Europe's turn of fortune is humbling, humiliating and, perhaps, irreversible. What went wrong, and when? Europe's most audacious moment occurred sometime between 1989 and 1991, a brief period that encapsulated both the demise of communism in Central and Eastern Europe and the bold steps forward on the path towards an 'ever-closer union' in Western Europe. Twenty years later, the dramatic failures of economic and political integration have forced Europeans to re-consider the underpinnings of their project. The economic crisis of 2010-11 also manifested itself as a crisis of European democracy. Old questions acquired new meaning: Is it possible to maintain conditions for self-government while undermining the nation-state? What are the limits of solidarity? Can Europe be truly united through its common history, or its common currency? Is further unity in Europe even desirable?
In Whose Liberty Is It Anyway? Stefan Auer exposes the limits of the current European project by interrogating some of its many incongruities, particularly when it comes to its commitment to freedom. The author argues that the calls for more European solidarity are not convincing when Europe's poor are asked to pay for the mistakes of those who are more fortunate. Europe's unity, Auer asserts, can only be maintained by accepting its limitations and by beginning to fulfill some of its many promises.