Perhaps it’s time we looked more closely at the reasons so many people support the EU, notably its benefits. We haven’t been able to find a convincing argument ourselves so we offer a few ideas from well-known sources.
We begin with some praise for the most obvious achievements. The EU has, by its own lights:
- made invasion of one EU country by another almost impossible,
- made the rise of dictatorship in any European country unlikely,
- introduced a common currency that is widely trusted,
- strengthened distrust of incompetent and corrupt national rulers and weakened their power,
- challenged and moderated the power of some mega-corporations,
- made it easier for many European citizens to work anywhere across the Continent where there are jobs.
However, with the exception of the single currency, which is increasingly distrusted, none of these benefits can be categorically attributed to the efforts of the European Union project. These and other achievements could have been accomplished with a lighter, more appropriate structure than the EU, with proper democratic accountability and due recognition of the significance of participating nation states in the emotional make-up of their peoples (see Discontented Democrats and Democratic Deficit for more details).
Our blog outlines the main objections to the Project as it is currently formulated. The failures we report dominate the claimed successes, even if those are accepted without challenge. In summary, most failures result from the root flaw in the Project: that it is founded on an ideology that drives an unaccountable, undemocratic body, with no recourse to the will of the people. Democracy was hard-won over many generations and should not be abandoned for a subversive ideology that disdains the views of its citizens.
John Bruton, former Prime Minister of Ireland, has an interesting article (written in 2012) in favour of the EU here:
Our objections to the Project are made from a British perspective. While we think that many are generic and might be shared by concerned citizens of other member states, we don’t know the extent to which our concerns would be echoed in other countries, inside or outside the EU, which might be looking to the EU as a possible model of international collaboration. We could not recommend the EU as a model because of its intrinsic flaws, though we recognise that it might be attractive to some national leaders who aspire to a grander platform on which to strut their stuff.