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Irish Times: To inflict unity on Europe's diverse peoples is so divisive - by Richard Pine

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To inflict unity on Europe's diverse peoples is so divisive - by Richard Pine

"The financial crisis has highlighted the lack of a common European policy among its leaders. With Gorbachev modelling Vuitton handbags, one wonders what sort of world glasnost has created. But also – and much more seriously I think – it demonstrates a systemic crisis. Having already given away so much of their sovereignty, countries and regions are now expressing a distaste for, or suspicion of, what unity actually means. The appeasing catch-all slogan “unity in diversity” is an obscenity – at best, high-octane bovine effluent, at worst an arrogant condescension to the smaller and more diverse cultures, designed to fool the greatest number of people for as long as possible.

It is diversity which actually creates Europe – more interesting in its differences than in its conformity and orthodoxy. Europe has more chance of being saved by a Sarakatsani folk-singer’s wisdom than by the prancing of a financial or political princeling or, god forbid, an economist. I want Europe to be a vibrant, positive, constructive entity, but I see less and less of it every day, compared to the 1970s, when my enthusiasm was ignited and my European work began. Europe needs integrity without integration, coherence without cohesion."

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