Europe’s Identity Crisis

Europe's left wing has given the right a boost. Popular liberal fears of Americanization and "coca-colonization" have fostered the belief that individual cultures are in danger of extinction. And France's extreme right is exploiting this pervasive anxiety in the current presidential elections. Though Jacques Chirac is sure to win ultimately, the neo-fascist Jean-Marie Le Pen has done surprisingly well on his anti-European Union, anti-immigration platform. Le Pen's themes resonate across Europe where an increasing number of people see the imminent completion of the European Union (EU) as the death of the sovereign state. As one Europe scholar explains, "Europeans are recycling the nation-states into member-states, which will have to keep to a discipline that will deny them the national sovereignty for which they fought so many wars in the past." Le Pen also cites immigration as a direct threat to national cultures, maintaining that the current flood of foreigners will lead to the creation of a "mongrel nation." Given Europe's already tight job market, such animosities towards immigrants will likely remain well after the completion of the EU. – YaleGlobal

Europe's Identity Crisis

Steven Erlanger
Monday, May 5, 2003

Click here for the original article on The New York Times website.

© 2003 The New York Times Company

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