The old European Union didn’t work, that much has been made clear by the ongoing debt crisis. But many in Europe think there is now a clear path to a new, more integrated — and smaller — bloc. What must happen first?

Lots of food for thought in this International Spiegel article.

Unfortunately, the article concentrates only on the institutional changes needed to make the EU work again and win back the trust of its citizens. The problems of this EU go way much further than new institutional tinkering. Europe is in crisis because it lacks a clear vision and the innovative and smart structures to face its real challenge: how can it protect the prosperity and security of its citizens in a 21st century world which is bumping into the resource and energy limits of growth and at the same time is experiencing a major geopolitical and economic power shift?

The real Phoenix project which Europe needs will need to move far beyond current “solutions” such as “more Europe” (ranging from communitisation of economic and fiscal policies to ideas for an “avant-garde” or “two-speed Europe” and even more ambitious and wild dreams like the United States of Europe) or the “Merkozy” method (the “big” European powers taking intergovernmental control with instrumentalist policies which do little to solve the underlying crisis).

Phoenix Europe will have to be built around three fundamental ideas: an new economic model based on recognising and respecting ecological and energy limits to traditionally defined and everlasting “economic growth”, social equality and distribution (internal and external) and a new balance between visionary leadership and deeper democracy.

For more ideas on this, see my blog post of 13 October.

Who wants to work with me on the blueprint for this new Phoenix Europe project?