The Politics of Fear

Posted by M ws On Friday, November 30, 2012 0 comments

The following article written by George Papandreou, former prime minister of Greece, was first posted in Huffington Post. His remarks are adapted from a roundtable discussion at the Berggruen Institute of Governance recent "town hall" meeting in Berlin.

To those who were surprised that the European Union received the Nobel Peace Prize, I say: "Think twice." This was not only a deserved award for Europe's contribution to bringing peace and stabilizing democracies in the recent past -- the Nobel Committee was also sending a clear warning to contemporary leaders. I could almost hear them saying: "On this difficult odyssey, don't abandon ship. In today's world, the EU is too valuable to squander."

It was an indirect but powerful rebuttal to the dangerous nationalist and populist rhetoric some politicians have adopted when describing the recent financial crisis.

This message couldn't have come at a better time.

Like ghosts from the past, we see political violence, xenophobia, migrants being scapegoated and extreme nationalism creeping into our public debates -- even into our parliaments. This is a Europe diverging from its founding principles. Principles that rendered nationalistic hatreds an anathema.

But it is these politics of fear that seem to have incapacitated Europe. A Europe seemingly incapable of ending this crisis, a fractious Europe. This has undermined a sense of trust between us and in our European institutions. This climate does not inspire confidence either in our citizens or the markets. Nor will our retreat into a renationalization of Europe be the solution.

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