A précis of previous posts on this theme
The declared purpose of the European Union is to unify the continent: economically, socially and politically. Unification has gone a long way but EU leaders do not believe they have achieved their ambition yet. Without unification the EU has no rationale (see Enlightenment).
On the surface the EU might appear an enlightened project, and many supporters choose not to look beneath the surface at what unification means in practice. The EU’s attempt to unify and pacify a fractious Europe can only succeed through suffocation and that is what is happening.Federation in practice means uniformity, perhaps because that would make ‘Europe’ easier to govern. Federal unification is unsuitable for the UK, which has traditions distinct from most of its neighbours.
EU projects are justified by the belief that economic, political and social development can only be achieved from the top down, by unifying its member states. The nations of Europe must give up substantial sovereignty in order to pass responsibility for development to a central, non-sovereign authority, which recycled politicians and professional bureaucrats will manage to the benefit of all. If this ambition were to succeed the outcome would be to reduce Europe’s attractive and stimulating economic, cultural and political diversity to a dull and ineffective uniformity.
The unjustified centralisation, obsession with uniformity and top-down control provide sufficient reasons for Britain to leave the EU, before it collapses from the failures of its ambition and the inabilities of its managers to deliver outcomes that meet the needs of the peoples of Europe.
The EU and its supporters seem to assume that peace, harmony and wealth will be natural outcomes from a unified state but this is not self-evident. Nor is there evidence from experience or theory to support the assumption. Successful unions tend to evolve; they rarely work, or even survive for long, when cobbled top-down.
The visionaries recognised that the unenlightened, general populations of the disunited nations might not welcome a homogenised super-state and so a process would need to be established whereby the goal was achieved through scarcely-noticeable but irreversible steps. Clearly this could not be a democratic process but would have to be discreetly guided by ‘wise men’, acting in the enlightened interests of the whole over any sectional (e.g. national) preferences.
Annual Review 2017 (03/01/2018)
There is no rationale for economic and monetary union (EMU); its purpose is to drive the EU towards federal governance. At no point does the EU attempt to justify EMU in terms of its ability to deliver jobs, growth or productivity, it merely declares that it will. The priority is clear, the purpose is to boost progress towards economic union, which is one dimension of progress towards completing the Union – i.e. federal governance.
Fixated on Union (23/01/2017)
Everything the EU does is based in an unshakable belief that Europe’s nation states cannot govern themselves because they are dependent on ignorant electorates, who can replace their governments. National governments are expected not only to conform, on the path to a completed union, but also to keep their citizens in line so that they do not threaten the project. With the Referendum, the UK failed in its duty to conform.
What’s Wrong with EU? (26/10/2016)
On 31 January 2017 Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, issued a press release in which he argued that European elites were losing faith in political integration. He appeared to want us all to align ourselves as Europeans with “the deeper purpose of integration”. The question that remains is whether “countries…on their own” is truly the only alternative to a claustrophobic, irrelevant and failing EU.
Tusk pushes “convergence” as though more of it will produce results that haven’t materialised so far. For example, the euro was intended to produce economic convergence – it’s done the opposite; EU growth is low overall, unemployment is high and divergence rules.
United we stand, unified we fail (06/02/2017)
Boris Johnson may become the next prime minister of the UK. He has well-known views on the EU and its attempts to unify Europe. He has recalled past attempts to unify Europe undemocratically and explicitly stated that the EU’s method was different from Napoleon’s and Hitler’s – they were attempting it by war. He said, “The EU is different, it’s trying to do it in a more bureaucratic way … the EU is a peaceful organisation … operating by stealth.” It seems a fair distinction – he was trying to say that unification without democracy has never worked, regardless of the means.
Michel Barnier, who is (was?) the “Chief Negotiator for the Preparation and Conduct of the Negotiations with the United Kingdom”, gave a speech on 22 March 2017 in which he said, about the forthcoming negotiations, “The first condition is the unity of the 27…”. That expresses both the ideology on which the EU is based and the fear of rejection by its citizens that the ideology gives rise to.
Barnier then referred to the need for a level playing field, which he equated with the “common rules of the game” (the EU game, we must assume). Presciently we predicted that if the hard men and women are setting the tone and if the tone remains hard then, whatever a majority of citizens and businesses may want, failure is the most likely outcome, and is the one on which to bet as things stand.
