Ah, the idea of united Europe. So simple, yet so complicated. Greece has been in the news the last few days, battling the Iron Lady of Germany on their debt payments. “You gave us too much money,” they claim. “We took more than we wanted and now we have no way of repaying it back.”
Debt problems aside, there is a prevailing problem in (Eastern) European countries. Nobody wants to acknowledge it, but EU will have a hard time sustaining itself if it is not fixed. Countries like Greece, (recently joined) Croatia, Hungary, Latvia etc… they all have poor financial background. Croatians lived in socialism for decades. Do you really think the politicians, who ruled in Yugoslavia and have left behind a socialist legacy, know anything about debt? Managing? Investing?
There’s a certain discrepancy between reality and theory. In theory, they are all “educated” enough to make financial decisions. The reality is they are not used to the mind-set of capitalism. In their hearts they carry socialism. They are used to corruption. Nobody gets penalized. Greece has enjoyed creating government jobs for everyone for years, but they don’t see that they won’t survive if they do it again. Even if they leave the EU, the mentality the way people do business/ run the country will be their fall. It will also be the fall of Croatians, Latvians etc. The mentality of people needs to change. Old habits have to die out. They may not like capitalism, but their previous way of doing things didn’t work out either.
The key to EU’s success will be changing the mentality of people to not only accept capitalistic thinking but know how to use it too. Throwing money at countries without fixing their operating structure has never benefited anyone.