The European bicycle

The rise of the extreme far-right in these difficult times is in reality the inhibitation Europe's struggle and a revelation of undying primitive nationalism rooted firmly in European history.

The European bicycle

Akif Emre

'Europe is like a bicycle, it falls down if it does not move on'.

The above sentence belongs to the founder of the EU, the Belgian Paul H. Spaak. The picture that was portrayed on Sunday in the EU Parliament brought this sentence to my mind.

The overwhelming increase of nationalist parties along with the extreme right's nature of Islamophobia have both become prominent in locomotive EU countries like France and have baffled the central idea of Europe. Moreover, not only in France, but the far-right also achieved significant breakthroughs in the UK and Germany. They turned the balance in the EU parliament upside down. Furthermore, the chronic European problem of low voter turnouts, which should be interpreted as political estrangement, has apparently risen. With democratic participation increasing only to foster unwanted results, this has put the greatest argument of Europe in quite an ironic situation.

For those who argue that Europe is a model of civilization or desire to see it as more than a mere geographical location, economic organization and political project, the election results are turning into a frightening nightmare. No matter how frustrating it is, by looking at the proposed European model's cultural make-up, historical experience and social forms, it can be said that there is an engineering aspect to Europe that determines and directs the shape of its prospective future. Until now, they had tried to rise above nation-states to construct a romanticized European identity for the prospective future based on common ground shared in the past.

While the idealized common values and history are being rebuilt to promote the EU as a civilization, certain aspects that were ignored and suppressed and certain dynamics that could explain sufficiently as to why the Europeans were never able to unite throughout history were overlooked. Perhaps the emerging picture of the EU elections is related to the desire to forget these dynamics.

The rise of the xenophobic 'extreme far-right' has long warned of two major problems that have been largely ignored and left out of terminology. One of these was the capturing notion of nationalism in Europe, the other was the desiccation of this river nourishing this civilization - that being economic crisis.

Indeed, the EU is not simply an economic mechanism. Rather, it is a practical way of universalizing values and norms as well as a dazzling display of vitalizing dynamism . As long as Europe maintained its technical supremacy and economic prosperity, the realization of this civilization was not a problem.

As the the crisis-hit economy and welfare of Europe, which has been maintained since the era of imperialism regardless of the expense, begins to endanger certain established trade habits and cause some minor unfavorable constrainst on daily European life, anyone who has done a little observation has now seen how the West is very much similar to exterior societies that they often degrade as wild. With the desiccation of this river, the romanticized values of Europeanizm and its civilization have suddenly been trampled upon.

The rise of the extreme far-right in these difficult times is in reality the inhibitation Europe's struggle and a revelation of undying primitive nationalism rooted firmly in European history. All of mankind has sufficiently seen what happens when Europe surrenders to nationalism in the past. Here, the fear of the foreign expresses itself in the form of Islamophobia. This is a mere modern political cover of this primitive nationalism.

Contrary to the common belief, the nationalism of Europeans does not present just present a threat to foreigners, immigrants and Muslims, but at the same an even stronger factor is is the polarization that occurs leading them to establish fronts against each other. Europeans with nationalist motives feel supremacy above one another in addition to viewing foreigners, especially Muslims, as enemies. The difference between the two is this: they can commonly move against foreigners as they recall their European identity through 'the other'. Despite all their dissimilarities, this is a sign of their common attitude regarding the non-western societies of Europe throughout history. Europeans produced nationalism as a modern ideology mostly against each other, and this form of nationalism is more dangerous and destructive than the other.

A point that manifested itself in the European Parliament elections was the defence reflexes of each nation-state. Naturally, the next step is the rise of ethnic and regional nationalism filtering into politics.

Both in an attempt to avoid sparking the flames of internal nationalism and to overcome the economic crisis, it seems as though Europe is in need of a mutual enemy that is ready to strike at any moment, prompting the sense of need to defend it.

The EU founder who compared the EU to a bicycle also admitted that Europeans are obligated to have a certain level of prosperity and income. Should the bicycle topple over, humanity is doomed to fall into a political and militant chaos. For that reason, Europe has no choice but to maintain this levewl of welfare and lifestyle.

Those who represent the EU mindset know very well that if they consider the interests of every nation-state Europe will lose all its meaning and purpose as a civilization. In this critical period, will the door be opened for a new wave of imperialism or will they just reflect on the past with a sense of nostalgia? We will wait and see what the future brings.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 04 Haziran 2014, 16:35