As crises multiply and state-level insolvency grows, the revolt of the "angry ones" in Europe is gathering speed: in Greece, in Spain, and also in Italy, where bankruptcy, for the moment, remains only a threat. Governments tend only to see the dark side of revolt: the painful recognition of reality, the near-blind anger.

But blindness explains only a small part of a rebellion that targets not only the politics but also the behaviour, and indeed the ethics, of governments: their habitual short-sighted clinging to the next election or poll, their ingrained tendency to conceal shaky public finances, their refusal to tell the truth about immigration or the deficit, and their willingness to accuse the press, the central banks or Europe of spreading bad news.

In this, Italy is at the forefront. Since returning to government Berlusconi has repeated the same refrain. The shipwreck's in your heads, you bunch of defeatists: we're doing better than many ‘virtuous’ countries. On June 20 he said "the crisis is not over." But he had never even admitted it had begun.

The response to this crisis should be greater transparency

Let us not forget that one of the most intriguing initiatives of the "angry ones" in Spain concerns information. It was started by the political science professor Antòn Losada, and it is called "Sin preguntas no hay cobertura" (“no coverage without questions” : #sinpreguntasnocobertura on Twitter). Thousands of journalists have joined up. If a press conference does not allow awkward questions, it will be boycotted and the person on the podium will be left alone with his or her dubious promises.

It’s a sign that there’s a pressing demand for truth and justice in these revolts. The response to this crisis should not be more calls for belt-tightening, or the instilling of perverse fears in the population. It should be transparency of information: on the taxes that cannot be lowered, on the demographic decline that only immigration can slow, on the ingredients of growth that are called justice, legality, merit – the price that the rich and the more fortunate in society can pay.

In his editorial of June 15, Nikos Konstandaras, director of the Greek daily Kathimerini, talks about the "impossible charm of solitude": the illusion that if states shut their eyes instead of facing Europe, the world and the markets, the crisis will not burst in on them. Certainly, markets are strange beasts: they can be unleashed and roused to hysteria, and they have a thirst for blood. Short-sighted though they may be, they do not anticipate disasters completely at random: they take instant snapshots of governments at a certain moment, and they draw their conclusions. Alongside the ballot boxes, they are our second court.

A res publica beyond our borders

Hiding away is no policy, nor is the pretence of being a sovereign state that decides alone. Nor is ignoring the existence of a European public to whom we are just as responsible as we are to the nation. There is now a res publica beyond our borders, which has its rules, and whose leaders are not creatures of governments, but people who answer to larger institutions.

Take, for example, the appointment of Mario Draghi as President of the European Central Bank (ECB). An irreproachable choice, but one that was made in the most muddled, ramshackle, old-fashioned way? In return for his appointment, Nicolas Sarkozy demanded that a seat on the executive of the ECB be freed up for Paris, and in return Berlusconi offered him the head of Lorenzo Bini Smaghi [a member of the ECB's board], as if the latter were his to control, not a leader of the Union. The mandate of Bini Smaghi, who was elected in 2005 for a term of eight years, will end on May 31, 2013. It cannot be revoked, neither by the member states nor by agreements among these states. This is not a slap at Bini Smaghi personally, but to the European institutions to which he is loyal.

What’s more, the case creates a worrying precedent: each government may now decide to wriggle out from under the mandates and rules of the European Union’s jurisdiction. The violation of the Maastricht Treaty, justified by a so-called "unwritten rule among the states”, is manifest.

We need an autonomous European commission

Transparency of information and recognition of the European public space are still lacking. There is no transparency on the taxes that it is impossible to lower, nor or on the immigration that we need, both economically and demographically.

These ambiguities are largely attributable to the European Union and to the inertia of its leaders who are in thrall to the member states. We hear no one speaking the truth. And that is because of “the unhealthy politeness towards each other and excessive deference to large member states” that has left Europe in its current euro zone crisis, writes former European Commissioner Mario Monti in an illuminating article in the Financial Times on June 21. There are many issues on which the Union could have asserted its values, starting with the recent military actions – erroneously called “peace missions."

An autonomous European Commission, aware of its authority, should be reacting to all these events (the Bini Smaghi affair, sovereign debt, wars) as it did in the days of Walter Hallstein. The former chief executive of Brussels did not hesitate, on behalf of the nascent European res publica, to oppose De Gaulle's demands in the late 1960s for a “Europe of States”. Hallstein was a "designated loser”; but there are defeats that can save humiliated institutions – if we want to save them.