The European "empire" is on the brink of collapse
Almost instantly, the EU's much vaunted "solidarity" evaporated, and it has now turned into a free-for-all with countries makiing their own decisions on everything from border controls to relations with China. This is how "empires" collapse. But wait, right on cue, Labour has just elected a new leader who refused to respect the 2016 referendum...
The demise of empire is often brought about by massive, unavoidable crises. When control from the centre cannot be asserted to avert, or at least mitigate, disaster, self-reliance thrives.
Invasions, plagues, and economic devastation have all caused empires to collapse in the past. As arch-Europhile, Guy Verhofstadt MEP puts it: “The EU is an Empire.”
It would appear that the COVID-19 crisis may well mark the beginning of the end of the European Union, at least as we have known it.
The rigid nature of the EU means it cannot function well in a fast-paced crisis, and a month into the life-threatening emergency of COVID-19, the EU is breaking apart at the seams.
Almost instantly, its much vaunted "solidarity" evaporated, and it has now turned into a free-for-all with countries making their own decisions on everything from border controls to relations with China.
The EU’s integrity and its ability to operate effectively requires common consent, and lengthy, red-tape procedures to get things done. It took 2 years to ratify regulatory terms on the Tobacco Product Directive (whose primary function was to prevent children from smoking cigarettes) and then a further 2 years for the European Court of Justice to declare it valid.
The European Commission relies on member states to do as they are told, but now, as Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen has found out, they have stopped listening.
In addition to this, while the EU struggles to collectively agree upon a stimulus package to help its member states deal with the crisis, the EU’s banker, Germany, has sealed the vault, refusing to issue special bonds to help counter the economic onslaught from COVID-19.
Financially, the member states are on their own, something which is causing diplomatic ruptures across the bloc, with Italy and Spain, the hardest-hit states from COVID-19, launching a war of words at ‘northern European states’.
It is not just the hardest-hit member states of the EU turning their backs on Brussels. Hungary has essentially just become a dictatorship, with its President, Viktor Orban, now ruling by decree. In similarly despotic fashion, Poland’s nationalist ruling party has called for a General Election in early May, but is barring the opposition from campaigning under the guise of mandatory isolation. In Sweden, the anti-EU Swedish Democrats Party became the most popular party in the country this month.
The EU needs weak and compliant democratic governments in order to assert its overreaching control. However, now that democracy is crumbling across parts of the European Union, this is causing problems of its own.
Increased national assertiveness is a likely outcome from this crisis.
Among other things, this may mean the onshoring of businesses to prevent complicated supply chains being the victim of international crises in the future, such as a rise in domestic agriculture to promote self-reliance in food supplies. There is likely also to be a newfound reluctance to adhere to the bloc’s open-borders policy. This concoction of localised political remedies to resolve the fallout of the COVID-19 crisis amounts to everything the European Union stands to oppose.
While this crisis has been unfolding, the EU has been busy planning joint military surveillance missions to Libya, appeasing the Turkish President, Tayyip Erdogan, on illegal immigrants, as well as sending half a billion Euros to Tunisia and some Middle Eastern States to help them fight the COVID-19 pandemic, and help refugees.
The latter may be considered noble by some. But it won't look good in southern Europe while Italy and Spain are on their knees, struggling without financial aid. The EU has its priorities skewed, and is losing control.
If it cannot support its member states in times of real crisis, why on earth should they continue to succumb to the bureaucratic constraints, and anti-democratic, centralist politics, in normal times?
Political crisis in the European Union and the Eurozone has just been accelerated by COVID-19.
We must ensure we Get Britain Out of the EU entirely to rid ourselves of any liability for the looming fallout from Brussels.
UPDATE: The Labour Party has just elected a new leader, Keir Starmer. He is an arch-Europhile who refused to respect the 2016 referendum. Impeccable timing, just as the EU starts to fall apart...
Konrad Whitehouse is a Research Executive at leading grassroots cross-party campaign Get Britain Out
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