In a speech delivered at KU Leuven on 26th April 2013, Jürgen Habermas explains the evolution of democracy and solidarity concepts in the context of the European crisis with a focus on the Eurozone and Germany’s leading role.
Habermas argues that the present state of affairs highlights once again a gap between citizen’s opinion or will and the implemented EU policies. This gap or gulf, as he puts it, engenders a pronounced union of Euroscepticism with ordinary citizens feeling that European policy-making is parallel to their own national agendas. Habermas discusses the challenges related to a Genuine Economic and Monetary Union approaching the concepts of democracy and solidarity.
Hence, he points out that in order to preserve the Monetary Union, it is no longer enough, given the structural imbalances between the national economies, to provide loans to over-indebted states so that each should improve its competitiveness by its own efforts. What is required is solidarity instead, a cooperative effort from a shared political perspective to promote growth and competitiveness in the Eurozone.
That would mean that Germany and other countries should show solidarity agreeing to accept short and medium-term negative redistribution effects for a longer-term self-interest.
All in all, more politics for better economic policies. It sounds even more complicated for EU countries non-members of the Eurozone.