Years of austerity have left their mark on Europe: budget deficits have shrunk, reforms have been delayed, and the social costs of cuts are increasingly visible.
Recently I read two seemingly contradictory ‘letters to the editor’ in a daily paper, I frequent regularly: “We always claimed that the boom of the East is really happening in the West,” a citizen from Wittstock in Brandenburg wrote. A reader from a city in North-Rhine-Westphalia, on the other hand, criticized my party DIE LINKE for a “policy which focuses too strongly on the Eastern Germany.”
The German teacher Friedrich Froebel founded an educational establishment in the East-German Keilhau, Thuringia, about two hundred years ago. His credo at the time: “Children shall not be safeguarded or indoctrinated, but shall happily grow in the sunlight, gain strength and develop.” And 200 years later? Well, today we can hardly ignore the encompassing concern of society for our offspring.
The possibility of a “Europe” worth dreaming of was saved, for sure. But Europe didn’t save itself. Greece took a bullet for the rest of us.
Yanis Varoufakis dubbed himself an “erratic Marxist” and presented his interpretation of Marx in detail. But his dialectical spirit is unlikely to succeed.
We Europeans face a historic choice: either we further develop Europe as a single political entity, or we recede from the limelight.