Thursday, 4 January 2007

What is The European Union Good For?

While many think the EU will be a big help in stabilizing Iraq as the situation allows, the EU is nothing close to a super-power. As FSM Contributing Editor Adrian Morgan outlines, the EU came into existence artificially, and seems to specialize in creating thousands of unnecessary regulations. In fact, British citizens are now subject to 200,000 EU regulations, with 2,500 more added annually. Whereas the US has a set of values, all the EU can provide is a labyrinthine bureaucracy that would put Byzantium to shame. Do we need or even want their help?

The European Union has become a top-heavy bureaucracy far removed from its origins. Originally there were the Benelux nations – Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg – which had a policy of free trade with each other. The Benelux nations were joined with West Germany, France and Italy in the “European Coal and Steel Community”, or EESC, founded in 1951. In 1957, the Treaty of Rome was signed by these nations, paving the way for a “common market” and creating the European Economic Community (EEC) and European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM).

In 1967, these coalesced to form the European Community (EC). A European Parliament was formed, with a Council of Ministers. Britain joined the EC in 1973, as did Denmark and Ireland. There were expansions in 1981, 1986, and also in 1995. Malta, Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia and Cyprus joined in 2004. The most recent additions to the EU are Romania and Bulgaria, which join on January 1, 2007. These will bring the total member nations of the EU to 27.

The European Union itself was officially formed on November 1, 1993 as a result of the Maastricht Treaty. This treaty explicitly laid out the terms for political union, turning a corrupt and poorly managed bureaucratic trading body into a putative super-state. Originating in the Treaty of Maastricht, signed on February 7, 1992, the EU was formed with the intention of providing a coherent security policy. Unfortunately this security policy has been undermined by political correctness.

The biggest threat to the West, including the EU, is Islamic terrorism. Yet its recent commissioners have been more spineless than jellyfish when addressing this threat. There is no coordinated policy to regulate the widespread illegal immigration from North and West Africa. Already terrorists from North Africa have illegally gained entry to Spain via the Canary Isles.

In September 2005, Franco Frattini, European Commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security, said at a press conference in Brussels: “You cannot use the term Islamic terrorism. Islam is being misused. People who commit suicide attacks or criminal activities on behalf of religion, Islamic religion or other religion, they abuse the name of this religion… Diversity of religion and cultures is another value for the European Union. It is not a danger, it is not a threat.”

In December 2005, Frattini showed his contempt for freedom of speech by publicly condemning the cartoons of the so-called prophet Mohammed, produced by the newspaper Jyllands-Posten. He told the newspaper that “one should avoid making any statement like this, which only arouses and incites… growing radicalization.”
Frattini is the vice-chairman of the European Commission (executive body of the EU). In January 2006, Alvaro Gil-Robles, the EU Human Rights commissioner, condemned plans to strengthen the teaching of Christianity in Danish elementary schools. In April Gijs de Vries, EU chief of counter-terrorism, decided that a new “lexicon” was needed, so that acts of Islamic terrorism were not called “Islamic”.

With politically correct pundits such as de Vries in charge of formulating a counter-terrorism policy, a carte blanche is being given for Al Qaeda-supporting radicals to make further plans on Europe.
On the issue of security and defense, the EU is least-equipped to formulate any credible policy. NATO has existed since the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty on April 4, 1949, and has served as a credible alliance, now comprising 26 members. France left in 1966 as a result of De Gaulle’s isolationism and pride.
But a viable EU defense policy will be impossible to achieve. Jacques Chirac in 2001 told NATO that the EU defense policy would be worked “in harmony” with NATO, but hinted that an EU solution would be preferable to an intercontinental policy.

The European Defense Agency (EDA) is headed by Javier Solana, a socialist, who headed NATO from 1995 to 1999. In February 2006 while the cartoon protests thrived, Solana mounted an appeasement campaign in the Middle East, saying the European press “should respect the beliefs and tenets of all religions” and said “religious symbols should be protected”.

Turkey entered the negotiation for EU entry on October 3, 2005. Turkey is the first predominantly Muslim country to be included in accession talks. Turkey’s entry has been supported by Britain and the US. Turkey has been a member of NATO since 1952, and is seen as a Western ally.

The issue of Turkey’s full membership of the EU is affected by various problems. Secular Turkey was founded in 1923. Turkey’s current government, the AKP or Justice and Development Party, is determined to remove the strict secularism. The prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is an Islamist who has his eyes set on becoming the president.

