Today is the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome creating the European Economic Community, the antecendent of today’s European Union. Today, it is more clear than ever that the EU is not working and needs radical change.
It is evidently incapable of resolving its own problems, not to mention helping solve the world’s. And it is increasingly divided and facing rising euroscepticism, most notably in its founding states, especially in France and the Netherlands.
The root causes of the problem
This is hardly surprising to lucid analysts such as this writer. The reason why is because the EU is founded on a completely flawed foundation. It is governed, for the most part, by unelected, unaccountable Commissioners and bureaucrats, and not by its member states’ elected governments. Worse still, its bureaucrats and commissars have the nerve to lecture some of the EU’s member states, most recently the UK and Poland, on democracy and the rule of law.
And whenever European citizens vote against the European project – as French and Dutch voters did in 2005, and as the Irish people did in 2008 – European elites declare those democratic decisions to be utterly null and void.
The European Commission’s current President, Jean-Claude Juncker, personifies this unbrindled arrogance and utter contempt of democracy and of voters. Shortly before the French referendum on the EU’s Constitution in 2005, he arrogantly declared :
If it’s a Yes, we will say ‘on we go’, and if it’s a ‘No’, we will say, ‘we continue’.
On issue after issue, the EU has made law by decree (‘directive’ in Eurospeak) and has tried to force uniform one-size-fits-all solutions on all of its member states (especially those unfortunate enough to be in the Eurozone). The predictable result, of course, has been that these “solutions” have failed to solve any problem. ‘One size fits all’ has become ‘no size fits any’.
Let us be clear: any structure built on a faulty foundation is doomed to collapse.
The same will happen to the EU – unless it is profoundly reformed.
The right path forward
General de Gaulle at a press conference in the Elysee Palace. Photo credit : l’Union Populaire Republicaine.
And today, more than ever, it is clear that this reform means studying and carefully following General de Gaulle’s wise advice. In other words, the EU needs to be reformed in line with Gaullist principles. To wit:
1) It needs to be democratic and decentralised, that is, it should be governed by the duly elected governments and parliaments of its Member States, not by unelected, unaccountable commissioners and bureaucrats. The vast majority of the EU’s powers must be returned to the member states; the EU’s competences should be restricted to a handful of topics of strategic, pan-European importance : defence, security, foreign trade, pan-European transport and energy networks, space exploration, scientific cooperation, and the Common Agricultural Policy. All other issues should be the exclusive concern of the Member States and their regional and local governments.
2) It needs to be fully independent from the United States and from any other external power in all domains : political, military, economic, monetary, commercial, and technological. It should be an independent bloc in its own right which will counterweight, at the same time, both the US and Russia (as well as China). To that end, its member states should strive to coordinate their foreign policy closely and to speak with one voice to the extent possible, although no uniformity should be imposed.
By rebuilding the EU along these lines, we can ensure its long-term survival, prosperity, and security and finally give it democratic legitimacy.
On the other hand, if European elites try to continue to force European “integration” down the throats of skeptical electorates, at the expense of EU member states’ sovereignty, this will only lead, in the long term, to the EU’s collapse. The peoples of Europe are already fed up with forced “integration” and have already begun to fight back against their elites’ attempt to deprive them of their sovereignty.
European elites would be wise to keep these facts in mind.