I think I agree with the following definition of social cohesion:
"Social cohesion is defined as the willingness of members of a society to cooperate with each other in order to survive and prosper."
Here’s the reasoning why I think social cohesion is being sacrificed in the EU…
When big communities from very different backgrounds come together, there is going to be cultural friction. This has been the source of most modern racism. Racism wasn’t an issue in Marco Polo or Buddha’s days, when human movement was far more limited and gradual. Thus uncontrolled migration facilitates the relocation of entire communities to a foreign nation and form a subcommunity. When you bring your community with you to a new country, there is no pressure or urge to integrate. You basically stick to your own, and thus cultural segregation occurs. Racial tensions arise because of conflict where the two culturally different communities clash. If movement was more gradual, migrants like myself would be forced to integrate into the local community, rather than withdraw to the comfort of a familiar clique.
This problem is further exacerbated when times get tough. Hard working foreign workers are viewed on as competition for limited jobs. They become the scapegoat of blame for their own lack of employment. Now I condemn these sorts of attitudes, but you cannot deny that this is happening in reality. It also doesn’t help that a foreign worker who is basically here to just work, doesn’t bother integrating with society. So alienation occurs, and it becomes a matter of us-and-them.
The above just describes the breakdown of social cohesion arising in the scale of local communities. The EU structure is also causing international friction because of the following reasons…
Sharing a currency
On the international level, Greece’s economic recovery is being suppressed by Germany’s economic success. Explaining this takes a bit of economic understanding. When an economy goes into recession, their currency devalues. A devalued currency makes exports cheaper and imports more expensive, thus increasing exports, domestic spending and reducing imports. It also makes inward investment more attractive, as investors can get better value for money. Thus if Greece had its own currency, it would be able to devalue and be on its own way toward economic recovery, as every nation which controlled its own currency is able to do.
Imposition of austerity
On the other hand, Germany is going through economic boom because of their industry. This boom would normally push up the value of their currency, stabilising the market on the global scale. However, Germany’s currency is shared with Greece and other struggling EU countries. This is pushing down the value of the Euro relative to Germany’s economic success, thus increasing Germany’s competitiveness at the cost of the economies of Greece, Italy, and Spain. Additionally, the European Central Bank has imposed really tough economic austerity measures on Greece, measures which were pushed through by German financiers who wanted to protect their investment. Basically, Greece was not allowed to default on its national debts to protect Germany’s investment in Greek bonds. Now it is true that Greece was mismanaged, and the blame for that lies on themselves. But having realised their mistake, they are now prevented from recovering from their mistakes. The ones who invested in Greek bonds also made the mistake to invest in an unsustainable economy – they should be shouldering their own investment mistakes too. This is basically an international form of debt-collection. Most Grecians are very aware of this, and are understandably upset about it. The result? They resent Germany.
This is not cooperation in order to survive and prosper. This is one nation’s prosperity at the cost of another nations welfare.
The aim of the EU is supposedly to facilitate trade, which in turn leads to cooperation. I agree with this reasoning, but is the EU really responsible for achieving this? We live in an age where international travel and trades occur with the minimal of barriers already. The EU is not only superfluous to this end, it is now so outdated that it is actually damaging the very purposes for which it was formed.