i on europe


Brussels blog by some wire service journalists

After voters reject austerity, Europe ponders future of grand project



BRUSSELS (AP) _ The European Union, a hope for peace that rose from the fires of World War II, paused Wednesday to honor its past and ponder its future _ and how it can ensure it still has one in light of the anti-austerity anger expressed this week by voters in France and Greece.

May 9 is Europe Day, a commemoration of a key events that led to the creation of the modern EU. It was on this day in 1950 that French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman issued a declaration calling for an integrated Europe.

Tens of millions of Europeans had perished in twin cataclysms of World Wars I and II. At root, Schuman’s dream was simple: He wanted an economic union, a sharing of strategic resources in Europe that would “make war not only unthinkable but materially impossible.”

By that measure the project has been a resounding success. The EU has grown to 27 members and the economic union has grown ever deeper, including a common market and, for 17 countries, a shared currency. The interlocking interests have helped to shield the bloc from any possibility of war.

But on Sunday voters in France and Greece voted in droves against the strategy of harsh budget cuts leaders contend is necessary to preserve the economic union that is at the heart of the European Union.

The question then arises: Is the European dream in danger? Could it all come unstuck?

“The current situation is extremely fragile and extremely dangerous,” said Zsolt Darvas, a research fellow at Bruegel, a Brussels-based economic think tank.



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