Opinion (Daniel Gros, Director of the Brussels-based Center for European Policy Studies): “At high-level gatherings of the European Union elite, one often hears the following type of statement: ‘Europe must integrate and centralize economic governance in order to defend its social model in an age of globalization.’ …
“But the claim that only deeper EU integration can save the ‘European’ social model from the onslaught of emerging markets is not true. Yes, globalization represents a challenge to all EU member states; but it is not clear how more integration would help them to confront it. More European economic governance is not a panacea.
“In fact, it is not even clear which European social model needs to be saved. There are enormous differences among EU members in terms of the size of their public sectors, the flexibility of their labor markets, and almost any socio-economic indicator that one can think of. The common elements that are usually identified with the ‘European’ social model are a quest for equality and a strong welfare state.
“But neither of the main problems confronting Europe’s social-security systems – slow economic growth and aging populations (a function of low fertility) – can be addressed at the European level. …
“The key to ensuring the future of Europe’s social-security systems, and thus its social model, is faster growth. And, again, it is difficult to see how more Europe would improve the situation. The obstacles to growth are well known, and have existed for a long time without being removed. The reason is quite simple: if there were a politically easy way to generate growth, it would have been implemented already.
“Moreover, most national policymakers have a tendency to blame ‘Brussels’ for all of their difficult choices, thus creating the impression at home that the economy would improve if economic affairs could be managed without EU interference. More integration is preached at the European level, but implicitly portrayed at home as an obstacle to growth.
“This double-speak on the part of national political elites is perceived as such by voters, whose trust in both national and EU institutions is naturally declining. The claim that Europe needs more integration to save its social model has long lost credibility. Integration is irrelevant to that question, and, in those areas where deeper integration really would benefit Europe, it appears to be the last thing that national leaders want.”
My Comment: It is necessary to look at the pressure put on us by objective natural forces of our development. No problem can be resolved internally within a country but only through their complete integration. But this assumes a preliminary change of general thinking from egoistic to integral thinking. This can be achieved within a few months by the method of integral education, which was not done before the formation of EU. But of course, the claim that integration will not save the EU is a profound mistake.