A lot of political tensions are building up among EU member states: Diverging views between France and Germany. Tension between France and the UK , with Sweden and Poland in the background. Tension between France/Germany and Italy along with gestures and expressions that ridicule Italy. The European Commission feels like being sidelined by France and Germany who are running the show. President José Barroso believes that there should not be any separation between Eurozone members and the rest of the EU. The Netherlands, Finland and Sweden call for all member states to be involved in the decisions to further the EU's growth and competitiveness.

The financial crisis has indeed exacerbated the already existing economic disparities between the member states, first betwen the old and the new member states, between the northern and southern ones, between eurozone members and non-eurozone members. It has exacerbated divergences at the political level and the core states of the Union, France and Germany.

At this point, one might conclude that the problems facing the EU are all due to the disunity among the member states. The simplest solution would be to transfer additional powers to the European level so that unified action is facilitated. Such conclusion, however, would ignore the structure of the EU. The EU is not and cannot be a system that might replace in the longer run the nation states. Indeed, it is a system based on the balance between the European and national level. But in times of crisis, it is the national interest that prevails. It's not what you can do for Europe but what can Europe do for you.  Regardless of what comes out this coming Wednesday 26 October 2011, there will be winners and losers and the process will leave scars that wil take time to heal.



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