Does anyone remember the war and how nationalism drove us apart – the EU is a solution for peace. It’s a great shame that Britain will no longer be part of that equation as they were a peacekeeper. The model of Anglo-Saxons (US and UK) in partnership with the latin, Germanic and eastern EU made for stability. Without Britain in there and with the US turning towards Putin, the EU seems isolated, especially with Turkey rattling its sabres on the wrong side of justice.
The EU then has taken as serious shock since Brexit and needs to come together under a common banner. But what? The job for the EU now is to protect its borders, but it will be forced into isolation against the East, West and South. Probably its enlargement into the Baltic states was a mistake, those countries could easily have created a common trading block neither Soviet nor European. But could they have been strong enough?
The EU coming together today without Britain would have to be led by the central countries, France, Germany, Italy, Spain – the progressive, democratic countries who were ravaged by and remember the war. But there are significant right wing movements in Europe and the US today reminiscent of the thirties. Make no mistake, if it was populism that set us on the road to war in the thirties, it was the desire for freedom, democracy and peace that drive us to fight against tyranny.
And we should well remember that although Germany has today taken in millions of refugees from Syria, not Muslims. The far right just love to stir it up citing burnt cars, riots and rape in Cologne. These are matters for the law though not politics. While we expect all to adhere to the rule of law, there is sufficient crime in Europe without pointing the finger. And while we might like to deport child molesters, we do not, we put them in prison. The same goes for rioters and rapists of whatever religion.
There is still a war in Syria, Islamaphobia is on the rise and so is “populism”. Remember that there is nothing better that ISIS would like than the ruin of western civilisation. And the surest way of getting there is by turning against one another, in-fighting. And Putin will profit from our lack of focus. He has attempted to destabilize western politics, he is waging a political war in Syria and he seems to see no reason to be allies with Europe. And yet he is shooting himself in the foot, Europe is the nearest market for his gas and oil.
The EU needs to bring everyone together under a common banner. For the EU to come together, it needs a political and economic project, it needs to restate its vows, but I wonder if the increased federalism proposed by Juncker is the one. I think it should consolidate its position, not deepen it. European legislation is for the harmonisation of trade. Who really believes in a United States of Europe with so much difference between Slovakia, Hungary and the rest. And the UK is out because of anti-federalism and sovereignty.
An EU army against threats from Erdogan in Turkey. Despite this, if the EU is to survive and defend its borders, with the US ready to disengage from Nato funding, it would seem logical for a European army to rise, even without the professional UK. A stand off with Russia and Turkey and a force to be reckoned with in combating terrorism at home and abroad. If the EU is to stay together it must come together under a banner, an identity shared by its people, a symbol of freedom, of tolerance, of openness, progress, of peace, prosperity and high standards of living. These are the things that can bring us together. Values, common goals and common desires.