Goals and Values

In this post we come up to date and contrast the ideal version of itself that the EU presents to its supporters, and to the world at large, with the performance of the EU in its practices. (Quotations are in red.) [1]

Speculating simply, the EU may be popular because of the goals and values it declares that it represents; it may become unpopular because its practices don’t manifest those goals and values, and because few people subscribe to the real ideology that underpins EU practices, disguised by its public relations propaganda. If challenged would the EU offer the ‘Sidney Powell defence?: “reasonable people would not accept such statements as fact.” (CNN)

Propaganda is evident in the final quotation below, in which the EU declares that goals have been achieved when all they can show is coincidence (peace) and more usually failure (stability and prosperity). But they need us to believe these have been delivered.

Goals [2]

The goals of the European Union are

[to] promote peace, its values and the well-being of its citizens

[to] offer freedom, security and justice without internal borders

sustainable development based on balanced economic growth and price stability, a highly competitive market economy with full employment and social progress, and environmental protection

[to] combat social exclusion and discrimination

[to] promote scientific and technological progress

[to] enhance economic, social and territorial cohesion and solidarity among EU countries

[to] respect its rich cultural and linguistic diversity

[to] establish an economic and monetary union whose currency is the euro.

The EU has delivered more than half a century of peace, stability and prosperity…

No one would dispute that these are noble goals but they are mainly ill-defined—opening with vague terms such as: promote, offer, combat, enhance, respect—and it would be difficult to show convincingly that they have been achieved. The euro has (unequivocally) been established but it is doubtful that its benefits are shared by all or that peace has been delivered as a result of the existence or actions of the EU.

In the Laeken Declaration [1] the goal of peace has a different motivation; “only peace and concerted action could make the dream of a strong, unified Europe come true”. In this reading, unification is the objective of peace; in EU propaganda unification is now presented as resulting in peace. Such propaganda is the basis of our claim that the EU is dishonest to its very foundations. It is also a key reason why so many Europeans support the EU, but they fail to distinguish the ideal from the reality—we must remember that most member states have been invaded, occupied or ruled by dictators within living memory, which could make them more susceptible to belief in benign, collective rule.

In the second goal, “without internal borders” implies a degree of conformity to the goals, or values, that may be ideal but has not been achieved in practice, even within member states (those that are federations, or confederations, Germany and Belgium for example) let alone between them.

Monetary union has failed to increase growth or to converge the economies of the eurozone countries. The EU is the lowest-growth major trading bloc in the world and its share of global GDP is shrinking. Many people are willing to believe in the declared goal, of economic growth benefiting all, and choose not to notice that the EU is not achieving this, while it progresses fitfully towards its true goal of becoming a super-state.

It would be interesting to know how they have set about combating “social exclusion and discrimination” and what success they claim to have achieved, not to mention what evidence of success they can exhibit.

Scientific and technological matters are primarily the responsibility of individual member states, though there are some EU-wide projects so perhaps they can record some achievements here. Of course the EU’s political structure is not necessary to successful progress in these fields, international cooperation is widespread and Europe has been doing it for centuries (nor are CERN and ESA EU agencies).

As for the fifth goal, Economic cohesion means—in different words—economic and monetary union (EMU). Social cohesion is less clear, though it may conflict with the EU’s claimed enthusiasm for diversity; in practice diversity is suppressed whenever possible, perhaps to promote “social cohesion”. Territorial cohesion may mean open borders; it seems to have no other meaning and may be there just to provide a propaganda threesome. Solidarity is certainly a goal of the EU, though we don’t see any evidence of them asking why it hasn’t been achieved yet, except for blaming the fissiparous member states, which mainly have their own agendas. We sometimes see a desire by national leaders to declare solidarity but it breaks down when the consequences are too tough for them, for example: bailouts, refugee dispersal, PPE sharing and extra vaccine purchases. Virtue signalling is loud but how persuaded are the leaders and their citizens, who have to share the burdens?

…a huge single market…has been created and continues to develop towards its full potential.

Respect for diversity is not confirmed in the Union’s practices, which press towards conformity wherever it finds diversity. EU mandarins find diversity to be dangerous and a threat to the success of their mission. Hence the emphasis on eliminating divergence and reducing historically diverse nations to a stale uniformity [3].

