steepholm (steepholm) wrote,

Double Euro-vision

Is anyone else suffering from double Eurovision?

In one version of Europe, Spain and Portgual are bankrupt, Greece is a basket-case, and Italy is dealing with huge amounts of debt. But switch from the Euro to the Euros, and all is utterly changed, especially in the south: Portugal and Italy are formidable nations, Spain bestrides the world, and Greece overthrows Russia. In northern Europe, the changes are smaller: Germany is a power to be reckoned with in both versions, as is France (but rather less so); Holland is a decent but not a major nation; and England's position is, we might say, ambiguous.

Changing from one Europe to the other is usually instantaneous, a kind of cultural code-switching - just as we can happily use the word "Gift" to mean either "present" or "poison". It's a bit like switching between the present and the sixteenth century, where suddenly it seems natural to think of "Spain" as denoting the richest and most powerful country again. But these transpositions leave a kind of Derridean trace, a faintly dissonant (but salutary) reminder of the ultimately contingent nature of things.

In other news, I note that Greece's decision to stay in the Euro was widely reported to have prompted "sighs of relief" across the continent. However, I could have sworn I heard a cry of "Shit!", coming from the general direction of Berlin.
Tags: current affairs
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