A dream of a new unified Europe has been alive ever since the collapse of the Roman Empire. After this Bysantium, Ottomans, Catholic church and later Germany and Soviet Union all planned a big and centrally governed Europe.
What they got instead was a dual continent and a rift between the free Europe or NATO plus the neutral countries and the iron curtain countries in the form of the Warzaw pact.
When the Eastern Europe fell apart, it was clear that Europe would start re-forming. So the traditional Western countries formed a European Union. But the newly liberated countries couldn’t take their membership for granted.
Real democratic changes, strict economic reins were needed first, not to mention eradicating corruption and bloated bureaucracy. Now there are few former suppressed countries like Bulgaria, Lithuania and Slovenia.
European Union or EU had probably its best years in early 2000´s, when the members co-operated with common legislature and commitments.
The suspicion of early years as well as the fears of losing national identities had changed into an idea that together they were stronger and can economically challenge China and even an almighty US dollar.
However, a global bank crisis turned the unity of Europeans also into an ordeal. Finland, Germany and France have coped pretty well in the battle, unlike many others. Countries like Iceland, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece met huge problems.
Iceland was bailed out, Ireland managed to print a few billion Euros stopgap money without EU:s permission. Spain tightened its belt, Portugal got an aid package, Italy is still a big enigma and Greece! There the reckless government splurging was hidden until the illusion crashed big time.
Their demonstrations against extra tight spending control are like showing a middle finger to the rest of the Europe. After all it’s theirs rescuers’ tax money what is paying this.
With resistance and overlooking attitude Greece is hurting itself even more. The vital tourist euros have become more scarce. Who wants to see this attitude and riots? If EU gets enough, the cradle of democracy will be on its own and the clock will turn back 50 years.
Meanwhile, tiny Finland is still surviving with stamina and determination, albeit the economic powerhouse Nokia is downsizing. The country´s high tech sector is maintaining or creating new jobs.
The advantage of our country is not a cheap labor, but trustworthiness and high skill level.
When Europe recovers in a few years, Finland has a possibility to rise into a main importer of high technology and the same time to entice tourists to a country which still offers exotic scenery, natural wonders and clean air.