A European diversion

Logging on to Google News UK this morning, I see the top story is an article from the Telegraph about the EU. I didn’t bother to read the story, since I find EU news rather boring and turgid these days, but the intro line caught my eye: “Ireland has voted No to the Lisbon Treaty, throwing the future of European integration into question.”

This might very well have been a cut-and-paste job from news stories of some years ago, when I was there and cutting my journalistic teeth on the bureacracy of Brussels.

I just wonder how many times can the future of Europe be questioned before people finally realise that ever closer union is not necessarily a good idea.

It always seems to be those good Guinness-drinking folk of Dublin that seem intent on derailing the European locomotive. Unfortunately, that old European train just keeps on charging ahead, cutting down the wishes of its citizens along the way.


2 Responses to “A European diversion”

  1. Mattie Says:

    Identity Theft
    June 14, 2008 by baseball91

    From faraway, the European Union does seem mostly an artificial project. What was the purpose of this European Union? And what was going on in Europe, with this Irish vote?

    Currently the battle was between the rights of smaller nations against larger ones. History shows that there is distrust between governments and Europe is not united. And the smaller nations remembered what a larger one had done in 1939. Smaller nations knew that history always repeated itself. The Czechs were celebrating the decisions of the Irish this week, where Czech President Vaclav Klaus called the defeat of the ratification of the proposed treaty by the Irish, the only nation giving their people a direct chance to vote on the matter, a “victory of freedom and reason.” It was said that the people of the Czech Republic had evolved from the same tribes that were found in Ireland. A government once called Czechoslovakia could not forget a past that was still with them, the knowledge of the tradition of elitism in Europe where the strong tried to reign over the weak, either in governments of monarchies or by governments waging war. Europe was now more civilized, yet the same battles seemed to be fought. The past was always with them.

    Klaus spoke of how with this vote the people had spoken of artificial elitist projects and European bureaucracy. The irony is that the European Union is coming along at the time when the fractures of Christian Europe are so evident. The Russians were the prime source of energy, and under Vladimir Putin, little had changed in the relations of Russia with European nations under the EU. Russia continued to make deals, playing off one nation over the other, reflecting a similar time when a nation formed an alliance with another. As a current example, look at their treatment of Ukraine or Belarus by Gazprom which supplies 25$% of natural gas. And look at who owns and control Gazprom.

    Amidst all this talk of unity, Europeans worry about immigration and cultural identity. In 1994, I sat on a plane next to an American born woman who had graduated from a Boston area college, married a Scot, and moved to Scotland. She was returning home from burying her father. It was a time when skinheads and young neoNazis were in the news. And she explained that the movement was filling a void of national identity that was being eroded in Europe. That trend had only accelerated with an influx of Muslims, with the movement of other Europeans into places where identity had never been challenged. It occurred at a time in Europe when it was extraordinary if 25% of the populace regularly went to church. It seems as if Europe was like an addict who had rejected the God once found in the EU nations, and His replacement was centered around this safety net called the EU, whose basis was all about money. European governments seek economic union, with rights of free movement to member states, amidst illegal immigration. Amidst the turmoil, identity of a specific culture was being challenged at a time when culture diversity was being celebrated only on the surface in the United States. Was their truth to the identity, was there meaning here in the first place?

    The underlining philosophy of the EU seems best summarized as, “Hurray for me! Nuts to you.” I had worked around guys in my first summer job at a big league ballpark who mostly had only high school degrees. And they were quick to point out who the phonies were, the ones quick to jump on the bandwagon. The environment did not seem much different today about the world of government and politics. It was where I had heard this “Hurray for me! Nuts to you” phrase first expressed. It was all about who was authentic.

    In a world never as challenged by issues of trust, the truth was more and more elusive, tainted by politics, by lobbying groups. When the EU was nothing but an economic force that shaded the truth, the Irish seemed to have an instinct to see it for all it is worth. One day you wake up and realize where you own identity came. Mostly it came in from what you learned to be the truth. It came from academic institutions. Artificial projects, like a man-made dam, one day would collapse. When you identity was lost, a vacuum was left. I think the Irish have seen a few things about the state of the world, much like that woman from Boston saw 14 years ago at her time of loss.

  2. blakerig Says:

    In other words, pretty much the same arguments as when I was in Brussels and Ireland rejected the Nice Treaty.

    (Nice assessment, by the way)

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