Wednesday 18 June 2008

Who stands up for Europe?

Who is more to blame? The so called EU elites, who have built the European Union on intergovernmental sand? Or moody populations resisting every move to improve the common structures even marginally?


There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.


Soon we have dithered and demurred Europe into oblivion and irrelevance on the world stage.

Who stands up for Europe, if Europeans don’t? Benign outside forces?

Time to launch the European Union Epitaph Competition?

Ralf Grahn


  1. I believe that the blame lies, in part, with national governments and their portrayal of the EU in domestic politics. This is true in Ireland and, I suspect, in other Member States.

    National governments use the EU as a convenient scapegoat for unpopular decisions (e.g. Nitrates Directive). It is a useful tool, in reality, that allows the Member States to implement "greater good" measures that are unpopular and would not be supported by the electorate, but governments tend to immediately put the hands up and say "it's not us, it's EU law, can't do anything, sorry." For example, Bertie Ahern recently laid the blame for school water charges in Ireland at the EU's door.

    By contrast, most positive measures introduced by the EU are passed off as the work of the national government (e.g. Unfair Commercial Practices Directive; anti-spam legislation, etc.) These are implemented into national law and then promoted as if they had been dreamt up by the ruling political party.

    Accordingly, the electorate only sees the EU in a negative light, and rarely in a positive light. The only exception is the use of the EU flag on construction site signs, etc., when EU funding is provided.

    Despite the fact that almost every public project in Ireland benefits from such funding and, therefore, includes an EU flag prominently on display in signage, the electorate here seems not to notice.

  2. An fear bolg,

    I agree that what you describe is part of the problem.

    A lack of comprehension plus mutual incomprehension add to our relative decline. Time to raise Gibbons from his gave?


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