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Guest Thinkers

So Much for Solidarity

The EU’s reluctance to bail out a floundering Greece raises all kinds of questions about whether or not European states will ever unify. But we sort of already knew that they don’t want to.

Talks of solutions to Greece’s massive deficit problems began nicely enough last week when EU leaders agreed on helping the nation but without detailing how they planned to do so. Similarly, Greece vowed to take extreme measures to cut spending.

But just days later, EU member states are moaning and groaning about the possibility of extending a financial hand to Greece, and Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou has become defensive, saying that his counterparts have cultivated a “psychology of looming collapse.” The German public has even said it thinks Greece should be forced to stop using the euro as its currency and EU officials are pushing harder and harder for more promised cutbacks.

But such an unwillingness to stand in solidarity shouldn’t come as a surprise — it’s been just months since the Lisbon Treaty, which is aimed at streamlining EU powers under more uniform guidance to produce better solutions to problems like Greece’s — squeaked itself into belated ratification. And post-ratification proceedings haven’t exactly been a piece of cake. In fact, they’ve been a disaster. The needs of individual member states continues to get in the way of unity and unity is getting in the way of the wants of individual member states. And if you’re needy like Greece is now, Europe’s haphazard attempts at solidarity aren’t going to help much.


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