|Sunday, 17 February 2008||
The EU is no longer an ideological project; it’s a racket: a mechanism for redistributing money to the people who work for it. If that sounds harsh, ask yourself when you last met a Euro-enthusiast who was not being indirectly paid by Brussels.
This week, David Miliband stood at the Dispatch Box and listed the NGOs backing the Lisbon Treaty (nee European Constitution): “The NSPCC pledged its support, as have One World Action, Action Aid and Oxfam. Environmental organisations support the treaty provisions on sustainable development and even the commission of bishops supports the treaty. This is a coalition not of ideology, but integrity”.
Integrity, eh? I’ve done a little digging around, and it turns out that every one of these organisations gets money from Brussels.
The ‘commission of bishops’ to which the Foreign Secretary refers, for example, turns out to be something called the ‘Commission of the Bishops Conferences of the European Community’. It’s not an ecclesiastical organisation that just happens to be pro-integration; it’s a creature of the European Commission, wholly dependent on the EU for its funding and existence.
There was a time when the European project was supported by idealists who genuinely believed that they were building a better future. Not any more. The 2005 ‘No’ votes in France and the Netherlands were the EU’s equivalent of the 1968 Prague Spring. They killed off the idea that, given time, voters might come round to the ruling doctrine, and thereby make possible a restoration of democracy.
As in the 1970s Cold War Comecon states, the EU is now run, not by true believers, but by an apparat of officials whose livelihoods depend on the system – an apparat made up of NGOs, civil servants and local councils as well as Eurocrats. There’s too much at stake for them to give up easily.
By Daniel Hannan
This article first appeared on www.thefirstpost.co.uk