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Balibar: ‘The Mediterranean problem is taking the dimensions of genocide’

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Interview. We spoke with the French philosopher Etienne Balibar about the European crisis: ‘Faced with the fact that there are no benefits for anyone in leaving the EU, we are moving toward an inner decomposition and a mutual neutralization. I'm sorry, but I'm a radical pessimist.’

written by Anna Maria Merlo

Topic European Union

Also filed under interview


June 14, 2018

Only Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez was willing to save the honor of social democracy and welcome the Aquarius, an ocean liner filled with refugees rejected by European ports. The new Italian government and the many nationalist movements across the continent are sewing chaos. The left is torn between proponents of openness and closedness, with the risk of a schism between liberalism and xenophobia, as highlighted recently by the clash within Die Linke, while the Social Democrat pro-European space is narrowing and might become irrelevant.

We discussed the currents of the new European crisis with the philosopher Etienne Balibar, together with Vadim Kamenka of Humanité Dimanche.

The Italian government is putting the EU in a tough spot—indeed, blackmailing it. What is Brussels doing, if it is doing anything, in response?

One thing has struck me: the statement by the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, a few days back, which said that they should not make the same mistake with Italy that they made with Greece. In the background, there was the recognition that a mistake had been made with Greece. But what was this error, according to the Commission? A fundamental error of substance, i.e. imposing a policy of austerity and the destruction of the national economy as a means of solving the debt problem? Or just an error of form, as in the interpretation of the Commissioner for Economic Affairs, Pierre Moscovici?

The idea here seems to be to not enter into a hard conflict with Italy, as was done with Greece. The........

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