Sunday 24 May 2009

European elections: Talibans to the rescue?

It is always interesting to read Nosemonkey, but I wonder at his reasoning in Why voting for a eurosceptic party is a good thing for the EU (23 May 2009).

Naturally, the European Union needs critics and reformers, but that that is not what added representation for the British National Party (BNP) or the UK Independence Party (UKIP) is going to bring. There is nothing ‘skeptic’ about them. They want the European Union to fail and the United Kingdom to secede regardless of reform issues.

What Nosemonkey is doing is akin to calling for the Talibans to reform the United States.


Julien Frisch is looking for the kind of criticism needed to improve the European project in Why we might need EU-sceptic parties (24 May 2009).

"The problem is that EU-sceptic parties’ critique to anything the EU does can easily be discredited as if it was just done to harm the Union, as a matter of principle and not as a constructive approach to make the Union better, even when they are right.

I think we will need heavily EU-critical parties with a true love to the basic idea of such a supranational entity. So far, this critique too often comes from the extremes, but it needs to comes from the centres of the political spectrum, to make it more credible.

But maybe those political forces will first need the EU-sceptic pitbulls to smooth the way before they get their window of opportunity to make the EU a better polity than it is today…"


It is a corruption of language to gather Taliban-like BNP or UKIP under the banner of ‘skepticisim’, and it is a folly to see them as saviours. Eurotoxic EU reform is a non-starter.

The inadequate treaties of the European Union, including the Lisbon Treaty, and the EU’s obvious shortcomings need a different kind of critique.

The basic questions are how to enhance the security and to improve the prosperity of EU citizens in a turbulent world.

We can become more secure, if the European Union is able to speak with one voice in the world, and more prosperous if the EU embraces economic reform fit for the 21st century.

For this the EU needs real powers, but they have to be legitimate, based on representative democracy and with accountable government at EU level.

EU 2.0 is well beyond the parochial world view of our national governments and the mainstream views of those wedded to the current ‘institutional balance’, but even a hundred ‘Nigel Farages’ in the European Parliament is not going to bring about needed reform, or even the discussion needed to address the right issues.

During more than three decades British tabloids have managed to poison the atmosphere, but they have not even started reflection about how to improve the European Union. Why should more of the same be any better?

Ralf Grahn


  1. I'm not advocating giving UKIP and their ilk the power to reform the EU as they see fit, I'm just saying that they're the closest we've got to an opposition in the EP. Their criticism is rarely constructive and often ridiculous, for sure, but it can be useful nonetheless. Just because you have a bad opposition doesn't mean it can't have some use, after all - and I'm really hoping for a better quality of eurosceptic.

    (Agreed on the distortion of the term eurosceptic, by the way - it's something that annoys me constantly, but sadly in Britain eurosceptic does seem to have shifted to mean anti-EU during the last decade or so. We probably need a new term for the milder, less vehement form of euroscepticism - just as I need a new term to describe my own position, halfway between being pro-EU and a sceptic.)

  2. Nosemonkey,

    We agree on the annoying and misleading use of Euroskeptic or Eurosceptic, it seems.

    A few blog posts ago I tried to attach suitable and more rigorous terms to UK political parties, as seen from a European mainstream perspective.


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