Clearly, across Europe democracy is hijacked by populist eurosceptics. Like hyenas and vultures, they gang up in ever greater number, foretasting the feast on a morbidly wounded EU. In France, Francois Hollande did not win the French presidential elections; Nicolas Sarkozy lost them. But certainly not to the French socialist candidate. He fell prey to the far-right eurosceptic Marine Le Pen and her Front National. And in Greece the two dominant pro-EU parties fell prey to the marginal eurosceptic forces. The Pyrrhic success of Nea Democratia to increase its nominal parliamentary representation vis-a-vis PASOK from the previous elections is largely a result of a strategic vote by the pro-European voters in the country who judged the party and its leader, Antonis Samaras, as a better front runner against the eurosceptic extremist parties. In Finland, the NCP and the Social Democrats lost to the True Finns in the 2011 elections, and the Dutch government fell recently after the eurosceptic Geert Wilders withdrew his support for the Mark Ruttes’ minority government.
Politicians are wrong to deal with the current EU crisis by seeking financial remedies. The current euro-malaise is a symptom of an illness, not the illness itself. The real illness of Europe is called democracy. I am hardly the exception of thinking this way. But I imagine to be in the minority of those who differ from the widespread view that it is the “democratic deficit” that causes the crisis. Not too little democracy, but too much of it is in the bottom of it all. Today’s European Union survival path increasingly passes through greater political and fiscal federalization – a process that must be seen through the prism of nation-building dynamics. If nation-building history teaches us anything, however, it is that democracy is not the answer, but could very well be the problem.