INTERECONOMICS, Vol 47, No. 5, September/October 2012
Authors: Zsolt Darvas, Heather Grabbe, Diego Valiante and Henning Meyer
By Zsolt Darvas
By Heather Grabbe, Diego Valiante, Henning Meyer
Over the last ten years the European unifi cation project seemed to rely overwhelmingly on
progress in economic terms. The most prominent achievements – the Single Market, the
harmonisation of market regulation, the euro – were all driven by an economic rationale.
However, attempts to rescue Europe from the ongoing fi nancial crisis call for mutual support
and solidarity, concepts that can hardly be derived from pure economic reasoning. This leads
to an important question that has been too long neglected: what is the political and civic
motivation for a united Europe? Besides a great desire to stabilise peace in Europe, the origins
of the unifi cation activities also included mutual interest in language, culture, habits and people
in neighbouring countries. Has this been abandoned in favour of a purely economic vision? Or
are the economic arguments merely the easiest to promote to the European population? What
message does this send in times of mistrust in markets and dim economic prospects for the
eurozone? Can a political, cultural and civic European spirit still be reinvigorated, and if so, how?