Action, Not Words : In a Europe That Remains Divided, the Time Is Ripe for Real Political Leadership. Too Bad That It's Nowhere to Be Found
Elliott, Michael, Newsweek International
They are back from Umbria and Tuscany, from Perigord and Provence. Their tans, so lovingly burnished in the warm south, are losing their luster. If it isn't raining in London and Paris, Brussels and Berlin, it soon will be. Autumn is upon us, and Europe's political leaders are about to get to work.
At least, let's hope they are, for there is much to do. If Europe is to assume the geopolitical role for which it is abundantly equipped, it is going to have to discover some real political leadership. Yet the immediate prospects for doing so are poor.
To be sure, the European economy is humming along merrily, with growth in the Euroland 11 now forecast to be about 2 percent this year. Ireland continues to grow at speeds more appropriate to pre-1997 Asia, while Finland churns out high-tech ideas that get rave reviews even in such a booster of Silicon Valley as Wired magazine. Unemployment, though still too high, is everywhere in steady retreat. Measured only by statistics, or by the palpable sense of European prosperity--all those long vacations and mobile phones that the rest of the world would kill for--the old continent has rarely looked better.
As long, that is, as you define "Europe" in a particular way. For 10 years after the fall of the Berlin wall, the continent remains divided. To truly integrate Europe is an enterprise that calls for immediate, decisive, action. Certainly, there have been gains in the lands to the east of the old Iron Curtain; Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic have joined the ranks of the developed economies, even if the Czechs have recently been in a deep recession. But elsewhere, the economic picture in East and Central Europe is nothing to celebrate. The three Baltic states will see almost no growth …
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Publication information: Article title: Action, Not Words : In a Europe That Remains Divided, the Time Is Ripe for Real Political Leadership. Too Bad That It's Nowhere to Be Found. Contributors: Elliott, Michael - Author. Magazine title: Newsweek International. Publication date: September 27, 1999. Page number: 26. © 2009 Newsweek, Inc. All rights reserved. Any reuse, distribution or alteration without express written permission of Newsweek is prohibited. For permission: www.newsweek.com. COPYRIGHT 1999 Gale Group.
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