European Union About To Get Walloped; Nationalism, Populism Surging Ahead Of Tomorrow’s/May 23 Elections — Likely To Lead To A Neutered EU At Best And, A Radical Sea-Change For The Continent
I have been writing ever since Britain voted to leave the European Union (EU) on June 23, 2016, that I thought that vote signified the beginning of the end of a noble — but unworkable idea. The idea that a nation’s population would be ‘comfortable,’ surrendering partial sovereignty to a distant, disconnected, bureaucracy in Brussels for the sake of unity was fatuous. Bureaucracies do — what bureaucracies do. They try and grow in stature and influence in order to preserve their rasion d’ tere. As a consequence, these same bureaucracies become more intrusive into the daily lives of their member states’ population — in turn, spurring resentment, frustration, and the desire to leave/separate. It would seem that clock is ticking on the future existence of the EU, as parliamentary elections begin tomorrow/May 23rd and conclude May 26. As of now, the populists/nationalists appear on the verge of a major victory.
As Jabeen Bhatti and Eric J. Lyman wrote in this morning’s/May 22, 2019 Washington Times, “For months, surging right-wing, populist leaders across the EU have been breathlessly talking about the “new era” that will come with European Parliament elections this week.” They add, “the election results will be seen as a barometer of the political center of gravity; and, will indicate whether the continent has taken a decided turn to the right.” Or, maybe it just signifies that sovereignty and individual liberty are more important than subordinating partial sovereignty to a ‘foreign body’ — to support a ‘collective good.’
“If the polls are right,” the Washington Times reports, “the European Parliament will be divided almost evenly among the far-right and far-left bloc with 34 percent each, and the center-right with 32 percent. Although the far-right populists likely won’t win a majority of 751 seats, they will probably crack the center-left and center-right control and will be able to leave the Parliament in perpetual gridlock,” according to analysts.
“They won’t be able to take control,” said Adriano Bosoni, an analyst at Stratfor based in Barcelona. “But, it will be a much more fragmented parliament. And, while they won’t necessarily be more influential directly, they will likely force the center-right — more to the right.”
The European Council on Foreign Relations concluded a recent study, saying it expects conservatives’ gains to translate into a bloc advocating for a “return to a ‘Europe of nations,’ which questions the Brussels orthodoxy in favor of free trade and open borders.” “And, in the longer term, their ability to paralyze decision-making at the center of the EU would defuse pro-Europeans’ argument that the EU is imperfect, but capable of reform. At this point, the EU would be living on borrowed time,” the study noted.
Mark Grant, Chief Global Market Strategist at B.Riley FBR, was interviewed on CNBC’s Squawk Box yesterday/May 21, and he “sees the leaders in Germany and France being outed by the populists and nationalists of a number of countries,” and added, “I believe the EU is going to be something very different a week from today; and, will be a radical change for Europe. Germany and France will become vastly less influential,” he contends, on the continent.
I am not surprised by these polls and I would bet that the populists/nationalists will win more seats than these forecasts. And, this sentiment is why Britain is going to leave the EU. As Ambrose Evans-Pritchard wrote in the June 12, 2016 edition of London’s The Telegraph explaining why he was voting in favor of Britain leaving the European Union (EU): “Stripped of distractions, it comes down to an elemental choice: whether to restore the full self-government of this nation, or to continue living under a higher supranational regime, ruled by a European Council that we do not elect in any meaningful sense; and, that the British people can never remove, even when it persists in error.”
“For many Britains who favor leaving, or are leaning that way, Mr. Evans-Pritchard wrote that “it has nothing to do with payments into the EU budget,” which he calls “a trivial amount.” Rather, he argues, “we are deciding whether to be guided by a Commission with quasi-executive powers, that operate more like the priesthood of the 13th Century papacy, than a modern civil service; and, whether to submit to a European Court (ECJ), that claims sweeping supremacy, with no right of appeal. The EU as constructed is not only corrosive, but ultimately dangerous, and that is the phase we have now reached as governing authority crumbles across Europe. The Project bleeds ther lifeblood of national institutions, but fails to replace them with anything lovable, or legitimate to a European level. It draws away charisma, and destroys it. This is how democracies die.”
Bernard Connolly, and Oxford educated British economist who was present at the birth of the EU and partly responsible for where we are today, wrote a book in 2014, ‘The Rotten Heart Of Europe: The Dirty War For Europe’s Money,’ is a sobering and realistic assessment of the pitfalls and odious consequences that plague the EU today. In his book, Mr. Connolly contends that, “the monetary union — which is at the heart of this grand Euro experiment — is rotten to the core.” he adds, “this destructive pursuit is making the economic situation in Europe worse than it would otherwise be; and, this “forced harmonization is engendering ‘distrust, ridicule, resentment, contempt, and even hatred, among and between the people’s of the European continent.”
“We have an elitist, bureaucratic, corrupt, authoritarian, repressive leadership on one side, and a demoralized, lost generation (youth unemployment) on the other, who see an ‘unaccountable, undemocratic, illegitimate, and ultimately repressive super-state, that is digging Europe and themselves into an even deeper hole,” Mr. Connolly wrote. Not surprisingly, he sees ultimate failure for the EU, and even disaster — the longer those in charge in Europe pursue this feckless endeavor. “A toxic cocktail that even ‘smells’ bad.”
No wonder, that the populists/nationalists are likely to win a majority of seats in the EU after this week’s parliamentary elections. But, being in the opposition and actually having to make decisions are two very different things. How you see things, and how you react — depends on where you sit. Hopefully this won’t be the proverbial ‘dog that catches the car.’ Regardless, a sea change is coming to Europe, and this week’s vote may well be the beginning of the end for any concept of a paternal EU. And……that’s a good thing.
The noble idea behind the creation of the EU was to set in place the mechanisms and fabric that would hopefully prevent another world war being birthed on a continent that has already birthed two others. But, as the age-old saying goes, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” In its penchant to set in place an entity that would link the continent together into a stronger union — those who birthed the EU failed to appreciate how important national sovereignty is, as well as the resentment it would spur, as its bureaucracy in Brussels became more intrusive into the daily lives of those who live there. RCP, fortunascorner.com