A single European destiny Presseurop – English: "Taking their cue from the German chancellor, Europe’s leaders seem to be hiding behind “the will of the people” as an excuse for their inertia. And yet political will is what we need now to confront the crisis and bring the European project back to life, argues philosopher Jürgen Habermas."

Habermas does not seem to cherish the wisdom of the people. Many have complained on the Eurocrats bad sense for democracy. I had talked myself into believing that what EU had gotten was what they could get given the language barriers. This, however, might be the moment of truth for the Eurocrats. Will this intellectually very seductive idea of a unified Europe, at least if you know 3-4 languages and cultures, have come to an end. Belgium is a good example of what is happening in Europe. Language fragmentation. Dialect fragmentation.

When I enthusiastically joined the European debate a few years ago, I began with the language problem. Now I end with the language problem. The idea of a unified Europe can sound good for many reasons. Especially grand strategies of power and competitiveness. Habermas' inertia is holding unification back, ie, visions of good Europeans led this far. But this far away from World War II, two generations away, people start to venture on their own again. There is a global destiny. Not a European one. In the mean time people live locally. Great Britain, Germany and France will connect differently with the world and the smaller European countries will tag along here and there.

What happens then is that the role of the politician is diminished. The village elder and the government administrators come into play. The village elder has gotten global reach with his Blackberry. Angela Merkel has said that she wants the politicians in play so that large monetary flows will not guide people's lives in a post-national world. She is busy legislating for this, like the anti-Hedgefund rules. However, her people want to mind their own business. There is no solidarity across language borders. Media show very little interest in neighboring countries.

So what is "political will" today? Not the ever-closer-union paradigm. That ended. Does political will exist? Society is polarizing into those who want to further develop society with science, art and technology and those who want to slow down, live environmentally and work less. These huddle-downers are becoming more abundant in both Germany and Sweden. In Anglo-America there is much more scepsis, although the BP oil spill disaster might come to play a role.

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