I am not British; I am European and I am proud of it.
We are hard working people, we insist and we persist, we are belligerent and pacifist at the same time and we deserve what we earn. We make things happen and we bring progress because we work. For us Europeans, working is a way of life.
The British, as a principle, lived primarily off the colonies. Most Europeans never had colonies and those who did, had them for a short time and with dubious benefits. They gained more blood than cash. To exploit a colony is an art and we Europeans, except for a certain degree the Dutch –not to mention the Brits- never mastered such an art.
Since joining the European Union, in 1973, Britain considered the EU as its new colony and, to a big extent, imposed this perception on the rest of Europe.
Abatement, special privileges and more privileges, fewer contributions and a special status for the City of London and offshore companies. As all other Europeans were colony subjects of Her Majesty, economically, Great Britain, ceteris paribus, received disproportionally higher benefits than any other EU Member State. At the expense of others, of course.
Politically, Great Britain proved catastrophic to the EU for three reasons.
It imposed the Administrative Reform of the Commission undertaken by Neil Kinnock during which it outsourced, mostly to Anglo-American concerns, policy matters. Thus, it deprived the Commission from setting its own policy team. For the European Union, this was a crime.
Another crime was the blocking by any means of the deepening of the European Union thus making the integration dream of Europe’s founding fathers, vanish. Indeed, Britain disallowed any process of building a common Foreign and Defence policy for Europe.
Last but not least, the enlargement with 11 former Communist countries, which was for the best interest of the EU to keep them in NATO, but not in the Berlaymont. Britain was the driving force of this enlargement.
These three British delinquencies against Europe, primarily the third, are some of the main reasons of the present socio-economic crisis Europe is undergoing.
In its post-war history, Britain, while manipulated with supreme art all issues concerning its own puny interests, made two unforgivable mistakes which led to its decay.
After World War II, Brits voted out Winston Churchill, the winner of the war! If Churchill were re-elected after the war, today’s Europe would be different. More democratic, more European and more integrated.
The second mistake was Brexit. This will be cataclysmic for the Brits, but good for the rest of Europe.
The referendum result is the political decision of the British people, irreversibly hailed and accepted by all European leaders (Juncker, Schulz, Tusk and Rutte). This means the game is over and there is no going back. In life, everything is politics and this is the beginning, the middle and the end of our story.
Administrative issues, Article 50 of the Treaty and the like are procedural matters, which can be interpreted as the winner (read the European Union) wishes. Brits have considerable experience with this. Winners write the history books and they write the rules.
Therefore, vaya con Dios mi amor and God save the Queen.
This brings up the second equally important and also equally political matter.
The anticipated by many Germanization of Europe. On this issue, there are two elements to consider, the Germans and all other Member States.
The Germans. It is wrong to believe that Germany will attempt the Germanization of Europe. They will not do so because they are already in (economic) control, they also have the bad experience of two World Wars and the country is democratically ruled. On the contrary, their historic responsibilities will help the process of European integration.
Mainstream German leaders are democratic leaders and will never deviate to non-democratic practices. Of that they have recent traumatic experiences, which they still pay for, even today. German leaders know the limits and the red lines of the political game and will never transgress. Economic matters are a different thing and we have many things to say about this, but business is business, not politics. Here we are talking politics.
Several European nations, suffering from the Germany-imposed austerity (which has proven a wrong and counterproductive policy choice); blame the Germans for everything. From the earthquakes and floods, to the quality of spaghetti and the various cartels looting Europe. These are the same people who, a couple of decades ago, were blaming everything on the Americans.
The real matter is with the EU Member States. The European Union has the unique opportunity for a total remaking. The remake of the European Union.
The European Commission is the best administrative machine in the world. We must make it transparent, accountable and limit it to its administrative duties. Not more, not less.
Only in this way we will save Europe – by making it better, trustworthy, open and citizen-friendly.
Many of the reasons which brought the European Union to the edge of the cliff are described in my latest book, “The Deep State of Europe.”
Some of Brussels still live in the Dark Ages where books and witches were burned at spectacular “auto-de-fé” (act of faith) public ceremonies. But the world is not flat, and Brussels is not perfect; once we realise that not just one, but both of those statements are true, we can begin to mend the holes in our European Union.
The book is selling very well (bookstores and Amazon) and is currently being translated into four languages and we are working for several others.
As for my institutional readers, should they wish to do so, they can drop by our offices at Avenue De Tervuren 96 (Brussels 1040) and get a free copy. This offer is valid until July 15, 2016.