole world lives and nobody enriches himself’
It has been argued that all of Rousseau’s subsequent ideas were contained
in On Political Economy. One might equally argue that all his mature
thoughts reached their zenith in Projet du Corse, where he combined his
Spartan romance for rural austerity, a concern for the poor, a realist
understanding of international relations – and an understanding
Melancholic dispositions and conscious unhappiness
4 In doing so, the UK is attempting to follow in the footsteps of Bhutan, which has
an official Gross National Happiness (GNH) index, whose principles otherwise
stand in stark contrast to those of the UK, based as they are on equitable social
development, cultural preservation, conservation of the environment, and the
promotion of good governance. Indeed, it is hard to imagine how a government
committed to brutal austerity economics can at the same time promote a