Article of the month: The EU and the Habsburg Monarchy

The threat that the EU faces today is as deadly as the one that confronted the Habsburg Monarchy a hundred years ago, writes British diplomat Robert Cooper in an article contributed by Transit.

"Instead of the uncontrolled expansion of armies and navies of the early twentieth century, when few understood the implications of the new military technology, we live today in a world of uncontrolled global financial markets dealing in instruments that few comprehend. And the crisis strikes at the heart of the EU. If the EU ceases to be a bringer of prosperity but becomes instead a cause of impoverishment, it too will collapse. Because, unlike the Habsburg Monarchy, the EU is not a state but a community of states, its collapse will not begin at the centre, but at the edges. If it ever dies, it will do so with a whimper, rather than a bang. This fish rots from the tail, not the head. The explosion will come not in Brussels but on the streets of Athens, Rome or Madrid. Perhaps we are seeing the first signs."

But getting it right does not need a miracle: "It requires only open debate, open minds, a readiness to listen and to learn. Intellectual clarity and human sympathy is all that we need, plus some understanding what we stand to lose," Cooper, one of the intellectual architects of EU foreign policy, concludes. "Unlike war, there are no winners when financial markets collapse (no, not even George Soros). If we fail, it will be by errors in our economics or misjudgments of our politics or through collective stupidity."

Robert Cooper
The European Union and the Habsburg Monarchy

This article is available in English

Looking forward to 2013

To all readers, contributors and partners: a happy, peaceful, yet exciting new year! And a special thanks to those of you who have supported Eurozine during 2012!

The euro crisis is already in its third year and the difficulties that the European Union had to face in 2012 are meanwhile better described as parts of normality than as in any way exceptional. Yet the European crisis is exceptional. The Nobel Peace Prize can't change the fact that 2013 will be something of a make-or-break year for the European integration project.

"The Habsburg Monarchy lasted five centuries. It was both solid and flexible; it aroused genuine affection among its citizens. But it vanished in a puff of smoke. Should we expect the European Union, shallow in history and unloved by those it serves, to do better?" In the latest contribution to our focus on the European crisis, Robert Cooper suggests that threat that the EU faces today is as deadly as the one that confronted the Habsburg Monarchy a hundred years ago.

Whatever the fate of the EU will be, we will in 2013 continue to publish this type of eye-opening historical and cross-border analysis in the series The EU: Broken or just broke?

Later this year, Eurozine will also launch a new sister website, presenting the Time to Talk project. Time to Talk is a network of European houses of debate and the website will feature videos of a series of public debates on European issues, taking place across the continent. From London to Sofia, from Warsaw to Barcelona, what unites the Time to Talk network members is their dedication to tackling the hard questions that often remain beneath the popular public discourse: raising uncomfortable issues, offering inspiring new points of views and encouraging audiences' participation.

And finally, the annual Eurozine conference, meanwhile attracting some hundred editors, writers and intellectuals from all over Europe, will take place in Barcelona in September. This year the meeting will focus on cultural and intellectual debate: What is the difference between an intellectual and an expert? Or between discursive action and political activism?

These are just some of the things we have in store for 2013.

Unfortunately, Eurozine is not immune to the effects of the economic crisis. More than ever, we rely on you, the readers who use Eurozine as a source of information and ideas. We are a small, lean operation, but quality costs. If you appreciate our work -- and we know that you do -- we ask you to help keep Eurozine free and independent. You can easily and securely donate online or transfer your donation to Eurozine's donations account.

With your help we will continue to provide a Europe-wide overview of current themes and discussions in 2013, presenting the best articles from our partners in translation, as well as original texts, on all aspects of culture and politics.

Make a one-off donation or set up a standing order

New Eurozine partner: Spilne

Spilne – or in English, Commons: Journal for social critique – has joined the Eurozine network. Based in Kiev (Ukraine), the Spilne collective consists of social scientists, social activists, journalists, and artists. It describes its standpoint as "leftist and anti-capitalist".

