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The Ulysses Project

Breaking the Spell of the European Economic Crisis
Rui Tavares

The ongoing economic depression has exposed the political, institutional and regulatory weaknesses of the European Union. The Portugese politician Rui Tavares wants a better European Union in which the peripheral countries of the Eurozone will converge with those of the centre, in terms of economic robustness and political openness.
Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain were dubbed the ‘PIGS’ and have undergone shock treatment after the economic crisis that began in 2008. The public perception in many EU countries is that this treatment was unsuccessful in Greece but that it was able to bring long term growth prospects to other countries, like Portugal. This distinction between Greece and Portugal is many times explained by the lack of commitment of the Greek government that contrasts with the rigorous implementation of austerity measures by the Portuguese government. However, this view of the crisis is simplistic and misleading. If we look at the Portuguese economy more carefully, we realize that many structural problems still exist and that they were not solved with the policies implemented during the last years. Is Portugal the EU best student?

The ongoing economic depression has exposed the political, institutional and regulatory weaknesses of the European Union and it has threatened to jeopardize the entire European integration process. In order to build in Europe and in the world a sustainable environment for democracy, human rights and shared prosperity, we need the equivalent of an ideological reformation that will reframe the economy, globalization and transnational politics according to a new understanding of our fundamental values, principles and ideals. Until now there was not any plan that was broad and multifaceted for its development, a plan that comes from within and involves the Union, the national governments, the citizens and the civil society organizations. This is the objective of the Ulysses Project. Properly understood the Ulysses Project is a network, a project and a movement. It is a network of people coming from diverse social and academic backgrounds, sharing the belief of a better European Union in which the peripheral countries of the Eurozone will converge with those of the centre, in terms of economic robustness and political openness.

Rui Tavares is a Portuguese politician, writer, translator, and historian. He was a member of the European Parliament between 2009 and 2014 and was the Rapporteur of the report of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs on the situation of fundamental rights: standards and practices in Hungary. Rui Tavares is one of the founders of the political party Livre and is a frequent presence in the Portuguese media where he gives special attention to European policies.
 

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