Emil Hurezeanu: ‘Economic crisis developed immanent political crisis of this continent’

One of Romania’s best known journalists, Emil Hurezeanu, has distinguished himself lately as a much appreciated political analyst. With a prodigious journalist activity that began in Romania in 1976 and continued in Munich, at Radio Free Europe, after he obtained political asylum, his voice is deeply imprinted on the memory of those who, in the communist years, would silently listen to the ‘Romanian current affairs’ programme aired by the station banned by the former regime. After he had returned to Romania, in 2002, Emil Hurezeanu has become a TV and radio journalist and continued working as a publicist and mostly as an analyst. It was in that capacity that the renovated National Theatre hall in Bucharest hosted him on Sunday, 25 January, for two hours, in an attempt to clarify a bit the troubled waters in which we, the citizens of the European Union, are swimming today.

‘Europe is att he core of unusual crises: a war to the East, engaging Ukraine and Russia, ignited by Ukraine’s wish to draw closer to Europe and Russia’s intention to break away with the West. The question goes on the capability of the West to overcome the economic crisis and the various social crises, its political and moral impotence of managing democracy in the era of dying capitalism. We are witnessing a commotion caused by the terrorist attacks in the French capital against the background of escalated anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and xenophobia in the countries that are among the founders of Enlightenment and Euro-Atlantic civilisation. We can no longer speak of either Christianity or Islam. What we see here is the rage of the set of the religions. We witness a much wider crisis of globalisation, which homogenises without connecting, which divides and exacerbates identities. A crisis of religion, of collective, integrative ideologies defied by the excesses of disorientating, autistic and aggressive individualism. The crises of Europe have settled both in the centre and at the peripheries, in the national states members of the EU, as well as between the hard core of developed Europe and the marginal countries of the continent’, Emil Hurezeanu presents the current reality.


‘Europe is inflamed by classic conflicts’

In spite of what is believed, the big problem is not the high number of victims who perished in the attacks this month, but the state in which Europe is. ‘What happened at the beginning of January should not be a crucial event in the history of Europe. Seventeen people were killed in Paris. The same day, 2,000 people were killed in Nigerian villages, 40 were blown up in Yemen and, as realistic Americans put it – in a political, not spiritual sense – the number of victims was smaller than the number of people who die thunder struck in the US in a year. The problem however is hat Europe is inflamed by classic conflicts which seemed to have been resolved. The anti-Semitism and the Holocaust and WWII seemed to have been dealt with by the EU history. And yet, anti-Semitism is making victims because France is the country with the highest number of Jews and Muslims in the EU, hence the tension. Such a situation has not been recorded ever since the WWII. The danger is greater and deeper, the same that triggers a war also in Eastern Europe, that causes wars in Afghanistan or Iraq, which pertains to Europe’s identity’, the commentator believes.


‘In EU we have a crisis of renationalisation’

In Emil Hurezeanu’s opinion, the genuine crisis in Europe, following the economic crisis caused by the USA, the country that prints its own money and therefore could deal with the problem quickly, is the one that followed the economic crisis, the political crisis. ‘The EU is a confederation with a rotating leadership, that only has a common currency in a few states, whose member states have distinct structures and policies, roughly a political anomaly. At the end of the Cold War, Kohl and Mitterrand came to an agreement on the common currency, each having something different in mind. Mitterrand wanted to salvage the franc that was being crushed by the German mark, and Kohl wanted to redeem the unification in that way, gaining half of a country and renouncing the Deutsche Mark’, the analyst also said.

The political crisis that followed the economic crisis did not develop in the US because that is a sovereign state with a single administration. On the other hand, Europe took a full blow for it was disunited. ‘In the EU there is not a single president, a single prime minister, a single Parliament – although there is a European Parliament, that is a prop with symbolic, staged democracy capacities, it ahs no common tax policies – so the economic crisis developed the political crisis immanent to this continent. We have come to the most dangerous political crisis in Europe, the crisis of sovereignty, a crisis of impossible federalisation and a crisis of an obligation of confederalisation. Federalisation means America, confederalisation means what happens today in Europe: not just the absence of a common administration to implement common policies, but also a crisis of renationalisation. France wants a stronger country, Germany the same, the UK wants a country so strong that, if it doesn’t like it, it is ready to opt out of the EU, Spain wants a country so strong that it is even ready to deal with Catalonia and they are all reterritorializing a modern economic crisis. This mechanism had been out of all forecasts. We are back to square one’, was Emil Hurezeanu’s conclusion.


Cause of Russian-Ukrainian war has European roots


In the analyst’s view, what will follow will be a crescendo of popularity of ‘sceptical parties’ – an opinion supported by the results of the legislative election that took place in Greece last Sunday – an escapeless situation. ‘There is no way out. It is very difficult for Europe to become a federation in such a way as to erase Greece’s debt and meet Germany back inside a single state. It is increasingly difficult for anything like that to happen. We remember that, at the beginning of the crisis, people were saying: <May this crisis not be similar to what happened in 1929, because, after five years, there will be war>. The war is here. The war at the border between Russia and Ukraine is a war that resulted from the same crisis, the cause of which was Ukraine’s wish to come closer to the EU against Russia’s opposition who pursued an Euro-Asian union’.

In what regards the solutions for Europe, Emil Hurezeanu said, during the conference, that there were just two, ‘one of the hawks, one of the doves’. One of the hawks, he said, is George Friedman, who heads the Stratfor agency also including numerous people who, like him, used to work in intelligence. The journalist quoted some of Friedman’s ideas, mentioned din the recently published book: ‘there is not a lot to be done, we are getting ready for the war. It will not be a war like WWII or the Cold War… There will be war and we are preparing for it. Because all these myths and clichés called multiculturalism and so on are worthless. Multiculturalism is a substitute for the retreat of religion. It is not religion that drives people into conflict, but the cynicism of people deserted by God and victims of an exacerbated positivism where the mass media, politics, terminological confusion, indifference rather than knowledge and historic memory set the tone. One way or another, this gentleman recommends the war’, Hurezeanu said. According to him, there is also another option for the future of Europe, but it is no more optimistic than the former. ‘There are also benignant answers: solutions are impossible because Europe made a big mistake – it missed out on the second Enlightenment that was the Scientism, the positivising of the extreme, that led to the elimination of morality and God from man. So the world is dispersing’, the analyst further said, also confessing that one of the most interesting solutions from Ratzinger, in his book, ‘Europe in the crisis of cultures’, published before he became Pope. ‘He has some very interesting theories on the way in which man can win if he wants to, if he mobilises himself enough, the very perverse effects of the second Enlightenment that was more devastating than the extreme effects of Humanism which were the first and the second world wars. It was not coincidentally that, after the WWII, as, in the squares of Europe people where breaking free from Nazism euphoric with the new victory, Heidegger was saying: <we are now headed into the darkness>’ Emil Hurezeanu concluded.


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