It is only human to search for a ray of light in the European Union’s ever-darkening financial landscape. Could it take the form of an unexpected boost to the cause of EU political and economic integration?
One such optimist, a genial and perceptive diplomat who has immersed himself in EU affairs for the past 30 years, suggested to me the other day that it often takes a crisis to inject real momentum into what he and others in Brussels like to call “the European project”. For example, the 1992 crisis in the European exchange mechanism appeared to deal a serious blow to the goal of creating a single European currency. But the reaction was spirited. Only seven years later, the euro was up and running.
For the politicians, diplomats, European Union officials, lawyers, lobbyists, journalists and other folk who have to fly in and out of Brussels a lot in their course of their duties, Brussels Airlines is a fairly popular choice.
Created in 2006 from the merger of Virgin Express and Sabena, the ill-fated Belgian national carrier, Brussels Airlines is a busy, friendly, no-frills company that in my experience does a good job getting you from A to B in Europe without a great deal of fuss.
The times are so alarming that sometimes all you can do is laugh. Consider Fortis, the large Belgian-Dutch bank and insurance company, which this week became Europe’s biggest casualty so far of the world financial turmoil.
Only a few months ago it launched a new advertising campaign. It was a nice catchy slogan, too. ”Here today. Where tomorrow?”