This assignment intends to explore geo-political rivalries through the lens of economics and history. The European Union is seen as mechanism to prevent war and further communications; however other see possibly destroying the concept of National Identities and therefore a re-birth of European extremism. Before my studies, I initially viewed the EU as a progressive force for good in the world, however my research as left me a complete citric.
After WWII the world was in such shock at the horrors of the holocaust and other crimes against humanity, it the intention that no other nation, especially Germany, would ever become so dominant, that it could threaten Europe again became prioritized. It was also thought to act as a counterweight against the Superpowers of the USSR and later the US (Zehfuss, 2009). The core principals of Europeanism have been seen to be regionalism, communitarianism, welfarism, multiculturalism as well as the principal of perpetual peace. In order to make this dream into a reality, there have been many international bodies and organizations been created such as a parliament, commission, council, court, a common currency in the Euro, unofficial military of NATO, welfare in austerity/bailouts, economics which fall under the IMF, WTO, World Back and multiculturalism to the point of creating the concept of the ‘European’ (Zehfuss, 2009).
Despite the ideals of the EU, I have always found it strange that it resembles the world-outlook that all totalitarian empire-builders. An example of this can be found with Nazi Foreign-Minister von Ribbentrop proposed the creation of a European confederacy, along with a single currency, a central bank in Berlin, a regional principle, a labor policy and economic and trading agreements (Marrs, 2008). Even British Fascist Oswald Mosely, set forth a policy by the name ‘Europe – A Nation’ (Mosley, 1984). When the Ribbentrop and Mosley’s intentions are compared with EU today, the exact same outcome has occurred. Such parallels were usually dismissed as excessive criticisms, however in the wake of the financial crisis, the anti-democratic face of the EU started to emerge.
The European 2009 sovereign debt crisis which has created a domino affect with countries in the Eurozone. Greece, Ireland, Spain and Portugal have gone bankrupt. The solution was that other nations of the Eurozone, such as Germany, are now injecting financial stimulus to the weaker countries to recover via the supranational organizations such as the IMF and the World Bank. This has proven to me to be a complete failure and multiple bailouts have been further given (Poggioli, 2011). Not only that, it seems that Europeanism has now gone to the extent of having complete contempt for any form of patriotism, that the unelected EU President Herman van Rompuy has gone so far to publicly express that ‘The age of the nation state is over and the idea that countries can stand alone is an illusion and a lie’ (Martin, 2010) This has confirmed Soviet Dissident parallels to the EU with the USSR (Bukovsky, 2006).
The backlash of the EU establishment, I have observed, is failure to not only solve the problems, but exacerbate the situation, has shown a rise in Euroscepticism. The peoples of Europe have now completely rebelled against the pro-EU establishment. Eurosceptic-champion Nigel Farage of UKIP has frequently made apparent to the world the fallacies of the Euro-project (Farage, 2010). Others have followed in UKIPs footsteps, such as the True Finns who was once a minor party upshot to becoming the third largest party in the Finnish Parliament (Sanomat, 2011), and Italy’s Five Star Movement gaining support (Mollica, 2012). In Greece, there are now riots, rejecting external support and wishing to rebuild themselves by self-sufficiency and defaulting on their debt. Switzerland and Iceland are considered an inspiration, as they refused to join the EU and rejected the Euro. When their national economic system collapsed also refused external finance bailouts and has recovered sooner than those who are within the Eurozone (Hayne, 2011).
However, it must be realized that extremist parties such as the French National Front the Greek Golden Dawn have also seen a rise in support (Gera, 2012). The reason that I could formulate for this to have occurred is no other mainstream parties have decided listen to the demand to leave the Eurozone. Therefore in their desperation, people are turning to the extremes. It must be realized that the only way that any sort of union can be made is only by the consent of the people. Whenever it is forced upon them, and their elected officials ignore their disapproval, than unsurprisingly, the only option is left is extremism and violence.
In conclusion, my judgment is that the EU as proven to be a complete and utter failure. They have not learnt a thing from history, and now history is repeating. Every single goal which it wished to have prevented has now occurred. Germany is economically dominating Europe; it has ended up supplementing US instead of counterbalancing it, the Euro had brought complete instability and now violence and resentment is now rampant right across the continent (see attached picture). If the establishment refused to let go of their power, with Greece looking like Wiener Republic, we could see the possible rebirth of National-Socialism within Europe.
Reference List –
Farage, N (2011) Flying Free, Biteback Publishing Ltd, United Kingdom
Gera, V (2012) Greece’s Golden Dawn most extreme of Europe’s far right parties to enter parliament, The Republic, Online
Hayne, M (2011) Iceland’s people regain control of nation, Advertiser
Marrs, J (2008) The Rise of the Fourth Reich, HarperCollins Publishers, United States
Martin. D (2010) Nations States are dead: EU chief says the belief that continues can stand alone is a lie and an illusion, Mail online
Mollica, A (2012) Beppe Grillo: “Italy is out of the euro”, Giornaleitismo, online (translated)
Mosley, N (1984) Beyond the Pale: Sir Oswald Mosley and Family 1933-1980, Warburg Ltd, United Kingdom
Poggioli, S (2011) Public Outrage grows as Greece looks for more cuts, NPR, Online
Sanomat, H (2011) Sunday Evening: Election Special – Massive gains for True Finns, Online.
Youtube – Vladimir Bukovsky: The European Union – the New Soviet Union?
Youtube – ‘Who the Hell You Think You Are?’ Nigel Farage throws egg in Eurocrat faces
Zehfuss, M (2009) Global Politics – A New Introduction, Routledge, United Kingdom