March 29, 2007

Celebrate What?

While the leaders of the EU gathered in Berlin to congratulate themselves on the 50th anniversary of their organization's precursor, the citizens of Europe were more subdued. And who can blame them? Excerpted from the Daily Mail:

...there is no denying the fact that this weekend's celebrations are distinctly muted - and for this there are three main reasons.

One, as even the EU's leaders are themselves uncomfortably aware, is that, for all its remarkable political progress since 1957, the way their 'project' has worked out in practice offers few obvious grounds for unqualified rejoicing.

For years now, most of the economies of the EU, burdened by an ever greater weight of regulations from Brussels, have been performing significantly worse than those of their main competitors across the rest of the world, notably the U.S., China and India.

In many of the areas which are now subject to centralised EU control, from fishing and agriculture to international trade, it is scarcely a well-kept secret that the EU's record, characterised by massive bureaucratic overregulation, has been dismal.

A second reason why so few 'Europeans' will this week be celebrating this anniversary with any enthusiasm is that the system of government it has led to seems so impersonal, so uninspiring and so remote.

Although the peoples of Europe have become aware that this system is having an ever-greater effect on their lives, most of them don't really begin to understand how it works.

They have the sense that they are now ruled by a 'political class', made up of bureaucrats and politicians who are no longer in any way democratically accountable; a vast, shadowy apparatus of government over which we no longer have any say.

The result is that, not just in Britain but all over the EU, people feel alienated from those who rule over them, in a way which, in countries which still like to think of themselves as democracies, is quite unprecedented.

The third reason why the celebrations of this anniversary are so downbeat is the mess they have got into over the 'Constitution'.

Posted by dan at March 29, 2007 10:38 PM