Record poverty in southern Europe, fences and guns in response to refugees, Brexit on the horizon – the European Union is facing the deepest crisis in its history. But does the EU have the potential to become the “social and democratic Europe” that has been presented to us as a political ideal for decades? 

In order to find answers to these questions, it is necessary to demystify many of our most beloved images of the EU. We must shatter the European illusion – because at its core are competition and neoliberal economic policy. Changing this would be near to impossible. But if the EU cannot be saved and a return to the nation state is no solution, what then? 

The European Illusion analyses the EU’s role in key policy areas and reveals the truth behind some of the most strongly held beliefs about the European Union. It proposes a starting point for a new discussion for social movement activists and progressives. Instead of arguing over the false dichotomy of “reform or exit”, we must look for the strategies towards the EU and beyond. 

“Sharply written. Uncomfortably close to the truth.” James Galbraith 

On the English edition

The European Illusion was initially published in German in the autumn of 2017. We are very thankful to Rosa Luxemburg Foundation Brussels for their support in translating the book to English.

All the chapters were written initially in early 2017 for an Austrian and German audience. We have made some updates in the course of translating; however, please keep in mind that we were not able to take into account all the developments of the past year.

Most of the contributors of this book live and are politically active in Austria, which strongly influences the perspectives it covers. We believe that as social movements, we need to strengthen our ability to reflect on differences of context, including in a geographical sense. We have tried to add information to make examples from Austria accessible to readers, and to add experiences from other places where possible.

We hope that our book will not only provide the basis for inspiring political debates, but will also sow the seeds of real political change.

How to get the book

The English edition is available as a free ebook here. All the chapters can be found on this website. The printed book is available as a print-on-demand through regular bookstores.

The initial, German edition of the book is available in bookstore or via the Attac Austria shop

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