21.1.13

A Ironia do projecto europeu


Rui Tavares, 2012, Edições tinta-da-china


Even if you don't identify with the political underpinnings of many of the arguments and if some are not deeply explored or justified enough Tavares' writing is intellectually sound, crude and honest.

Fantastic analogy of present time Europe with Calvino's Il visconte dimezzato: the story of Viscount Medardo split in two perfect halves of good and evil. 

My English translation of some interesting bits:


- and not with keeping up to date with each minute of Brussel’s endless negotiations or with trying to grasp their poorly drafted texts and outcomes” (67)

“Transparency for itself does not solve our problem. The accumulation of (EU’s) small steps resulted in enormous complexity and a transparent view over that complexity does not help solve the problem. We are living a complexity crisis against which there is little transparency can do.” (68)


“The first (major trend) is the construction of an European Union in small, confused and dazzled steps, ever more distant from its citizens and closer to the abyss. A Union which speaks a language that is incomprehensible to its citizens and which now needs its citizens to understand her in order to save itself.” (Tavares 2012:13)

It is an open question if the EU’s transnational government experience will work. (27)
At the core of the European problem is a problem of language. Of language, not tongue. (40)Revitalize politics from below is an essential mission if we want to overcome the crisis and that is only possible if we bring meaning to words once again. (50)



“European leaders cannot are not able to communicate with a Union whose 500 million citizens are absorbed with surviving and fighting for their future and that of their descendants

He remembers two wonderful quotes:

“First, we have an absolute right to demand the whole cost of the war; second, we propose to demand the whole cost of the war; and third, a Committee appointed by direction of the Cabinet believe that it can be done,” Lloyd George.

“The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist,” Keynes.

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