DEMOCRACY AND LIBERTY DIE IN EUROPE
Europe will never enjoy sustained economic growth until it learns to protect individual liberty. The European Commission, the actual ruler of Europe, is an unelected bureaucracy that supplants democratically adopted laws in each member state with bureaucratically imposed directives from the European Union in Brussels. Over 50% of all laws governing each of 28 nations in Europe are not the product of the member states elected leaders but are imposed by the EU bureaucracy in Brussels. National identity and individual liberty are fleeting in a once vibrant, diverse, and largely democratic Europe. In a recent edition of my radio program, Truth Trial (see emordtruthtrial.com), Robert Oulds, the Director of the Bruges Group in London, explained that the EU is stealing Britain’s identity, subjecting domestic issues and disputes to foreign control and resolution, harming Britain’s economy, and robbing Brits of their economic and political liberty. He says discontent is so great that he predicts a forthcoming referendum on whether the UK should remain in the European Union will be decided against continued membership.
After six quarters of economic contraction, European Union member states have just emerged from a long recession. The recovery is anemic with lackluster Gross Domestic Product figures the order of the day and unemployment remaining very high, particularly in Italy, Spain, Greece, and Ireland. Robert Oulds places primary blame on regulations imposed by the EU.
The Euro-Zone GDP has bumped up ever so slightly for the first time since the third quarter of 2011, signaling a shaky emergence for Europe from the longest period of economic contraction since the end of the Second World War. Although public spending in the United States remains the highest of all, the United States has adopted no serious austerity measures. By contrast, countries of Europe have instituted such measures, cutting public spending and increasing already very high taxes.
Public confidence in European markets remains low, as are consumer spending and investment levels. Euro-Zone economic recovery has occurred in fits and starts and hovers just above recession with the possibility of a dip back into recession at any time. Growth rates have been underwhelming. In the last quarter, Germany experienced a modest .7% expansion. France experienced a modest .5% expansion. Spain, Italy, and Greece continue to contract.
With confidence in the Euro waning and with Spain, Italy, and Greece teetering on economies that cannot withstand another jolt, a majority of Europeansare rethinking the prudence of their costly economic and political ties to the European Union. The time may finally come within the next several years for key member states, such as the United Kingdom, to leave the European Union. Indeed, dissolution of the EU is now a popular political topic in, among others, Britain, France, Italy, and Greece.
By Treaty in 1993, the EU became Europe’s international sovereign, acquiring economic and political control over many matters that were previously within the exclusive province of the individual states. Twenty-eight nations form the EU. The EU intrudes upon every matter of import within every member states. Defendants in suits brought within member countries find their cases transferred to those of the EU, having their disputes resolved not according to local law and custom but according to the EU. EU regulation is all-consuming, superseding and replacing each member nation’s laws with thousands of rules governing economic, political, environmental, agricultural, and health matters for the entire Euro-Zone in a manner comparable to the U.S. federal government’s regulatory presence in the 50 states of the United States.
The increasing dominance of the EU over the member states, together with the EU tax haul from Europeans, has embittered many member state politicians and has caused a majority of Europeans to view the value of membership in the EU exceeded by the financial and political costs of the EU.
Basic decisions affecting competition within a member state, health freedom, consumer choice, economic self-determination, dispute resolution, and sovereignty have been ceded year after year to the EU by the member states. Disputes that used to be decided based on the peculiar laws and customs of member states are now decided by the European Commission and EU courts with enormous ramifications for each member state.
More so than ever before, the people of Europe harbor resentment over the homogenization and bureaucratization of all life resulting from EU regulation. The basic right of a free people to decide for themselves what is in their own best interests has given way to EU paternalism, where EU bureaucracies impose their will running roughshod over the will of the people and their duly elected representatives. Democracy which was the ultimate crown jewel of Great Britain, making Parliament a model for democracy everywhere, has been replaced by bureaucratic directives coming from the European Commission.
In short, the promise of European freedom held out at the end of second World War has once again been dashed as nearly all power is extracted by the voracious regulatory state that is the European Union.
On September 20, 1988, Great Britain’s Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher delivered one of her most significant and memorable addresses concerning what was then still an emerging union of Europe. In 1988, the Community was primarily a free trade zone rather than a centralized government over all things economic, political, and social affecting Europe. The Iron Lady gave her address in Belgium before the College of Europe in what has become known as the Bruges Speech.
We may now say that she spoke prophetically on that occasion. She anticipated the loss of sovereignty and individual liberty that would come from an all powerful centralized European Union in Brussels. The very burden Europeans now bear she foresaw. She said then: “Try to suppress nationhood and concentrate power at the centre of a European conglomerate would be highly damaging and would jeopardize the objectives we seek to achieve. Europe will be stronger precisely because it has France as France, Spain as Spain, Britain as Britain, each with its own customs, traditions, and identity. It would be folly to try to fit them into some sort of identikit European personality.”
She went on to say that “[w]orking more closely together does not require power to be centralized in Brussels or decisions to be taken by an appointed bureaucracy.” She warned, “[w]e have not successfully taken back the frontier of the state in Britain, only to see them reimposed at a European level with a European super-state exercising a new dominance from Brussels.”
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Having not heeded Prime Minister Thatcher’s warning, Europe toils under the oppressive weight of a centralized EU bureaucracy headquartered in Brussels. Each of the 28 member states sends its politicians and lobbiests to Brussels in an often futile attempt to alter law and policy in ways that will save member state law, markets, and customs from being ravaged by the all-powerful EU bureaucracy. Sovereignty in Europe has indeed shifted from each nation to this one international empire. Democracy and liberty are dying in Europe.
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