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Family Feuds: The European Version

In an attempt to simplify the complex relationships between the different European countries, many compare it to a family—a dysfunctional one at that. I recently read a few articles that I found quite humorous which actually help readers better understand the social and cultural aspects of this never-ending economic crisis.

I thought sharing the “family feuds” within the European union with you would help show the dynamics between European leaders in a more “close to home” way. This might make the issue something you can easily relate to. Here are a few:

Joe Weisenthal from “Business Insider” quotes Bob Savage of Track Research to describe the dysfunctional family that is the European Union. Mom, Angela Merkel, and Dad, François Hollande, stay together for the sake of the children. The children, Italy and Spain, understand this and blackmail their parents for better toys. The children plan to ask for the most expensive toys, ones their parents can’t afford. Ireland wants those toys too; Portugal is still not sure what toy to ask for, and all of them ignore Greece, the black sheep of the family.

Edward Hadas of Reuters describes the relationships between the European “brothers.” According to him, Greece is the wayward uncle who never seems to settle down and keeps asking for a little money to tide him over. Then there are the three brothers: Spain, the youngest, who is trying to get back on the right track but without much success; Italy, a smart, voluble, and naughty middle child; and Germany, the oldest brother, who is sick of hearing his relatives’ complaints and demands, but usually relents in the end. What role do the EU and other central authorities get in this made-up family? The old uncles nobody listens to who are scared to annoy the oldest brother. The only exception is the European Central Bank, who increasingly behaves as a sort of powerful Godfather to the whole clan.

Just as in many families, the union of the European countries is an attempt to bring harmony to a group of diverse personalities who are tied together by history and location. Functioning or not, this family is goes back 2,000 years, and that means a lot of baggage. Is the historic animosity between the countries what’s causing this deterioration? It could be that all that is needed is some goodwill and forgiveness. Or maybe some family therapy is in order.

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