European Disintegration? The Sources of Extremism

Issue Date October 2012
Volume 23
Issue 4
Page Numbers 15-22
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The EU is experiencing a somewhat paradoxical phenomenon. On the one hand, it has been a tremendously successful club, promoting democracy and open societies within its borders and in its neighborhood. On the other hand, the language of national rivalry and of class struggle is re-entering public discourse, especially within the eurozone. The way to solve the paradox is to democratize, or trivialize, the issue of the euro. This means that the euro ought to have a clear exit clause. This, in its turn, means that European democratic elites should learn from their counterparts in the English-speaking democracies—where democracy is a way of life and not a means to achieving a particular purpose. European democrats should be more open to losing an argument about specific purposes, including the euro in its present format, if they really want to strengthen democracy in Europe.