The printed journal is published two times a year: thematic issues that include exclusive research and analysis from Ukraine, interviews with scholars and activists, translations of classical studies from abroad, and book reviews. The project also includes an up-to-date Internet journal.

More on Spilne, including the current issue

New articles

Jan-Werner Müller
The failure of European intellectuals?
Intellectuals have been accused of failing to restore a European confidence undermined by crisis. Yet calls for legitimating European narratives reflect the logic of nineteenth-century nation building, argues intellectual historian Jan-Werner Müller.

This article is now available in English, Greek and Slovenian

Ovidiu Nahoi
War in Europe? Not so impossible
The dark warnings of the Polish finance minister about the prospect of war in Europe if the crisis deepens were met with scepticism. But there is no call for complacency about where current, nationalist tendencies might lead, writes the editor of "Adevarul Europa".

This article is now available in Danish, English, Rumanian and Ukrainian

Eurozine Review
Artists as collateral damage
"Varlik" surveys the Turkish journals landscape; "Arena" prepares for the worst; "Glänta" revisits the ethnographic museum; "Polar" explores revolutions before and after; "Esprit" calls for a renaissance of the humanities; "openDemocracy" reacts to the Leveson Report; "La Revue nouvelle" faults republican feminism; "Host" talks to Karol Sidon, playwright and Rabbi; and "Sodobonost" celebrates political cartoonist Hinko Smrekar.

This article is available in English

Diedrich Diederichsen
The imperative of the authentic
Diedrich Diederichsen analyses how the imperative of authenticity has impacted on social life from the 1950s, critiquing the command that pop music possesses over the archdemocratic virtue of realizing and reinventing opportunities.

This article is available in German

Lisa Karlsson Blom, Mikela Lundahl
Haunted museums
Ethnography, coloniality and sore points
The troubled relationship between modernity and its colonial past haunts the ethnographic museum. But do new museums of world culture provide a plausible alternative? Or do they achieve little more than securing their own survival?

This article is available in English and Swedish

Robert Cooper
The European Union and the Habsburg Monarchy
The threat that the EU faces today is as deadly as the one that confronted the Habsburg Monarchy a hundred years ago, writes British diplomat Robert Cooper, one of the intellectual architects of EU foreign policy. But getting it right does not need a miracle.

This article is available in English

Sabine Nuss
Contested copyright
Underlying the debate on intellectual property is an ideological faultline between capitalist models and alternatives, writes Sabine Nuss. Although a property approach to intellectual goods has major disadvantages it remains the lesser of many evils.

This article is available in German

Eurozine Review
Spectacular pinkness
"Soundings" says liberal feminism isn't up to the job; "Merkur" publishes an all-women issue without women's issues; "Blätter" surveys the intellectual property battlefield; "L'Espill" does the sums for Spain and Catalonia; "Letras Libres" sees no more "independentistas" than before; "Dialogi" reads purloined letters and leaked emails; "Kulturos barai" asks what is to be done on a full planet; "La Revue Nouvelle" finds Flemish separatism at the centre of Belgian politics; "Vikerkaar" considers Latvian integration policy academic; "dérive" claims the right to the city; and "Le Monde diplomatique" (Oslo) can't believe that the EU will get the Nobel Peace Prize.

This article is available in English

Stefanie Peter
Phantom bodies
Or how I learned to understand Poland’s self-image
The renewed debate over the rural roots of most Poles -- or their denial thereof -- fascinates ethnologist Stefanie Peter. A new study of "the cultural history of Polish ambition" confirms her impression of Polish scepticism towards their idealized self-image as a nation of nobles.

This article is available in German

Alison Winch
The girlfriend gaze
Women's friendship and intimacy circles are increasingly taking on the function of mutual self-policing, writes Alison Winch. In a relentlessly visual landscape, the feminine ideal is the girl and the girled body is an asset.

This article is available in English

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Eurozine Newsletter: 01/2013