All great reforms must first mature. To be successful, they must be fully understood by society. This process requires time and a lot of explanations. However, the need to obtain the consent of the people must not deter the leaders from their mission, even if it makes them unpopular. As it is written in the American Federalist Papers: "When occasions present themselves, in which the interests of the people are at variance with their inclinations, it is the duty of the persons whom they have appointed to be the guardians of those interests, to withstand the temporary delusion, in order to give them time and opportunity for more cool and sedate reflection (Federalist Papers Nr. 71). What is called "populism" nowadays is not really tantamount to defending the real interests of the people. Rather, it is a political ruse, which consists of using ultra-simplified language that is easily understood by the people, playing on their sense of fear, to conquer power.
What distinguishes the two halves of Europe, argues political scientist Francis Fukuyama, is the presence, in the North, of a "political coalition protecting the autonomy of the bureaucracy." Here civil service is largely perceived as impartial and entrusted with providing continuity to policymaking. Governance failures in Southern Europe, on the other hand, are inextricably tied to more or less pervasive forms of clientelism, which buries merit and frustrates reforms.
In the run up to the European parliamentary elections next month, anti-Europe populists, such as Marine Le Pen's National Front in France, have been fanning the nationalist flames by telling voters that two leading left-of center Nobel laureates in economics -- Amartya Sen and Joe Stiglitz -- oppose a more united Europe.