The Corner

Southern Europe as Disneyland?

This week saw another spate of essays on the (dismal) fate of Europe, the Left seeing it largely as a temporary financial problem (due to globalization, big banks, Wall Street, the rich, etc.), the center and Right as the logical dividends of an illogical union, and the inevitable wages of socialism.

As for the future, there are really only two choices for the EU if it hopes to survive in its present form: The Northern Europeans have to turn the Mediterranean nations and Ireland into something far more like themselves in terms of work habits, financial discipline, and views about leisure (a daunting task with 11 million Greeks, but nearly impossible with 125 million more Italians, Spaniards, Portuguese, and Irish) — or to keep a stiff upper lip and keep subsidizing the so-called PIGS on the theory that their unique cultures and histories offer “diversity” to the European community in terms of weather, food, beaches, music, and attitudes, making them better places to spend a few weeks in the summer than Oslo, Frankfurt, or Liverpool.

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