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Emet m'Tsiyon

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Fantasy & Reality about the European Union

Many people make a rather good living off the European Union. Besides, gourmet food is often served in the Brussels headquartes of the EU. There are the bureaucrats in Brussels and elsewhere plus the elected members of the European parliament. The pay is better than average and often better than for comparable jobs in the home country of the bureaucrat or parliamentary deputy.

Hence, many have little reason or inclination to rock the boat with sustained and substantial criticism of the EU. What some do is to let out a little mild criticism of a particular policy or person or making a general criticism in a vague fashion while at the same time extolling the EU's lofty purposes [supposedly lofty]. That's what Antonio Tajani --president of the EU's parliament-- did when speaking to a group of influential people back home in Italy:

"The European Union is in the midst of fording the river. There are many things that don't work but more Europe is needed, not less. Leaving it means suicide, as many in the United Kingdom are realizing and even Marine Le Pen understands that the war on the euro [currency] is a mistake."
[Corriere della Sera, 9 Luglio 2017; emph. added]

The reader will make up his own mind as to how sensible that reasoning is. But before we analyze it, here's some reality from the chief editor [direttore] of Corriere della Sera, Luciano Fontana:

"Europe --the chief editor of Corriere observed-- has become a major actor [protagonista] in our lives. and even in our election campaigns. A Europe that often makes mistakes, [a Europe] whose management of the Greek crisis and the migrants cries out for revenge."
[Corriere, 9 Luglio 2017]

There are many things wrong with the EU which was likely the main reason that British folks voted against the EU and for Brexit more than a year ago. Despite its lofty rhetoric, the EU is very undemocratic in that decisions are made in Brussels by EU appointed officials rather than by national parliaments whereas according to the EU treaty, the Brussels officials can overrule laws passed by national parliaments, although this power can be challenged. But the Brussels bureaucracy is much less responsive to local needs, desires and conditions than national parliaments are. And then these Brussels officials like to impose a one-size-fits-all policy on all of the EU countries which of course have their own local traditions, histories, conditions, political environment. And obviously this causes resentment throughout the EU.

Then we come to the Euro currency, the single currency which is legal tender in most EU countries which gave up their national currencies to join the single currency zone. That was a bad idea whose time had come. Imagine. A single currency was imposed on some fifteen countries without a common tax policy/tax laws/, without a common pension system, a common state budget, common labor laws, so on and so forth. As no doubt was predicted the currency has great problems and one major victim --Greece, although other countries have suffered as well. To be sure, tourists who travel from one Eurozone country to another find traveling simpler [because they don't need to change currency with every new country that they come to]. Otherwise, few benefit. Un disastro, an Italian friend told me. We could go on about the EU's faults. But rather than be tedious, let's go on to Signor Tajani's logic and common sense.

"many things . . . don't work but more Europe is needed, not less". "More Europe" in the words of the Brussels crowd means closer political integration within the EU and more central control of the lives of EU citizens. But Tajani has already told us that many things don't work in the EU. So why would he think that "more Europe" would be better rather than worse? Does the centralized bureacuratic system of the EU where decisions are made far from the governed and often against their will and/or their better judgment, seem to be capable of doing a good job when and if it has more political power than now? We can go and on and maybe we will.

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