Tribune européenne, Futuribles Journal n° 389


The North/South Divide in Europe

The economic crisis that has affected Europe for almost five years has also rekindled the dissensions within the European Union and demonstrated the difficulties experienced in organizing effective solidarity among all the member states. Though Germany is calling for increased European integration, this is far from unanimously agreed by all its partners. Yet, as Jean-François Drevet shows here, the disparities in economic development between the countries of Europe are a long-standing feature of the EU and, despite the mechanisms put in place during its construction and expansion, they have not been reduced in any lasting way; the countries of the South (Italy, Greece, Spain and Portugal) have still not managed to catch up economically with those of the North (Germany, France, Benelux etc.). Solidarity has a price, admittedly, but if it were implemented at community level, it might also turn out to be more effective than national policies in resolving current economic problems, as this column shows; it might, in the longer term, ensure that the South catches up economically with the North. For that, however, we would need a community budget truly worthy of the name, capable of sustaining a European cohesion policy on a wholly new scale...

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