European Values

‘European Values’ are loudly proclaimed as virtuous attributes of the European Union. Acta non verba – deeds not words.

Emmanuel Macron has threaten to cut our electricity supplies if the UK doesn’t submit to his Brexit demands. His threat is rather like Trump’s sanctions against Iran except the UK is not threatening to physically annihilate an ally (Israel). It is another example of the supposedly lofty ‘European Values’ that the EU proclaims but fails to embody. In this blog we have written over 500 posts full of examples of this disconnect so we won’t detail them all again – see [1] for more on EU goals and values or search for keywords like ‘subsidiarity’, ‘solidarity’, ‘peace’, ‘unity’, ‘democracy’.

We can also look at this in other ways. In 2019, when the UK was still a member of the EU and entitled to elect MEPs to the Brussels parliament, its election manifesto stated that “The Liberal Democrat vision is one built around a free, democratic, entrepreneurial, prosperous, sustainable and united Europe open to the world.Let’s take a closer look at that statement.

In neither sense is the EU free to the UK: it is arguable whether it costs £350 million a week, £250 million or some other figure; it is hard to argue that the EU is happy to let the UK go free when it has clearly gone to extreme lengths to tie the miscreant ex-member to its apron strings; following Hillaire Belloc’s advice to “always keep ahold of nurse, for fear of finding something worse”.

The Union has a form that is designed to look like democracy; it has an elected parliament but it is about as powerful as the UK’s unelected House of Lords. It cannot introduce legislation or dismiss the government but it can – and does – talk a lot. Remainers sometimes compare the UK’s historic institutions like the Lords and royals with the EU’s parliament and president, the latter pair being elected unlike the former. But Ursula was not the parliament’s choice (which was Manfred Weber) – a bit like a British Prime Minister then except that PMs can be, and often are, banished before their expected term ends. The constitutional remnants in Britain result from being whittled rather than overthrown, whereas the EU ‘constitution’ has been imposed and continually consolidated.

The EU is hardly a leader in innovation and it’s a lot easier to set up a new business in the UK than in practically every EU member state. Protective barriers to trade and hyper-regulation help to maintain the status quo. Unlike G.W. Bush we know that the French do at least have a word for entrepreneur but words are not enough to create a dynamic, innovative economy.

The train of LibDem adjectives continues. Germany has been prosperous, Greece not as much, nor Italy, Spain, Portugal, Cyprus, etc. Prosperity should also be seen in relation to countries ‘unlucky’ to be outside the blessed Union but where trends have looked a lot better for decades.

The EU is straining to sustain its future. The eurozone (EZ), the ‘great leap forward’ towards the EU’s goal of uniform controls, has required the ECB to do whatever it takes to prevent the EZ from collapsing and hence the likely demise of the Union itself. It has limped along without solving the unequal and unsustainable levels of debt between members which seriously threaten the survival of the zone and in consequence of the Union.

Having dealt with the adjectives we arrive at a Europe open to the world. Perhaps the reverse is true because the world is more open to the ‘Europe’ of its mercantilist core.

If this is all well-trodden ground by now, little has been happening in the ‘negotiations’ towards a trade deal (as far as we have been permitted to know). All we can do now is to wish our readers a happy end to what has been a very difficult year, with one thing and another.

[1] Only Believe


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