Confession time: I actually used to be a big proponent of the EU. I was aware of the obvious problems, but I thought the achievements (long-term peace in Europe, war between Germany and France having become unthinkable, EU aid helping make the likes of Spain and Ireland more prosperous, and EU-required reforms making Eastern European countries modernize) more than made up for the organization itself being notoriously undemocratic. Europe was for a long time peaceful and prosperous, and the EU seemed to be a contributing factor to that.
However, during the last 10 years it has become very clear that the EU is simply not working. Take the Euro for example. While it’s very convenient to able to use the same type of money in many different EU countries, forcing vastly different countries (ranging from Cyprus and Ireland to Slovakia and Germany) to share the same currency basically imposed a rigid one-size-fits-all model on economies that had very little in common. As a result of losing monetary sovereignty, Eurozone countries could (and did) struggle mightily economically while lacking many of the monetary options for stimulating their economies that countries with their own currencies have at their disposal – like cutting interest rates. Member states are instead at the mercy of the European Central Bank, and good luck exerting influence over that behemoth if you’re a small country!
But losing monetary sovereignty is peanuts compared to what has happened to EU member Greece – a country in crippling debt and with a broken economy that instead of getting vital debt relief, or being allowed to go bankrupt in a controlled fashion, has been forced through a torturous journey of repeatedly cutting spending and raising taxes in return for short-term loans that hardly even benefit the Greek people. Forget about the fact that Greece is NEVER going to be able to repay its debt, and that forcing it to continue to try doing so only prevents the Greek economy from growing and adds to economic uncertainty in the EU as a whole. Germany, under the leadership of Angela Merkel (who is also the de facto leader of the EU), demands that Greece keep destroying its economy and society, while impoverishing its people, in order to set a good example to the rest of Europe/be made an example out of. It’s a Sisyphean task if I ever saw one.
Germany’s dominance over the EU under Merkel has generally been a complete disaster – whether it comes to her insistence of perpetually prolonging the Greek Crisis, imposing excessive Austerity across the EU in the name of reigning in budget deficits, stifling job growth and economic growth in the process (never mind that Germany itself ran significant budget deficits to boost employment and get its economy growing again little more than a decade ago) or her borderline treasonous refugee policy, Merkel’s stubbornness and stupidity has done incalculable damage to Europe as a whole. And the EU has only served to enable and amplify her madness.
For example, instead of trying to prevent Merkel from flooding Europe with Muslim migrants, the EU is looking for ways to fine and otherwise punish poor Eastern European countries (the kind of member states the EU of old would be trying to support and develop) for not letting themselves be “culturally enriched” by 3rd world Muslims. Instead of letting the people have their say about how the Establishment’s policies are hurting all of Europe, the EU is leading the charge to Censor the internet, one of the last remaining bastions of free speech. And instead of trying gradually fix their multicultural mistakes, the EU Elites are pledging to prevent the “far right” (the only force in Europe actually willing to prevent Suicide by Muslim Immigration) from ever taking power.
To be fair, the EU’s main problem has always been its troubled relationship with democracy: Only one notable EU institution (the European Parliament) is actually elected by popular vote, and its power is hardly equivalent to that of a national parliament. Moreover, whenever the EU has actually held referendums, it has displayed the ugly habit of not understanding that No Means No. Instead, if a member country votes against a major EU treaty or initiative, the EU either repackages the same ideas rejected by the voters again and again until the voters relent, or outright makes the dissenting country to vote again and again until it “gets it right”. This contempt for the will of the people might still be perceived as tolerable if the leaders otherwise seemed sensible – but now that someone as bad as Merkel calls the shots in EU, we’re reminded of just why having perpetual democratic safeguards is so important.
Led by Merkel’s Germany, the EU’s future looks grim indeed. For example, imagine the EU’s freedom of movement combined with increasingly Islamist Turkey as an EU member, something the EU elites are working towards. On a more general note, the EU’s contempt for European voters and its current attempts to shut down dissenting voices bodes ill for its ability to course-correct on its own. If the EU is to be saved, it first needs to be humbled, nay, outright humiliated in such a manner that no-one can doubt that recent developments can’t be allowed to continue. And indeed, the Brexit has done just that – the time for excuses is over, the time for listening to the people (lest the Brexit cause a domino effect that leads many more countries to leave the union) is here. For that, anyone who truly cares about the EU should welcome the Brexit result.