Ending The Honeymoon: Constructing Europe Beyond The Market


In Greek mythology, King Sisyphus becomes a prisoner of inevitability: existentially condemned to roll a boulder up a hill for the sake of seeing it roll back down immediately. His sense of desperation and futility is reminiscent of Europe today. It has become a prisoner of the circularity of stabilising inherently unstable markets. And each cycle exacerbates the dominance of the economic over the political, the erosion of democratic paradigms, the indifference of citizens, and the divorce between social reality and its political translation. Political discourse is suspended while ‘technocrats’ redistribute resources and aspirations in the name of economic necessity. And we – the Europeans – are sidelined and numbed by the repetitive talk of austerity and economic stability, EFSF and eurobonds, financial leverage and institutional reforms. All presented as inevitable for the health of the market; as a bitter medicine required to cease the pain. Needless to say, it will not: the pain is systemic.

For the younger generation of Europeans, the ‘inevitable’ changes instituted in the past years will define our future. That is why it is time to take a stand. Our lives cannot be shaped as a by-product of economic stability. The European Union is more than a market. Its citizens are more than consumers. Our political choices should make the market socially acceptable; the market should not make our political choices economically acceptable. Our generation has ideas, ideals, hopes, needs and aspirations. And we strongly believe in Europe, just not in this particular economic manifestation of it.

We believe in Europe because we are Europe. We construct it today, and will do so tomorrow. In Lodz and Odense, Sevilla and Nicosia, one day perhaps in Split and Izmir. By travelling, by communicating, by working, by studying. The nation state might be our passport; Europe is our identity ...

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