In a year of sound and fury marked by the virtual bankruptcy of Greece and the Irish crisis, Europe spent most of 2010 fearfully wondering if its currency was going to survive. National governments responded by announcing austerity measures that will likely be with us for many years to come, and by committing to an unprecedented European Stability Mechanism. As time went on, Germany appeared to be on the verge of setting aside the principle of solidarity between European states, France deported thousands of Roma, the extreme right took 20 seats in the Swedish parliament and secured a behind the scenes deal with the Dutch government.
In Poland, grief over the loss of the country’s political elite in a second Katyn tragedy degenerated into a quarrel about where to bury its deceased president, Italy was forced to contend with the ridicule of yet another Berlusconi sex scandal, while in Hungary, the nationalist right moved to limit freedom of speech.
In short, it has been a chaotic year for Europe, which is struggling to compete with a developing world that may be less democratic but is consistently more dynamic. And it has been a difficult twelve months for the EU, which appears destined to play an increasingly marginal role in international affairs.
In the light of all of this grim news, it is time to take a fresh look at where Europe is going. With this in mind, we invited a selection of ten European authors and analysts, including well-known writers and new voices, to write about their vision of Europe, and their understanding of how ongoing events will affect their lives and the future of all European citizens.
Arnon Grunberg (Netherlands), Fernando Savater (Spain), Paweł Świeboda (Poland), Thomas Brussig (Germany), Gonçalo M. Tavares (Portugal), Philippe Perchoc (France), Petra Hůlová (Czech Republic), Mircea Vasilescu (Romania), Tim Parks (UK) and Loretta Napoleoni (Italy), will hopefully inspire you with another view of Europe.