Part four in a series of posts written last year
By Pat Geary
This post was written on June 22, 2016
“It is to say that, if the history of the twentieth century is any guide, then the fragile edifice of civilization can very quickly collapse even when different ethnic groups seem quite well integrated sharing the same language, if not the same faith or the same genes. The twentieth century also demonstrated that economic volatility increases the likelihood of such a backlash – especially in the context of the new kind of welfare state that emerged in the first half of the century, with its high levels of redistributive give and take”
– Niall Ferguson, The War of the World
As mentioned in Part 2, the EU was originally set up as the European Economic Community for free trade. It was never originally a political union. The Maastricht Treaty in the 90s changed all of that, as the EU set out to become the United States of Europe. Yet it is evident this isn’t a democracy, like the United States of America. It is a modern neo-liberal or neo-conservative (depending on the subject) and globalist project that benefits large corporations and political benefactors. It is not democratic. It is forming of increasingly diverse citizens, politics and economies. All amid a tenuous economic climate. It is a political nightmare.
The EU elections held by every member are a sham. Elected officials make no laws and can only vote on what is proposed by the all-powerful EU commission, which is unelected. Citizens have no say over what gets ruled by the EU. Of course all 28 members must rule by majority for any law to pass, but this isn’t how a democracy operates.
This political system is now coming home to roost as you have Hungary, Poland and other states that are outright refusing to abide by the EU’s immigrations laws and quotas over the refugee issue. This can was only kicked down the road by an agreement with Turkey, which is a dictatorial state with Erdogan in power. The immigration agreement with Turkey saved the refugee crisis, but at a great cost that will give Turkey free movement of people in Europe (or, at least, a tool they can use to blackmail the EU). Turkey has for years been denied entry into the EU and they still might not become entrants, but the combination of free movement and this agreement will entice many of Turkey’s citizens to flee a state government that is repelling individual freedoms every day. If the EU does not allow free movement of Turkish citizens in Europe, then you are back to square one – refugees walking all over Europe.
The EU economy has struggled to grow and its only option is to expand by takeover, as opposed to actual growth within its existing construct. It is presumed this a large reason the EU continues to admit as many members as possible. There is no end in sight. The cultural differences between each EU member are vaster than one would think. What matters to one country is different from another. If asked, what countries’ citizens would willingly hand over sovereignty to another power that is looking after collective interests that can never be aligned? The larger the EU gets, the more numerous the differences will become. A group of six developed nations can probably work together with some minor differences, but you group 28 countries together and you are set to spend a lot of political and financial capital dealing with problems that are so foreign to the UK, it can only lead to further dissociation as more money is spent on problems that have nothing to do with the UK itself.
As for referendums themselves, it appears that is the only way many European citizens have a say over what its own country’s involvement in the EU will be. Yet, the EU has a habit of just ignoring the results of referendums until they get the answer they want. Ireland held a referendum – the EU didn’t like it – so they held another one until the EU was satisfied. Greece held a referendum on bailout terms and then the EU blackmailed the Greeks into falling in line. What kind of democratic political system does that? Who are we kidding here?
Globalisation failed miserably the first time and led to World War I and, ultimately a sequel, following the age of Imperialism. The entire conflict in the 20th Century was started because of Austria-Hungary’s fragmented Empire (Habsburg Empire), which was strung together by diverse European people from various cultures, religions and nations. Serbia was wrecking havoc on the Habsburg Empire via the Black Hand until one of its own gunned down the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne. Before the 20th Century conflicts, Europe (and the world) was a globalist paradise. There were no passports. You could move freely as you wish. In Europe, not only was there Austria-Hungary, but Germany and Italy were formed as a union of various smaller states. There were only major Empires that spanned the Globe. The royal kings and queens of many European nations were bound by blood as relatives. Europe was mired in relative peace for nearly 100 years after the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 (with the exception of the Crimean War and the Prussian War, but compared with Europe prior to the 19th Century, that is an astounding level of peace). This all ended because some people decided they didn’t like being ruled over by pan-European elites. A couple of bullets later and the entire project led to a century of mayhem, yet this is all blamed on Nationalism….well, perhaps you should listen to these so-called, Nationalists? If you don’t listen now, eventually a darker shade of Nationalism will make sure you do.
This pan-Europeanism is failing again with the EU experiment. You cannot force so many disparate people to work as one nation, without a build up of resentment. All it takes is a few years of ignoring more reasonable complaints and an economic crisis to blow the top off of the lid. When you double down on this, by expanding repeatedly to further disparate nations, this gets amplified. The double down will come in the form of political union. If the EU is to survive in its current form, that means political union is inevitable. You cannot have a functioning monetary system without complimentary fiscal unity. You cannot have fiscal unity without political unity. It appears we already have a pseudo-political-fiscal unity forming when one looks at Germany and Greece (are politicians in Greece really calling the shots in their own country these days?). Do you think the citizens of Poland or otherwise would want political union? Will they even have a choice?
Ultimately you have a system hell-bent on neo-liberal/conservative globalization that is unaccountable to its people and does what it wants “in the interest of Europeans”. You have elected officials without power and unelected officials making all of the decisions. You have an increasingly greedy project that is looking towards darker corners of the continent in order to maintain the mirage of economic growth. You already have countries like Hungary and Poland that are beginning to rebel against the wishes of the EU. You have forced integration of society’s that share similar values (mostly) but have different languages and cultures. You have a group of elites that simply are ignoring cries for reform or change to the European project. You have forced political integration revealed in the form of Greece. Meanwhile, all of this European integration is increasing at a rapid rate amid the signs of economic chaos. It is a powder keg ready to explode.
The EU, without any serious reforms, is heading for disaster. If you don’t want to pay for that economically and politically (or militarily), get out while you can. At the very least, Britain leaving the Europe might lead to a more gentle, democratic and reformed EU. If Britain leaving helped contribute to a wakeup by the European elites, then it will have been a success.