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Brussels blog by some wire service journalists

Increasing stereotypes threaten European unity

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti

By DON MELVIN

BRUSSELS — Maybe the problem is those southerners lolling in the Mediterranean sun who overspent and tax-dodged their way to ruin. Or maybe it’s the northerners, rigid beyond reason, so gloomy in their own lives that they’re determined to see the southerners suffer.

Such, at least, are the resentful stereotypes that are increasingly jumping from pub conversation and tabloid pages into the mainstream political discourse.

It’s all a sign that a psychological fissure between northern and southern countries in the European Union is deepening under the strain of the financial crisis. Analysts say the rift threatens Europe’s currency union every bit as much as interest rates and deficits.

“National resentments in Europe are rising to dramatic levels,” said Vincent Forest, a London-based economist with the Economist Intelligence Unit. “By taking so much time in solving the economic crisis, the Europeans are creating a political and social crisis.”

READ THE FULL STORY HERE.

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Don Melvin

Slobodan Lekic

Raf Casert

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