December 22, 2005

Not Little England's case for the EU

I said in my post following meeting
Mat of Not-Little-England at the pub
that I was not comlpetely convinced of his argument for the EU, but the argument was good and needed a longer post to do it justice. Here it is.

Mat’s primary argument was that a strong European polity was needed as a counterweight. The world is globalising, small players get marginalised. Not a counterweight to the United States as is often used in this type of argument, but to the Authoritarian powers of China and Russia. The United states will have a part to play is opposing them, but it’s political system is so wedded to the big money of the transnational corporations that it will not be able to do it properly. Corporate interest will always be drawn to the siren call of an emerging market of 1 billion souls. Another liberal power is needed to act as a counterweight, a federal one with power held at the most local level to maintain accountability to people rather than money. This could be what the EU becomes.

The counterweight argument is not an uncommon one for the EU. However the power to be counterweighted is generally not authoritarian China but the liberal United States.

This leads to a problem with using the EU to counterweight China since the ruling elite want the EU to counterweight the USA instead. In the words of Jacques Chirac:

"Reasons of international balance justify strengthening links between Europe and China, I’d even say between Europe, Russia and China."

So one of the current leaders of the EU, and a good representaive of a strong current within it's rulign structures, want's an EU that is the exact opposite
of what Mat is proposing, an EU strongly allied with the authoritarian powers against the liberal one. These are not empty words either, they are backed up with action with the EU working towards ingratiating themselves with the despicable regime in Beijing. For example:

There is of course a very good reason for the EU’s Sino-philia, other than xenophobic anti-Americanism, the fantastic growth (especially when compared to the rather poor growth of the Eurozone) of the Chinese market and it’s enormous potential. You see the EU is as much wedded to it’s corporate interests as the US is. There is a difference of course, in the US corporations live and die, pretty much, by the market. In Europe, especially Europe à la Francé, the winners are picked by the state as 'national champions' to be promoted for the good of the nation. If aiding a national champion means sucking up to a regime still actively trying to destroy the entire cultural heritage of a nation that it invaded, so be it.

It is not that the idea of what the EU could be is bad, it certainly is not. It is just that it is such a long way from what the EU is, and the direction that the EU is heading, as to not be at all probably as what is going to happen. So you end up back at looking at what the EU is now, which is not a pretty sight.


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