Economic divergence among members of the monetary union (the Eurozone) appears to be growing, while the EU declares that such divergence should be curtailed. The divergence is unlikely to be removed; imagine the Greeks behaving like Germans, or vice-versa. If the EU is not able to look after the economic well-being of its citizens, as it claims to be doing, then its future is clouded and uncertain. A future for the EU depends on the ability of the heads of its member states to persuade their citizens that the benefits of membership outweigh the costs; Brexit shows that such persuasion cannot be guaranteed.

We doubt that these goals can ever be achieved, against the pressures on the governments of the member states to get re-elected; and the pressures, from France and Germany notably, for each member state to get its own, different and incompatible, way.

Values (selected)

The EU values are common to the EU countries in a society in which inclusion, tolerance, justice, solidarity and non-discrimination prevail. These values are an integral part of our European way of life:

Human dignity. Human dignity is inviolable. It must be respected, protected and constitutes the real basis of fundamental rights.

Democracy. The functioning of the EU is founded on representative democracy. Being a European citizen also means enjoying political rights. Every adult EU citizen has the right to stand as a candidate and to vote in elections to the European Parliament. EU citizens have the right to stand as candidate and to vote in their country of residence, or in their country of origin.

Equality. Equality is about equal rights for all citizens before the law. The principle of equality between women and men underpins all European policies and is the basis for European integration. It applies in all areas. The principle of equal pay for equal work became part of the Treaty of Rome in 1957. Although inequalities still exist, the EU has made significant progress.

Rule of law. The EU is based on the rule of law. Everything the EU does is founded on treaties, voluntarily and democratically agreed by its EU countries. Law and justice are upheld by an independent judiciary. The EU countries gave final jurisdiction to the European Court of Justice which judgements have to be respected by all.

Human rights. Human rights are protected by the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. These cover the right to be free from discrimination on the basis of sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation, the right to the protection of your personal data, and the right to get access to justice.

These goals and values form the basis of the EUalthough most are not adhered to in the practices of the EU, as we have often shown.

The’ EU values presumes that such values exist in the world outside EU ideology; and “are common” is quite simply untrue. It is not possible to believe the claim that “inclusion, tolerance, justice, solidarity and non-discrimination prevail” across the EU, So these are either a wish list or mere propaganda. We commented on “our European way of life” in [4].

Whatever ‘human dignity’ might mean it is widely violated, not least in and by the EU. The disdain shown by EU leaders towards its citizens is legendary; ask Greeks or Italians (except they won’t ask). Many people in EU countries are being sacrificed, for an ideological cause. Some member states have prospered and others have become impoverished. The EU claims credit for the former and delegates blame for the latter. There is little reason to believe that this will improve.

One of the many self-justifying claims that EU leaders and other supporters make is that the European Parliament (EP) demonstrates that the EU is democratic. In practice the Parliament demonstrates the weakness of this claim. The Parliament appears to exist as an attempt to obscure the absence of any real democracy in the EU. In its activities it absorbs and neutralises the inconsequential ramblings of a disdained citizenry [5]

EU leaders state, without supporting theory or evidence, that completing economic and monetary union will resolve all problems, which anyway are the fault of the member states for holding back from completing the component parts of financial union. Divergence is the problem; convergence the solution, although they don’t say why we should believe this. Little has been done in the eurozone to protect the weak members; the EU has spent its efforts protecting the strong.

Based in the rule of law might be more accurate than “based on” it. Law-making dominates the activities of the EU institutions and while the European Parliament has to approve all laws it does not have the power to initiate them, which lies with the non-elected Commission and the councils.

Where these rights are protected it is because of the actions of citizens and groups within individual member states, but perhaps it is reasonable for the EU to claim that the Charter imposes obligations that might not be realised otherwise.

[1] The Laeken Declaration and What About the Treaties?

[2] https://europa.eu/european-union/about-eu/eu-in-brief_en

[3] European Values and Only Believe

[4] The Meaning of Life

[5] Themes-11: Disdain & Contempt

Afterthought: Are we witnessing virtue signalling as the only glue that, supposedly, unites the EU and the leaders of its member states?

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