The success of unity in diversity

Full Professor in Financial Economics
The success of unity in diversity
The current ‘instant society’ does not foster
sion making in Europe cannot keep pace the
financial elite is to bring about the political unity
historical consciousness. People ask them-
dynamics of the financial markets. An inability
in variety at the level of daily life of the people in
selves ‘What is in it for me right now?’ instead
that is at its heart caused by a lack of central
each one of the member states. In Europe, forms
of ‘What does this contribute to my life when
direction. In addition, the power of the individ-
of community spirit have taken shape at the
I consider it from a long term historical point
ual member states of the Economic and Mon-
supranational level. That is the added value of
of view?’ This is pre-eminently true of Europe.
etary Union has been on the rise. Europe stands
Europe. it is this that people should appreciate
The European Union of today was founded
at a crossroads: Move forward on the communal
as an important achievement for everyday life.
by political leaders and a populace commit-
path conceived by its founders and continue
Europe needs people with a positive attitude
ted to the idea of an ever-stronger European
to trust in its established institutions? Or does
who want to build something together and
continent. Nowadays, with the current finan-
it regress to the intergovernmental mode of
who see other people as allies instead of ene-
cial crisis, people do not want to pay for other
doing business, in which the larger countries like
mies. European leaders should revive the soul
countries in Europe and think that every coun-
Germany, France, and the weak nations like Italy
of Europe and resurrect her rich value-based
try should mind its own shop. What is required
and Spain become dominant in the EMU? That
foundation. The former generations of European
as a next step if the European project is to suc-
would marginalize the influence of a medium-
leaders lived through the Second World War and
sized country like the Netherlands and would
came away from this experience with a vision
not be advisable. Furthermore, sanctions should
of a new Europe: no confederation of nation
After the Second World War, Jean Monnet,
automatically be applied to European countries
states but a federal Europe of unity in diversity.
Robert Schuhman, and Konrad Adenauer put
that do not adhere to the rules of the Stability
The current European leaders should take a step
forward that European integration was the
and Growth Pact.
forward in the process of the consolidation of
only way of ridding their respective nations of
The process of integration will be more diffi-
Europe as unity in diversity, confirming their mis-
extreme nationalism. As an initial foundation of
cult than before, because nowadays in almost
sion as bearers of hope. Where there is no vision,
peace and reconciliation, the European Coal and
all European countries the anti-European par-
there is no hope and no progress for Europe.
Steel Community was founded. The process of
ties are gaining more influence or have already
European integration moved steadily forward
attained substantial influence. One reason for
from that point on. Political leaders like Konrad
this is that many European leaders have chosen
Sylvester Eijffinger
in collaboration with Annemarie Hinten-Nooijen
(Academic Forum)
Adenauer, Charles de Gaulle, Helmut Schmidt,
to appeal to the gut feelings of the electorate for
and Helmut Kohl were ardent Europeans who
short-term political gain. There are no govern-
cherished the values of peace, reconciliation,
ment leaders who dare to explain that Europe is
solidarity and unity. On the notion of unity in
a synonym for hope and welfare instead of fear
variety, the European idea was built. It remains
and impoverishment. In essence, they are using
an ambition to this day: in the year 2011 27
the rise of ‘us versus them’ thinking, a by-product
countries, with 27 different histories and 23 lan-
of increased individualization, to create a politi-
guages, have to work together.
cal rift between national electorates and Europe.
But what we now see is that the political deci-
The challenge for the political, intellectual and
Academic Forum
where science meets society and life
Expand your horizons, take the time to reflect
Asset Magazine