Paved with good intentions

With the ever closer integration of European countries into a single EU(ssr), it was bound to happen: In the US people are sitting up and wondering outloud what the EU is: friend or adversary?

One of the best summaries of the situation I have seen (via Het Vrije Volk) appeared on the Heritage Foundation site.
U.S. policymakers have been remarkably slow to grasp that the supranational institutions of the new top-down Europe (to which the once inde­pendent European states have ceded sovereignty) are remarkably undemocratic. In the judgment of a former E.U. commissioner, it is clear that if the E.U. applied to itself the criteria that it recently applied to all new members, it could not be admitted to the E.U. because it is insufficiently democratic!
It is not the first time the accusation of the anti-democratic nature was leveled against the EU. Nor will it be the last time, because the voices levelling the accusations are growing in number.

And rightly so. James Lundell, in the above quoted piece alledges that the average EU citizen is subject to "may be in excess of 200,000, with an average 2,500 new sets of regulations being added each year". Foisted upon us by a EU Commission of appointed (not elected) civil servants in collusion with a parliament too large to be meaningfull.

And it won't get better. Although the constitution in its original form was nixed by the referenda in France and the Netherlands, the idea of cherry picking in the form of a 'mini-treaty' is still aliev and well:
[I]t should be noted that Mr. Sarkozy's mini-constitution will not be as "mini" as all that. Among those attributes of a modern state that are to be added to the European design are full legal personality (which will enable the E.U. to sign trea­ties and to participate in international organiza­tions as a single entity), a president, and a foreign minister.

In addition, there is to be an extension of quali­fied majority voting in the European Council, which will end the national veto in a number of areas including justice and criminal affairs
The latter means that any nation state loses any power to prosecute or protect its citizens according to the law of the land, giving the EU complete judicial power over all citizens within reach of its paws.

At the same time are cousins across the pond are starting to notice the growing disappointment with the Euro. In a piece in the NY Times on Slovenias adoption of Euro the Grey Lady observes
None of the recent entrants, except for Slovenia, are ready to join the euro zone. Half abandoned their entry plans over the last six months, and failed to produce new timetables for joining. The lack of progress reflects persistent fiscal problems and political opposition to the tough economic changes that euro entry demands.
While the European Union’s newcomers grapple with whether to join the euro club, those already in are having their own doubts. In Italy, France and the Netherlands, there has been a public backlash against a perceived rise in prices since the euro’s introduction.
Five years later, most Germans still long for their old currency, according to a recent poll by the market research firm Forsa. The poll, for Stern magazine and RTL television, showed that 58 percent of Germans would prefer the deutsche mark over the euro. In a recent survey by TNS-Sofres in France, 52 percent of those polled said giving up the franc had been “quite bad” or “very bad” for France, compared with 45 percent in 2003.

In Italy, a growing tide against the euro has led some politicians to call for the country to abandon the currency in a bid to restore Italy’s sagging economic competitiveness.
How is it that something ostensibly started with the best of intentions is failing so spectacularly? Two and a half years ago EU Referendum evoked the late Milton Friedmans 'Barking cat'.
The biological laws that specify the characteristics of cats are no more rigid than the political laws that specify the behavior of governmental agencies once they are established.
By coincidence Western resistance republished a piece entitled: What is the European Union good for? Although mainly dealing with the poor record of the EU standing up against radical islam and islamic terrorism, we find this gem:
The European Union itself was officially formed on November 1, 1993 as a result of the Maastricht Treaty. This treaty explicitly laid out the terms for political union, turning a corrupt and poorly managed bureaucratic trading body into a putative superstate.
And thus, if the EU is set up in an undemocratic way, it will never become democratic, as sure as wishing for a cat that barks will always be an unfulfilled wish. Richard North in the Barking Cats piece:
What the history of the European Union tells us is that is was set up in a certain way, to do certain things. It embodies at its core the supranational Commission. All the other institutions were designed in such a way that they would either present no challenge to the supremacy of the Commission, or help it in its task of acquiring power.

Given the structure and relationships of the institutions, as indeed do dogs bark and cats meow, so does the European Union necessarily act in an anti-democratic manner. That is what it was designed to do.

Thus, as Thatcher said in her book Statecraft, long after she had retired from active politics, "Europe as a whole is fundamentally unreformable".
And the Euro? Well, James Lundell in the Heritage Foundation piece lays it out nicely:
Let me turn to the record of Europe's single cur­rency, the euro, whose primary aim was political rather than economic. It is perhaps too soon to make a final judgment about whether the introduction of the euro has failed in its central aim of creating polit­ical unity, or whether it has led to heightened ten­sions as members blame one another for the eurozone's dismal performance. The record to date, however, strongly suggests the latter.

For example, for several years articles blaming Germany for holding back any economic recovery were a staple ingredient of the newspapers in all of the 12 eurozone members, while German econom­ic commentators customarily attributed their coun­try's prolonged economic stagnation to loss of control over interest rates to the European Central Bank, a view which is shared by, among others, Professor Milton Friedman. Among the research staffs of international banks and think tanks there is now regular discussion about whether Italy or Spain will the first to quit the euro in order to retain control of a key economic variable as the first step in overcoming deeply rooted economic problems.
By setting up the Euro in such a collective, centralistic way, it deprived each member state of the flexibillity necessary to keep its books and economy together.

And thus it is that we EUropeans are the guinee pigs (or rather the ant farm) in the grandest experiment in collectively organized economy since the Soviet Union. And what does it get us? Well, that is about as disappointing as everything else. Once more James Lundell:
The reality is an economy characterized by low growth, rigid labor markets, increasingly intru­sive regulation, high taxes, and a high level of trade protection in some sectors. All of which may ex­plain why, measured in per capita terms, the GDP of the United States is 45 percent higher than that for the EU-25.

Nor should it be overlooked that two of the most prosperous European states—Norway, which enjoys a higher GDP per capita than the U.S., and Switzerland, which is only fractionally behind— are not E.U. members. And, those E.U. economies which have recently performed relatively well are those which are the least well integrated economi­cally, i.e., those that remain stubbornly outside the eurozone: Britain, Sweden, and Denmark. This sit­uation scarcely provides grounds for further eco­nomic integration of the kind upon which the E.U. is urgently embarked.
Thus, despite a half century of wishfull thinking, we EUropeans are harshly confronted with the truism that no matter how good your intentions, if you start out wrong the end will not be better. The road to hell and all that...

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