Turbulent and Mighty Continent: What future for Europe?

AuthorMcMillan, Stuart


What future for Europe?

Author: Anthony Giddens

Published by: Polity Press, Cambridge, 2014, 237pp, $25.99(pb).


The Emerging Crisis in EUROPE

Author: George Friedman

Published by: Scribe, Melbourne, 2015, 288pp, $37(pb).

Although Robert Schumann, one of the founders of what evolved into the European Union, envisaged a supranational entity, the notion of a looser collection of states with economic and trade links rather than a conventional federation persisted, testing in some cases the basic principle of an organisation that brought peace to a continent frequently engulfed in wars.

The migration crisis, straining a host of countries within the European Union, is now straining the union itself to its limit. The earlier crisis in the eurozone, the monetary union formed by nineteen of the unions 28 states, also brought to the fore that now ancient dilemma and is testing the whole of the unions structure.

Anthony Giddens discusses migration into Europe but well before the present tragedy and numbers migrating. He sees dilemmas being resolved by an ever closer integration of Europe's states. He also sees this as a necessary part of Europe remaining a significant force in the world, a player with some claim to equality with the United States. He is undoubtedly a believer in the value of the European Union, is intimately knowledgeable about its workings and a doughty defender of it as a Labour peer in the House of Lords. An influential sociologist with a formidable list of publications, he is also a social democrat theorist, being credited with coining the phrase 'the third way' and doing some of the thinking behind that approach. One of the accomplishments of his book is that he does not let his detailed grasp of Europe's problems dominate the clarity of his writing. Instead, one is treated to an insider's view expressed clearly and compellingly.

Three concepts illuminate his exposition: EU1, EU2 and what he calls paper Europe. EU1 consists of the organisation's institutions, the parliament, the European Commission and so on; EU2, made up of Germany, usually France and maybe other countries, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, really makes the major decisions affecting the union; paper Europe, in Giddens's words 'consists of a host of future plans, roadmaps, regional strategies and so forth, drawn up by the Commission and other EU agencies'.

Giddens believes that the European...

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