Barney or Blarney? (28/03/2017)
Europeans, as the EU calls its citizens, are not consulted on moving forward with unification; they are not invited to express their desires, for the good reason that for the most part they don’t desire more union, so it’s safer not to ask their opinion. The EU needs to continue to demand unity – and to declare that it exists. EU actions, as opposed to their words, show that uniformity across the whole continent is exactly what they want; it is so much more manageable than divergence.
Deadlocked Mandate (17/11/2017)
As an example of what theEU really means by unity, consider the parental leave available to Swedes and Spaniards. The first is very generous, the second relatively mean. The EU wants to unify such provisions across its realm. That is the stated goal, but it doesn’t require much thought to work out the implications; either Sweden has to lower its standards or Spain has to raise its own, or both. Will such a directive achieve uniformity? Will it achieve unity? Yes and no respectively, because the two are incompatible in this case, as in many others. This is why they need their subterfuge; by driving for one they put the other at risk and this fact has to be obscured.
A dramatic example is the eurozone, in which the Union is attempting to force uniformity on economic cultures as diverse as Germany’s and Greece’s.
If uniformity had any purpose beyond promoting central governance then that purpose would surely be to enable and support sound labour markets and welfare systems (among other things). But there is no reason to believe that the European Union could achieve these. The explanation for the EU’s self-imposed problem is the ideology of uniformity that underlies the superficially attractive term ‘Union’.
Union, Unity & Uniformity (28/11/2017)
The EU has a hidden agenda – central control – obscured by an unachievable goal: unachievable in principle because the divergent realities of economic, democratic and social development contradict the goal of union.
Can EU be Reformed? (01/03/2018)
In order to achieve its declared aim of economic growth that benefits all, the EU mandarins argue that diversity is dangerous and a threat to the success of their mission. Hence all the emphasis in the Five Presidents Report on eliminating divergence and reducing all economies to uniformity.
The EU Project is not sustainable, given its citizens annoying preference for the mess and muddle of their own democracies, economies and politics over the threat of the imposition of a grey uniformity.
Settling Down – At Last? (11/09/2016)
The only thing that will keep the Union together is effective outcomes. However, ‘solidarity’ means that everybody should buy into the ideology and make the necessary noises in support. Does anyone who is not befuddled by wishful thinking believe that solidarity around a failing ideology will bring about benefits for more than a self-selected minority? The EU’s political and economic agendas cannot build such wishful solidarity.
Its rules and regulations are part of the EU’s move towards full unification (aka ‘solidarity’, which is another inoffensive buzzword to disguise the ambition). The core ideology, ever closer union at any price (or ‘solidarity’ or ‘unification’), is simply not achievable because that is not the overriding ambition of any member state and cannot be, as national priorities must take precedence if democratic governments are to get re-elected. Since it cannot enforce its dominion uniformly it has to resort to propaganda and to outright deceit.
Disunity would be bad but unity does not imply unification. Apart from the propaganda value of deliberately confounding the two, there is a hidden assumption, that conflict is avoided by unification – if everyone behaves in the same way then there is no basis for disputes. This is wishful thinking at best but is more likely to be deliberate deception. There are many examples of disunity despite countries being under one uniform regime: Czechoslovakia, Spain, Scotland are three; and also examples of unity without uniformity: USA, Canada.
The euro project was a giant step towards union and uniformity, labelled misleadingly as ‘unity’.The deceit was propagated that the Union’s institutions were helping, whereas they were forcing Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Italy to take remedies that made matters harder for them.
“A strong and united Europe is what allows its Member States to reach for the stars” (Jean-Claude Juncker in his 2018 State of the Union speech). This is characteristic of EU deceit in two ways. First, it is another repeat of the lie that the EU is Europe. Second is the disdainful claim that member states cannot reach for the stars on their own, they need his help.
If the EU were unified (J-C of course says “united”), politically, economically and militarily, as it wishes, then the leaders of the federal government would claim that ‘Europe’ could compete with the USA and China. There is no reason to believe this and the subterfuge just makes it less plausible.
Empire Building? (29/10/2018)
Unity is relatively easy to achieve. Uniformity is neither possible nor desirable. Unification is hard to achieve and sustain; it cannot succeed except by consent or coercion. Without consent fragmentation is probable. The EU has neither the democratic legitimacy nor the military force to hold it together by coercion, against the will of its peoples. The underlying tension between the EU’s demands for uniformity (dressed up as ‘union’) and the wish of citizens to have a say in their economic and legal systems is the fundamental weakness of the Project. ‘Unity’ will not suffice.