Non-fiction – society, biography, and literary and cultural history

Claus Offe
Europa in der Falle

© Suhrkamp Verlag, Berlin, 2016 Claus Offe: Europa in der Falle © Suhrkamp Verlag, Berlin, 2016Europa in der Falle (Europe is Trapped) is the title of the new book by Claus Offe, a political scientist, and the title hits the nail on the head. By introducing the euro, the European Union manoeuvred itself into an awkward position; there is no way forward and no way back. Now, the euro zone has split into winners and losers. The north, especially Germany, is basking on the sun deck and is profiting from the euro, while the southern European countries, deprived of monetary power, see no land ahead and have become rebellious. (…) The result is ubiquitously visible. In the wake of permanent crisis, right-wing parties “are invoking and restoring the protective functions of territorial borders in economic, political and cultural terms”. And the longer the crisis lasts and the greater the discrepancy between economic necessity and political enforceability, the more attractive it seems to withdraw to the dry land of the nation. (…)
Offe’s settlement of account with the EU is absolutely brilliant and analytically very astute, but it is not a plea to leave the euro, on the contrary. Even if it was a huge mistake to introduce the euro without embedding it in a political union, it would be “an even greater mistake to simply reverse this mistake” on account of the incalculable risks. Only gamblers would believe the flowerpot theory that claims that it would be best if every country watered its own little plant. In reality, any dismantling of the EU would destroy precisely the power to act that is needed to curb the financial markets and to address the burning issues that are beyond the national scope: fighting terrorism, energy and the climate.

Thomas Assheuer: „Der Euro war ein Fehler“
© Die ZEIT, 27 October 2016

Claus Offe
Europa in der Falle
Suhrkamp Verlag, Berlin, 2016
ISBN 978-3-518-12691-2
160 pages


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