Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Wir haben kein Vertrauen in Europa

The cornerstones of a good relationship are trust, communication and fidelity. Without these, love alone is not enough to keep a marriage happy.

No, my blog hasn't been commandeered by an over zealous Agony Aunt, relationhip counsillor or spammed by a Thai registered company that is building up to redirect dissatisfied husbands and wives to a site selling suspect medicines.

I am instead referring to the buckles in the EU tracks that could cause the project to derail.

In the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung a recent opinion poll has recorded German public sentiment towards the EU at an all time low. The findings of the survey conducted by the Allensbach Institute show that German citizens' trust in the EU has waned to what would democratically be a near critical level. 63% of respondents had "little or no trst" in the EU, representing a 51% increase since this time last year. Only a quarter had "large trust" in European integration, representing a fall of 37% ten months ago. Meanwhile some 68% of those questioned said they had little or no trust in the single currency.

So what's so urgent about these findings? Surely a similar poll canvassed in the UK would garner such results. But this we, and Brussels, have known for a long, long time. The shock factor here is that not only are Germans historically the EU's stalwarts, but also somewhat of a keystone of the whole project, the lynchpin of the Eurozone economy and the very broad shoulders upon which the weight of the Union's woes are carried. If Germany cracks, well, the whole Union is thrown into jeopardy.

I mentioned earlier, and with a deliberate piquancey, that public opinion was at a democratically dangerous level. Now I am not suggesting the Euro hardballer is about to take to the streets of Berlin and upturn blazing cars and stone police, a la Tunis. I somehow do not equate this with the Germanic poise that made this country such a reliable and effective European ringleader. But democratically, were politics socially reactive in the way that political philosophers believe they ought to be, if affect moved from bottom to top before translating into effect, well this would mean a cataclysmic shift in the shape of the Union. However, any grassroots discontent, as regarded in the equally stoic comportment of the British, is unlikely to even ripple at the bureaucratic level in the Bundestag, and subsequently, Brussels.

It is also thus pertinent to point out that only 4% of those surveyed could correctly answer the question "Who Is Herman Van Rompuy?"

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