More Edification From Europe

For entertainment value, check out this account of the latest controversy in Sweden. As best I can decipher it, Maud Oloffson, the head of one of Sweden’s political parties, was criticized for inviting Janet Bush, a British Euro-opponent, to a seminar at a political “retreat” in Sweden. Ms. Bush is controversial because a slogan of her anti-EU campaign was “‘Ein Volk! Ein Reich! Ein Euro!”
This analogy to the Third Reich was considered out of bounds in Europe, where only President Bush can be compared to Hitler. Oloffson compounded the controversy by defending her invitation to Ms. Bush, saying that “[German Foreign Minister] Joschka Fischer was here yesterday. He was a terrorist. So he shouldn’t have come either.”
The only thing more verboten in Europe than comparing contemporary Germans to Hitler is referring to the hard-left pasts of politicians like Fischer, who was indeed, if not a terrorist, certainly a supporter of terrorists. So Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh said that Olofsson’s comments ”embarrass us in front of Germany and obviously risk provoking some reaction.” Like maybe Fischer will cancel his vacation in Sweden, as Gerhard Schroeder cancelled his Italian vacation after an Italian sub-minister insulted German tourists.
The current disputes among Europeans are mostly comic opera, but they do raise obvious questions about whether the vision of a united Europe is more fantasy than reality.


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