The EU’s enduring lack of unity

The whole idea seems like a pipe dream sometimes, doesn’t it? A geographically close group of countries with distinct national identities coming together in the hope of ensuring mutual economic prosperity, on the assumption that they will bond in an ineradicable way by using the same currency. Except that thousand-year-old enmities and prejudices aren’t good bonding agents. Britain didn’t even adopt the euro. This news item was a reminder of fundamental divisions:

The Brussels-based French-language press corps reacted with fury Wednesday to the release in English of the [European Union’s] annual report cards on the bloc’s 27 economies.

In an angry open e-mail to the European Commission, the correspondent for the daily Liberation newspaper Jean Quatremer said — in French: “Once again, all the documents published today are available only in English. This is unacceptable.”

The Commission released 1,500 pages of hotly-awaited reports on the state of the bloc’s economies along with proposals to redress public finances as Europe fights the debt crisis threatening some of its biggest economies.

“I can’t see why the Anglo-Saxon media should benefit from such an unbelievable competitive edge on the remainder of the other media and I can’t see any practical reason for the Commission’s incapacity to do this work.”

“The right to be informed in one’s own language about the social and budgetary sacrifices demanded by the EU executive is a minimum right,” he added.

His protest was backed by most of his French colleagues.

A spokesperson for the Commission told [Agence France-Presse] that “the translations are coming.”

European union? Maybe in another millennium.