Yet, while all parties on both extreme speak out to tackle those issues, theirs are mostly reactionary measures that often fail to take full account of a global reality we cannot ignore. Politics and policies in each European country are now arranged as three concentric circles: national policies, still theoretically at the center of European politics, are no longer the exclusive source of decision, but also depend on the second circle, the European Union, and further still, are affected by the movements of the outer circle, that is the global (mostly economic and financial sphere). What’s more, the second circle, that is European politics, has partially merged with the third circle. The result is that each European country, while theoretically independant, are in fact left without the possibility of free movement, as if each were stuck between a rock and a hard place. The impossibility to return to the old national sovereignty, and the failure of the European Union to create a true political arena have left each of these countries not only vulnerable, but unable to deliver on their promises to act. This loss of freedom is at the root of the current problem. It remains to see what the election of F. Hollande in France, the Greek vote and the emerging anti-austerity current will be able to achieve, but, if these may succeed to some degree, they will not be enough to build a stable, enduring political entity in the long term.
The vote in France has shown that national politics is not entirely dead. The hope that all the citizen body can accomplish something, this hope that we can create something new to get rid of the old is an act of freedom. It is perhaps not surprising that the French vote has been monitored with so much attention across Europe and beyond, because France, as one of the leading European countries, is the only one that can also develop enough political momentum to have a real impact across the continent. This political experience, which goes back to the Revolution, has been one of the main driving forces that has pushed for greater European integration. Monnet, De Gaulle, Mitterand are names that are associated with European unity. German power is of a different kind. Germany’s economic power certainly gives it political clout, but it does not have the same will to create something radically new, to develop a vision that would give a united Europe stable political foundations.