Lessons from Europe [Archives:2003/06/Viewpoint]

February 10 2003

After a recent visit I made to Athens to attend the conference “Europe, the Mediterranean and the Euro,” I have come to the conclusion that the future in Europe is bright. Countries of various backgrounds, languages, and systems have come together to form a united front to win the economic battle of the future.
The ‘Euro’, which was the focus of the event, has been in steady growth compared to the US dollar. And global events happening today suggest that the growth is not temporary. The Euro is expected to continue its growth, as the expected war in the region would result in even greater threats for the US dollar.
Europeans seem to be somewhat determined to involve Arab and non-EU-member countries in their plans to promote the Euro in day-to-day business in those countries.
The conference presented the experiences of the past four years since the Euro became the single currency for 12 EU countries and highlighted the benefits created for European countries and for our countries.
The conference was a good reminder of the strength and power that unity provides to world nations. As more countries are going to join the EU, the significance of the Euro in the international market will increase dramatically. As a matter of fact, it is already increasing without those countries, so one can imagine the boost it will get after they join.
Arabs should learn from the Europeans. In a time when Europe is uniting its commercial and economic stance, Arab leaders cannot even decide where to hold a summit meeting, and who will be leading it. They are fighting on leadership of a failed system that has proven to be worthless and useless in critical times.
We are unfortunately concentrating on the ridiculous things such as leading sessions, holding talks, meetings, and other artificial issues, while overlooking and ignoring all other issues concerning the future of the Arab world which is at stake.
During the conference, I was surprised by a statement of one of the speakers saying that they want involvement of Arab Mediterranean countries in European economic strategies and establishments. Can those Arab countries merge with Europe before uniting with other Arab countries?
Where did we go wrong and why can’t we come together on even one single issue?
And why can’t we learn from Europeans how they got things right?