It wasn’t too long ago that I wondered why countries had borders and why we couldn’t freely move around like ants going about our businesses. But today, as France reconsiders access with a Schengen visa, I can’t help but wonder if the European Union (EU) is headed towards its doom. The idea of EU was born post World War-II, with the intention of creating a United States of Europe so that the countries didn’t wage wars against one another and also to establish a free market, creating incentives for industrial growth. While this resulted in a great deal of positive transformation such as end of dictatorship and communism in several European countries, economic growth and so on, it failed to appreciate the diversity of member states.
Creating a common currency “Euro” was fairly ambitious and if no one realised this, the recent economic downturn is a glaring testimony of its failure. Today, as rest of the world is recovering from this crisis, Europe is still busy trying to play the blame game instead of taking the hint that the EU is the biggest modern day example of tragedy of commons. If these countries could act independently and in their self interest, we wouldn’t be so deep in the mess we are today. Around this time last year, Mario Draghi, head of European Central bank, tried to call attention to this very fact when he was explicit about Europe’s economic recovery being a matter of fiscal policy, but unfortunately, yet again, the politicians failed to get their act together.
Today’s generation of millennials embraces entrepreneurship as it enables them to express themselves, take control of their own lives and make optimal decisions. Freedom of expression and choice of governance is the very basis of democracy. If this independence is being threatened by some age old idea of greater good, World War-III might not be too far away. If one country wants to allow immigrants into their land, why do other countries within the EU have to oblige? Who is to take blame for Europe’s weak borders? Why is the Brexit or the Grexit or Catalonian fight for independence not enough for us to see that this is a generation that believes in decentralisation of power (economic, social, monetary) as it’s the optimal strategy for good governance.
I am not propagating against free market but independent governance is the first step to building competence before building economies through select cross border trade. So, it breaks my heart to see one of the oldest largest economies bickering over it’s past, making little headway into how the world is evolving today. The EU has definitely crossed the optimal critical mass of a union that can adequately adapt to this evolution with all its socio-economic and cultural diversity. It is no more a bright shining star like in the 60’s and 70’s and we are headed towards a supernova explosion and then a blackhole, that will suck resources from the rest of the world, if no one tries to intervene.