An entertaining and bitingly satirical novel about the European Union has finally been translated into English. The book is The Capital by the Austrian writer Robert Menasse. 
Foreign Policy magazine has the best review:

The deification of negotiation and compromise is expressed in the union’s famously bureaucratic procedures, its love of norms and baroque protocol. As long as this way of doing politics was infused with the memory of the devastation that preceded the founding of the union, it had a raison d’être. Better the language of labyrinthine bureaucracy than hate speech; better to jaw-jaw than war-war.

The Capital catches the moment when the bureaucracy forgets the reason for its creation and becomes something that exists simply to perpetuate itself and thus can no longer justify its existence to the general public.

I ordered my copy in German and look forward to the evocation of memories of my 25 years living in Europe, from pre-Maastrich EFTA to monthly meetings with European Union officials in Luxembourg during the early 80s.

By the way, it is only fair that the EU finds itself in disarray. Consider the story about how the Treaty of Rome, which laid the groundwork for what was to become the EU, was signed on blank pieces of paper, and you will understand its malaise.

The EU: better to jaw-jaw than war-war

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.