In the Sunday media review, Youropa’s editors dig into a week of EU coverage and pick a few pieces that caught their attention. Some of the most interesting stories from international newspapers, handpicked by Youropa.
Iceland hunting banksters
Le Monde reports on how Iceland is holding irresponsible bankers to account. An appointed team of investigators uncover and send perpetrators of bank fraud to court. At the moment, more than a hundred cases are investigated, writes Charlotte Chabas of Le Monde.
As one banking scandal after the other shocks European countries – not least Britain – there might be good reason to look north towards Iceland, the small EU candidate country that as one of the first experienced the devastating consequences of fraud in the banking sector.
Iceland went trough a bankruptcy after its three major banks collapsed in late 2008 as the subprime crisis hit the shores of the island. The demands of the people in the aftermath of the collapse was that those who profited from the economic situation and pushed the country into the economic turmoil should be brought to justice.
Only one person applied for the job as banking investigator as the job was created after the throw-over of the former government. Olafur Hauksson, a former police commissioner in a small port town, applied and got the job to hunt down the big bankers who caused the biggest crisis in the country’s modern history. Starting out managing five investigators, Hauksson’s team now counts over one hundred employees.
Debate: Nationalism and the European empire
The EU has been accused of being an Empire, but that is not necessarily something wrong, writes Roger Scruton, a philosopher, in a commentary in the Dutch NCR Handelsblad. The problem is, however, that the people in Europe never have been asked if they want the empire, and they keep being neglected by Europe’s political elites, he says.
“[The EU] suffers from one overwhelming defect, which is that it has never persuaded the people of Europe to accept it,” argues Scruton.
“The EU never persuaded the people to accept it” (Roger Scruton)
It might not be an empire as we have seen with Rome and Britannia, but the fundamental idea behind it is that nationalism was the reason to the two world wars and therefore should be limited. This creates a one-way process of “ever-increasing unity, under a centralized structure of command.”
But fighting nationalism is not just a lost battle, it is also misunderstood.
“National loyalty has nothing intrinsically to do with racism or fascism: its primary expression is in the attachment to territory and to the community that has grown in it,” writes Roger Scruton.
Military strategists cling to the conventional theories surrounding this type of weaponry: mutual ensured destruction and deterrence haven’t lost their relevance in today’s world, they say.