Submitted by George Callaghan…
Let’s face it: the European Union is in a flat spin. The EU’s second largest member has just left despite an uncertain future outside the EU. Brussels has required its member states to sign up to a mammoth bailout.
The EU cannot formulate a coherent and workable policy on a whole host of issues. On illegal immigration, climate change, terrorism, cyberespionage, demographic death spirals, managing Trump’s rages, handling the rise of China or almost anything of not the EU cannot cope. There is a pensions timebomb to handle. The European Union has the lowest fertility in the world. How on earth will a greying Europe sustain itself? High wages, high regulation, high welfare spending and the high cost of switching to green energy make the EU very uncompetitive. Some of these supposedly generous policies are laudable but are their affordable? The EU is not willing to spend more than a pittance on defence. Brussels is schizoid about defence. Does the EU have an army or not? If it does then what is NATO for? Have the EU countries are in NATO and half are not. Does the EU speak with one voice in international affairs? If it does then when do member states waste their money on embassies outside the EU but even worse within the EU?
It is possible that with Britain out of the EU then the EU might integrate more. The EU held back on deeper integration for fear of making the Brits bolt. You can see how that turned out.
All EU states that joined since 2004 were supposed to adopt the Euro as the currency. 16 years on and many have not.
In Libya the EU is almost at war against itself. Some EU states back the GNA and some the LNA. So much for the Treaty of Lisbon and supporting a European foreign policy ‘’in a spirit of loyalty and solidarity.’’ Do not forget that Libya’s agony was largely caused by the EU. The EU also shot itself in the foot by bombing Libya because the Libyan Civil War allowed hundreds of thousands of refugees to cross the Mediterranean. To some extent the same is true with Syria. The EU has caused itself an unmanageable and intractable crisis.
Brussels and Strasbourg are profligate in the extreme. Their scandalous wastefulness is not brought home to much put upon taxpayers. The European Parliament moved from Brussels to Strasbourg and back several times a year. This is a colossal waste of money. It is also bad for the environment. It much a mockery of the EU’s much vaunted claim to be a leader on climate change.
The European Convention on Human Rights is supposed to be sacrosanct. The EU supposedly enshrines democracy and secures rights to its citizens. Then we are told that Poland and Hungary are heading towards totalitarianism. Something is wrong here. Either the ECHR and the EU are useless or else the accusations against Poland and Hungary are baseless.
The EU is supposed to be a rechstaat. But it routinely breaks its own laws. Recalcitrant member states have fines are forgiven. Germany and France broke the Growth and Stability Pact massively.
The EU tells itself the fairytale that it believes in democracy. But as soon as hoipelloi have the nerve to make a decision that Brussels does not want then Brussels throws the toys out of the pram.
If a vote goes the way the EU wants, then the issue can never be revisited. But as soon as there is a result that the EU finds uncongenial then the EU says that this does not count. According to Euro fanatics democracy is when they win and demagoguery is when they lose. It is like Bertolt Brecht said – the government should dissolve the people and elect a new one. That is why there is a democratic deficit.
Pity the Germans. They are exploited. They pay the most per capita for the EU. Is this punishing them for the Second World War? If so it is grossly unjust. They are unless 12 times less represented per head than the Maltese. This is palpably unfair.
The EU exists for bureaucrats and eurocrats. They are on the gravy train. These people are often schooled at the College of Europe. They bond together. They come to believe that fusing countries together is a moral imperative. They often have a frightening certainty in their own rectitude. Eurocrats seek to be stealthy assassins of the nation state.
The EU squanders money on helping dictatorships like Azerbaijan. Brussels splurges money on art. There are many junkets. It pays for the European Youth Parliament. So much money vanishes to the Bank of Nowhere. There is a great deal of peculation and embezzlement. The EU’s own Court of Auditors has refused to sign off on the accounts for over 20 years.
The government is not a charity and a charity is not a government. It is dubious whether governments should have aid budgets at all. That ought to be up to private individuals to donate.
Despite the EU’s internal travails it has an insatiable hunger for power. No matter how much it fails the answer is always more Europe. It never repatriates power. The EU is always eager to absorb more member states. No matter how poverty stricken, endemically corrupt, crime ridden or undemocratic the EU wants them. When countries such as Romania failed the EU’s convergence criteria they were taken in anyway. The EU is keen to embrace Kosovo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Albania, Georgia, Moldova and perhaps more. Morocco even once applied for membership. Hopes of taking in Turkey have not been entirely abandoned.
The EU ought to put its own house in order rather than take in more problematic states. I do not mean any disrespect to the nations I have named. What would be wrong with the EU admitting these countries? The GDP per capita in these lands is much lower than the EU average. Therefore, millions of people would move west. And I mean millions! Immigration is not all bad. In fact the right amount of good immigrants is a splendid thing. However, the EU would be allowing unlimited immigration. This would lead to wage compression and pressure on public services. Immigrants are not bad at all for exercising their legal rights. I have been an immigrant too. But states ought to be circumspect about immigration.
Mass emigration from these countries leads to a brain drain. Romania for example is emptying out.
The European Union is by no means all bad. It is not evil or tyrannical. There are achievements to the EU’s name. Though I want to take the Republic of Ireland out of the EU I would of course only use peaceful and lawful methods. I am not sanguine about our chances of withdrawal. A Eurobarometer poll showd that the Republic of Ireland has the highest rate of support for the EU at over 80% with only 10% against. However, people should stop assuming that it is actuated by virtue and integrity.
The EU is not about to implode. It might lose one or two members in the coming decade but I doubt it. The only two where there is even a significant chance of secession are Hungary and Denmark. The European Union is not facing imminent calamity. What it must contend with is a concatation of mounting problems. Decline and gradual disintegration are the real challenges unless the EU takes precipitate drastic action. Swift and decisive moves are not in the EU’s DNA.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.