Sustaining Europe: A Common Cause for the European Union in the New Century

European Business Review

ISSN: 0955-534X

Article publication date: 1 April 2000




Coleman, J. (2000), "Sustaining Europe: A Common Cause for the European Union in the New Century", European Business Review, Vol. 12 No. 2.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

Sustaining Europe: A Common Cause for the European Union in the New Century


Sustaining Europe: A Common Cause for the European Union in the New Century

Keywords: European Union, Economy, Economic Growth

Ian Christie raises some of the really big questions about the European Union's future. Most of its critics and supporters alike are much too concerned about short term worries to raise their eyes a little to see what is coming up over the horizon.

The essence of his argument is that the EU is the victim of its own success. The executive summary puts it clearly: "The achievements in economic co-operation have led to an inward-looking, technocratic Union, more concerned with means than ends. The EU's preoccupation with economic and monetary union and the single market prevent it from facing up to the big challenges of the new century. It is insufficiently democratic, out of touch with public concerns and grudging in its approach to the new democracies to the East. It persists in a model of economic growth that is environmentally damaging."

One of the great errors of the modern world, in my opinion is to believe that peace and prosperity necessarily go together. History teaches us that only too often prosperity leads us to vast inequalities and conflict. It also leads to the consumer society which in turn creates unsustainability. One of the things I like about the author is that he does look at history and a significant example of that is the chapter, "Updating Orwell" which is followed by three scenarios of what Europe may be like from 2030 onwards. Humans being humans I guess we will get a messy mixture of all three but I believe it is tremendously important to look at all possibilities and not be beguiled by the apparent inevitability of history.

At this stage in human life it must be of paramount importance that we should all be seeking a course that can last - for the sake of our children and grandchildren. Life is a miserably selfish business if we do not think about them. Edmund Burke responding to Rousseau's Social Contact said that society must indeed have a contract but it must be one between the living, the dead and those who have not yet been born.

We have a world to save, not just ourselves in Europe. I hope the Government will listen carefully to the argument, decide what is right and stick to its guns even if to our partners in the short term are critical. In the long run it must be certain they will thank us.

Published by Green Alliance in association with Demos, the report costs £10.00. E-mail:

John Coleman

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