Europe is more than the Euro

From the Greek financial disaster in 2010, to an Irish bank debt crisis, Europe is struggling to rescue “a currency that is so closely linked to its unity that German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently said, ‘If the euro fails, Europe fails’ ” (“Crisis in Ireland tests eurozone vision,” The Christian Science Monitor, November 23, 2010). Is Europe more than the euro? What unites nations, countries, cultures? History? Geography? Money? The euro crisis poses deeper questions than vivid discussion of the so-called eurobonds, tax raises, consumer, public, and corporate debts and bad loans implied.

When the euro was launched 11 years ago, it was celebrated as the culmination of a vision of postwar Europe. Germany re-emerged on the international scene, fostering European unity, erasing borders, and dismantling its nationalistic past. Now the financial crisis is shaking Europe’s core and is calling for tremendous solidarity, patience, cooperation. A different kind of political and economic stability among a patchwork family of countries is needed. 

Compared to the past, many borders are now erased. A common currency is valid for 27 states, unifying these nations with common interests and equally cherished values. Very few aspects of daily life in Europe make one feel more special than traveling from Finland to Germany, from Belgium over France to Italy, with a single currency in your pocket. But Europe must be more than its currency. As the German philosopher Jürgen Habermas wrote last fall: “Democracy depends on the belief of the people that there is some scope left for collectively shaping a challenging future” ( “Leadership and Leitkultur,” The New York Times, October 28, 2010).

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In the Christian Science Bible Lesson
Healing the world
February 21, 2011

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