Knowing that talks on accession will take at least ten years, it seems Erdogan is more interested in exploiting the EU to further his own religious and political ends. A pre-condition of entry to the EU is to recognize the legitimacy of the other nations. Turkey still refuses to acknowledge Cyprus, and as a result the EU partially suspended accession talks on December 11, 2006.

Erdogan knows that while Turkey is engaged in EU negotiations, the fiercely secular military will not mount a coup and depose his government. Previous Islamist governments have all been dissolved by the military.
Abdullah Gul, Erdogan’s right-hand man in the AKP, was formerly a member of two parties whose Islamist credentials led to their dissolution (Refah Partisi, banned in 1999, and Fazilet Partisi, outlawed in 2000). While EU accession talks are scheduled to continue, Erdogan’s plans to reverse the tide of secularism introduced by Kemal Ataturk more than 70 years ago will continue unabated.

The EU’s newest partners, Romania and Bulgaria, are impoverished former Soviet satellite nations. Neither of these countries, (nor the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Slovakia Hungary or Poland) have been capable of controlling their own destinies since the 1930s. Yet they are expected to be full members, and to help formulate defense strategies? With the Balkan nations of Macedonia and Croatia on a waiting list for entry, the specter of Balkanization threatens to destroy any realistic defense policy.

The political entity of the EU is an artificial confection – where communists and neo-fascists are supposed to convene and decide the future of all member states. Even when its precursor EC was only a trading entity, it left an appalling legacy of beef mountains, butter mountains, common agricultural policies, fishing policies which allowed Spanish to fish British waters while Cornish fishermen stayed at home. There were regulations about the optimum size and bend of bananas, and in 2003, EU laws forced British shops to introduce metric measures as opposed to pounds and ounces.

In March 2003, after three years of questioning, corruption charges were brought against Edith Cresson, EU commissioner from 1995 to 1999. These threatened to expose the culture of financial and procedural irregularities at the EU. In June, 2004, charges were mysteriously dropped.

A body which is of no use to its component nations can be of no use to other nations. Unlike NATO, its politically correct “tolerance” of its own diversity saps it of any sense of purpose and direction.
The newer nations which have joined the EU are guaranteed to draw funds from the wealthier nations. Romania and Bulgaria are rife with corruption. Romania’s prime minister, Calin Popescu
Tariceanu, told Romanian radio recently that it would take 20 to 40 years for the country to financially catch up with other EU nations. Both countries have problems with human trafficking for the sex industry, and drug smuggling.
Having said this, Romania and Bulgaria joined NATO in 2004. Within NATO these two countries are not expected to decide or formulate policy, but in the EU they are as equal as any other member. France under Jacques Chirac is the EU member that thinks it is more equal than others, and in 2003 it condemned Romania and Bulgaria’s joining NATO.

There is a distinct anti-Americanism at the heart of the EU. Britain is being dragged further into a subordinate position within the centralized EU super-state ruled by Brussels and Strasbourg. Britain is losing its national identity and weakening its traditional “special relationship” with the US. Only Tories such as John Redwood and Baroness Thatcher acknowledge the anti-American sentiment at the heart of the EU.

Since the invasion of Iraq, the anti-American sentiment has been growing. But the EU cannot become a super-power. It came into existence artificially, and all it can practically do is create more unnecessary regulations. John Blundell of the Institute of Economic Affairs has said that British citizens are now subject to 200,000 EU regulations, with 2,500 more added annually. Whereas the US has a set of values, all that the EU can provide is a labyrinthine bureaucracy that would put Byzantium to shame.

Economically and politically the EU is a monstrosity. Its dogmatic egalitarianism will eventually, like the Soviet empire, cause its downfall. It is a many-tailed beast, where the lesser tails are wagging the dog. Where it was once a trading coalition, located in Western Europe, the beast has grown in size and delusion. In rapid fashion it has expanded to include any fragile emergent democracy in the East. Surely it is time to take it out to the barn and, like Old Yeller, give it the coup de grace it so badly needs.

By Adrian Morgan Contributing Editor Adrian Morgan is a British based writer and artist who has written for Western Resistance since its inception. He also writes for Spero News.
He has previously contributed to various publications, including the Guardian and New Scientist and is a former Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Society.

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