This article only confirms the fears about growing political radicalisation and anti-Europe feeling (and/or anti-other EU countries) among EU Member States’ populations.
But I think El Pais was definitely wrong about equating current Germany to Hitler’s. Another, maybe paradoxical, parallelism is in my view increasingly more likely to be drawn between on the one hand the conditions of humiliation, economic despair and hopelessness that the populations of Southern European countries are currently facing as a result of the conditions imposed for the financial help they receive; and, on the other, those to which the post-WWI Germany was subject by the winning allies and international community through the different peace treaties that imposed the famous “reparations”. The paradox would be that in this case, it would be Germany who would be fostering a catastrophic socio-economic situation in Southern Europe, through its leading position in favour of economic austerity.
The psychological impact that the crisis is having on the populations of the countries most affected by it, including an increase in the suicides rate, is being translated into the political arena by mistrust in the traditional political system, and by a radicalisation of political ideas.
The combination “economic oppression imposed from the outside”, led, in the case of the post WWI-Germany, to the consequences we all know. Even if the circumstances of the post-1919 Germany and of current Southern Europe are of course different, there seem to be enough fundamental similarities (poverty, despair, external intervention in national economic affairs) to create in my view a fundamental alarm about the political situation in Europe for the coming years.
The same moral, and, especially, “punitive” dimension that the post WWI treaties had towards Germany seems to arise from some of the comments made by members of the German government, about the conditions they are imposing in exchange for the financial help to Southern European countries. This is only likely to further stir a visceral reaction from the populations of the countries affected, and, most of all, a feeling of injustice.
When people feel (and indeed are) engulfed in a tunnel from which there is no visible end (in Spain, economic recovery was recently forecast to no sooner than 2018), they feel they have nothing to lose. It is then easy to be lured by nationalist and even xenophobic discourses, especially if those discourses touch on the much hurt collective self-pride and on the feeling of injustice and indignation.
A scapegoat needs then only be created, as a victim to be immolated to create a sense of restoration of a “fair order”, or to give sense to the absurd harshness of the lives of too many Europeans these days.
Can we afford to continue to wait and see if that victim is designated?