Challenge Grant: Our Boosters will match donations up to $45,000. We have $40,515 to go. Please donate!
Click here to advertise on

Europe: who's on first?

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Feb 09, 2010

Since I've already mentioned the subject, and few other Americans are paying attention, let me call your attention to a crisis in the newly reborn European Union.

The EU, you may recall, is now a sovereign international body, with its own president, ready to its devise own foreign policy. But before the EU can even throw its weight around in the international arena, the strains-- which were inevitable in a sovereign international body made up of sovereign international bodies-- are beginning to show.

First there's the diplomatic problem. The EU wants to be an equal player in international affairs, so its leaders hoped that President Obama would attend a EU leadership summit and recognize the EU's leader as his equal. Those hopes have been dashed, as Paul Belien of the excellent Brussels Journal explains:

Washington informed Brussels last week that Obama is not coming because it is not clear who is his European counterpart. Since the Lisbon Treaty came into force on January 1st, Europe has its own President, Herman Van Rompuy. This former Belgian politician chairs the European Council, the assembly of the heads of government of the 27 EU member states. However, there is also José Manuel Barroso, a former Portuguese politician, who is the president of the European Commission, which is the EU’s executive body. And there is José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, the Spanish Prime Minister, who is hosting the Madrid meeting and as such co-chairs the summit meeting of the EU heads of government with Mr. Van Rompuy.

Confused? So am I. So is the White House. So is Europe.

Then there's the economic problem. Greece, a member of the EU, is near economic collapse. The entire European community could bail out Greece, but then it would be only a matter of time before another economically challenged European country (Portugal?) needed the same sort of help, and then another. While the resources of the EU are enormous, they are not unlimited, and citizens of the wealthier countries would soon grow tired of bailing out their insolvent neighbors. Or the EU could allow Greece to crash, but that decision would endanger the cohesiveness of the new European community.

It's the same question, actually. Does Europe want to be a single nation or a group of independent nations? Must Greece change its economic policies to suit the EU leadership? Does Brussels want to assert control over Athens, and would Athens accept such control? If the EU is a single political union, who calls the shots? We're going to learn the answers to these questions soon.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Our Fall Campaign
Progress toward our year-end goal ($128,202 to go):
$150,000.00 $21,797.70
85% 15%
Sound Off! supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

There are no comments yet for this item.

Fall 2014 Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on

Recent Catholic Commentary

When Catholics are less Catholic than non-Catholics 17 hours ago
Cardinal Kasper's nose is growing again October 18
Challenge Grant Begins as Synod Ends October 17
What's wrong with this Synod, IV: Unprepared for marriage October 17
No, mainstream religious orders aren't attracting vocations as fast as younger traditional orders October 17

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Key synod report calls for 'gradualism' in Church response to irregular family situations CWN - October 13
As synod concludes, bishops issue message, approve document; Pope weighs in CWN - October 20
Cardinal Parolin: UN must protect innocents from Islamic State CWN - September 30
Synod of Bishops opens with Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica CWN - October 6