Some mysteries are way over our grasp. Most of us are unable to understand, most of us are powerless and gagged by mega-institutions from which we feel excluded. Administration has never been so kafkaesque, and many politicians are corrupted by naked greed and lust for power. It seems like citizens are drawn away from politics. Beyond this crisis of confidence, people are being battered by a never ending economic crisis, austerity measures and terrorism. Which makes us bitter, on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
With only a few days left before the EU referendum in the UK, I am pondering over the real relevance of European Union nowadays. When I was younger, I had no doubt whatsoever over EU’s pertinence. After all, I was born in the country of the European capital. I was told that union would prevent future wars and reinforce our economic power on the world market. Like my national motto goes, I strongly believed that unity makes strength.
Growing up proved me that every one wants to get the best of a deal. Union is not a natural process, especially with 28 countries with disparities in wealth and political systems, and nations speaking 24 different languages. Let alone the currency. Two countries have opt-out clauses (Denmark and the UK) and seven other countries do not meet the conditions yet to join the Eurozone. Let’s be positive: nineteen states are using the Euro.
I also was wondering why as a European citizen, I am not consulted via a referendum like the United Kingdom’s average Joe. As Belgium is a strictly representative democracy, referendums are simply not legal. The nation rules, not the people. Which is the reason why my opinion will never be taken for granted. I suppose some things are better left unchanged in a small country such as mine. Complexity, distance between individual and authorities, incoherences, differential treatments, Greece’s economy close to collapse, the rise of extremisms… and such are emphasizing the fracture.
Add a touch of surrealism and you get the picture. Recently, European institutions held an open-house event and the staff was handing out booklets and gadgets. See this as a subtle way to raise awareness among the public of the major issues of EU. I am pretty sure that those cheap novelties will not convince anyone though. On the contrary, this junk is passing on a disastrous message. Pedometers made in China, European blue bags made in Turkey, portable battery made in China, pens made in Switzerland, tee-shirts made in Bengladesh… Europe is consuming but not manufacturing anymore and that is the core of the problem. Among other things.