Words versus Deeds – 2

The EU’s response to the covid pandemic has been slow and underwhelming but one of its (many) presidents thinks we should be looking at the bigger picture—the slow train will safely reach its destination. In its tracks citizens’ lives are lost or devastated.

Following up our earlier post under this title, we re-focus on the lack of credibility of the EU arising from the gap between words and deeds [1]. We have also commented on a recent letter from an EU dignitary to highlight this theme of terminology [2].

The EU dissembles in its approach to its citizens and their desires and expectations. It is likely that any consultations with citizens, such as the proposed Conference on the Future of Europe, will be manipulated in at least two ways. First, the people and organisations chosen to represent the public will not in fact be representative; second the outcomes will not lead to real reform of the foundations [3].

Many EU citizens notice the chicanery and lower still further any remaining trust they may have in the Union. Most of the crises that the EU has experienced result from the underlying dichotomy between ‘the Plan’ and the people [4].

Integrity is a word used frequently by the EU; it probably means something along the lines of ‘consistent with our fundamental ambition’, which is ever closer union towards a federal government. For good reasons this cannot be expressed directly, as we translate it, so it is wrapped up in EU-speak, for example:

TEU Article 21.2: “The Union shall define and pursue common policies and actions, and shall work for a high degree of cooperation in all fields of international relations, in order to:

(a) safeguard its values, fundamental interests, security, independence and integrity;” [5] We cannot think of anything else ‘integrity’ could mean in the EU context.

Democracy is declared as a fundamental principle of the EU, Its member countries require that elections are held periodically, as a result of which their governments are re-elected or rejected. The EU Treaties do not require this nuisance [6].

To achieve its goal of a federal state in Europe the EU cannot afford to risk a change of regime at the whim of a disdained electorate. It does not agree with the view that it is not a democratic form of governance. Since Maastricht, it was the creeping usurpation of powers without a democratic mandate that has been the cause of rising euroscepticism

Foundations The EU is an oligarchic regime deliberately disguised by its claims of high moral purpose [7]. Its leaders display their real disdain for citizens by using propaganda to cover the deficit [8]

If EU leaders are aware of their citizens’ opinions then they pretend that they share those opinions and are working towards achieving what the people want, while in practice working actively to achieve their federal goal [9].

(Next a reader’s letter in The Economist, edition of 24/04/2021)

The EU’s response to covid-19

You ask “What has gone wrong?” (April 3rd) with the European Union, pointing out that our economic growth rate has lagged behind America and China. It is worth looking beyond point-in-time comparisons. Despite a slow start, vaccination campaigns are now gaining pace across Europe. Some 360m doses are expected to be delivered by the summer. This is a vital step towards normality and towards Europe becoming a globally significant supplier of vaccines.

I fully accept that America’s budgetary response has been substantive and will provide a valuable boost to global growth. However, it doesn’t diminish the fact that the 27 countries of the EU have stood together and deployed unparalleled support, both at member-state level and collectively. The EU has chosen to focus its economic response on protecting income and employment through job-retention schemes. With the support of the SURE instrument, up to 30m jobs across Europe were protected in 2020. Next Generation EU, a €750bn ($900bn) recovery fund, will fundamentally transform our economies with a focus on digitalisation and climate change.

These measures would have been unthinkable in a pre-pandemic Europe. Governments will take further steps, at national level, to accelerate our efforts. We are at a difficult moment in Europe, but do not underestimate our determination to turn this around.

PASCHAL DONOHOE : President of the Eurogroup of finance ministers : Brussels

The Eurogroup President points out, quite reasonably, that it is “worth looking beyond point-in-time comparisons.” But he then avoids any comment on the slow growth referred to in the article; instead he jumps to claim that “vaccination campaigns are now gaining pace across Europe”, which raises more questions than it answers. For example: What is the pace that it has gained, from a slow start? Are “vaccination campaigns” the same as vaccinations? Does “across Europe” tell us that the EU has achieved this gain of pace, or the member states themselves? Are the member states proceeding at roughly equivalent rates, or are some more equal than others?

The absence of clarity is characteristic of EU double-speak and propaganda. We are familiar with the conflation of the EU with ‘Europe’ [10]. The standard EU-as-Europe storyline goes like this: the EU writes commitments to solidarity and cooperation that it cannot meet. It comes up hard against the reality of the gap between its ideology and the wishes of its constituent peoples. It responds by deepening its institutional commitments. This so-called “functionalism” is part of the ideology of the EU.

More questions are raised and not answered: How reliable is the expectation that “360m doses” are to be delivered “by the summer”? When in summer? What “normality” is this “a vital step towards”? (Presumably some future expectation, since this cannot refer to any situation before the pandemic.) Why should we accept “towards Europe becoming a globally significant supplier of vaccines”? Without some plausible explanation this is just a non sequitur. By its fight against and threats to Astra Zeneca the EU is likely to have made potential investors wary about its claims with regard to manufacturing vaccines in the Union [11].

Who has claimed that America’s budgetary response diminishes the EU’s response? He presumably wishes us to believe that the EU’s response is comparable to America’s, which would be a lie if he told us this directly. EU member states “stood together” by the end of the budget negotiations under pressure of the risk of losing a rescue package if they didn’t agree. But how did they stand together at “member-state level”?

His claim that “up to 30m jobs across Europe were protected in 2020” is weak and unspecific, given that the claim would be true if just six jobs were “protected”. Once again he doesn’t offer information, he just points us towards what he wants us to believe, which we should infer beyond what he actually states, in typical EU-speak fashion. [12]

And, of course, he doesn’t tell us how “a focus on digitalisation and climate change” will “fundamentally transform our economies” or what they will be capable of once they have been fundamentally transformed. As always the reality is rather different, with access to recovery funds being set about with strict and daunting conditions, which not all member states will choose, or be able, to abide by.

By “our efforts” in the final paragraph, he wants us to believe these will be EU efforts, even though the “further steps” are expected to be undertaken by national governments who will, if it happens, “turn this around”.

[1] Words versus Deeds[2] EU Treaties-8: Terminology
[3] The Future of Europe[4] Plan v. People
[5] EU Treaties-2: Values & Democracy[6] Discontented Democrats
[7] Goals and Values[8] Themes-11: Disdain & Contempt
[9] Foundations[10] Foundations, Governance & EU=Europe
[11] Sputnik launched in the EU[12] Only Believe


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