European Leadership (A Space Odyssey)

I often wonder these moments what to fear more; the American Crisis that spreads over the world, or the so-called European Leaders that are trying to control it in Europe.

The recent weeks the confidence in Europe diminishing, visible by a declining Euro against the dollar (now 1,35 from 1,60 during the more moderate times of the crisis)

I think it started with the French President, which is a man who likes to take personal leadership regardless what it will mean for the rest of Europe.

The Netherlands. Always talking about solidarity and with a cooperative mind using the consensus-model, have shown in a single weekend that there is only one priority and that is to get back their Bank under Dutch control.

Ireland, reporting to support the bank-accounts whatever it takes.

BNP Paribas willing to take-over Fortis for 1 euro a share…

The European Union is made up of countries, but also of corporations. The latter have a competitive focus – Bank are better off if some other gets broke – the former (should) have a cooperative approach, why are they part of the union then?

There are many examples of uncoordinated actions. At the moment of truth there is no European union. And indeed we should fear for the value of the Euro. Fear for the future of the Euro. Or the Union.

Communication between the individual governments is important for the health of the union. Large corporations could help – and have said to be the news leaders in this global world – but they fail to do so. When there are problems there is no union. It started with the Dutch NO, showing that a country facing problems is not longer willing to be part of a community when it has to contribute to it. It can better use the contribution to safe the country itself.

Now is the opportunity for Europe to show some leadership. Leadership in cross-border coordination and coherence.

H.J.B.

© 2008 Hans Bool

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