Europe: East vs. West, or North vs. South?
Travel Blog • Eva Holland • 09.07.10 | 4:21 PM ET
Anne Applebaum thinks the continent’s axis is changing, from the East-West divide of the Cold War era to a new, and more fluid, North-South split. She writes in Slate:
North and South: Not everybody is going to like that concept, especially not the new South, some of whose members are not necessarily in the southern half of the continent. For these are not geographical designations, but political terms of art. The South contains all those countries whose political classes have not been able to balance their national budgets, whose bureaucrats have not been able to reduce their numbers, whose voters have not learned to approve of austerity: Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Hungary, Bulgaria, and—at the moment—Ireland.
The North contains the budget hawks: Germany, Poland, Estonia, Scandinavia, the Czechs, and the Slovaks. Britain’s new government, with its austerity budget, aims to return to the North, following its recent experience of life in the South. France floats somewhere in between. Wealth, as such, isn’t northern: Much of the South is very rich. But in the North, private wealth has grown more or less in tandem with the public sector. Private wealth and public squalor are more typical of the South.