19 juni 2008

Europe is not a good marriage: the divorce is near (Kristof Willekens)

It is almost too ironic: the nation that has benefit more than no other form the financial and infrastructural support provided by EU now says “No” to the Lisbon Treaty. A treaty that itself is a major patchwork for the initial Constitutional Treaty. This firm and clear “No” does not really seem to bother the EU patrons and is considered to be an “Irish problem”. Sin verguënza! There are several observations that need to be made towards the attitude of the great leaders that this is just an Irish problem. Primo, European leaders are trying to create an image of all against one, the one being Ireland, against all other EU members that have or will ratify Lisbon. Of course, this “No” more than what in argumentation is called a “straw man’s argument”. If there were more countries besides Ireland to organise a referendum, there is no doubt that more nations would (again) have said “No” to this new treaty. For instance, what about the United Kingdom, Poland or the Czech Republic? And didn’t France and The Netherlands already reject the Constitutional Treaty?

Secundo, it is true that in Ireland, as well as in France and The Netherlands in 2005, the No-campaign used false arguments and mostly relied on creating the idea of a monster state that governs far out of reach of national politicians, but the rejection of the initial and the new treaty cannot be put down to a global fear towards globalisation only. Unfortunately, the Eurocrats and great leaders of Europe consist on attributing the negative attitude of the population to just fear caused by globalisation and loss of certitudes in both personal and professional life. With this, they harm the EU-project, instead of defending it. The real threat for the EU is not the rejection of the treaties, but the way Eurocrats and the great leaders of Europe respond to that rejection.

For, those who take the effort of really listen to the real sighs of the European citizens learn that like in a good marriage, saying “No” to certain options does not mean one is wanting to file for divorce. What really concerns citizens, is their individual position in the great system that the European Union has become today. And this is not even about the democratic deficit that some consider as being the cause of negative attitude towards the European Union. No, it is just about something that can be resumed as the feeling that one has no longer the “control on the policy”.

Many of the Irish voters have clearly indicated not rejecting the EU as a whole, but only the way the EU works today. They are not rejecting the EU, they just want a better EU. And it has no doubt that in the 26 other member states, many people have the same opinion on the EU.

The way out of the actual crisis is not the attitude of the Eurocrats and the great leaders consisting in pointing out the No-voters as spoiled or even worse, dull. On the contrary, we can only assure the future of the EU-project if we at least give the impression of listening to the sighs of our citizens, whose opinion is the first and most important criterion of the success of EU policy.

After all, isn’t EU-cooperation said to give more guarantees on the creation of future prosperity and the protection of social and cultural rights on the European continent? If the Eurocrats really believe they can do better than individual national governments, it should not be difficult for them to go out in the field and convince the citizens that they should say yes to the EU-project…


The author is President of the Mises Youth Club in Brussels.

More articles by Kristof Willekens on www.misesyouth.org.
More articles by Vincent De Roeck on www.libertarian.be.


10 Comments:

At 19/6/08 11:22, Anonymous Roland said...

You are right in that a "No" is not necessarily the start of divorce proceedings.

You are also right in pointing out that many Irish (and probably many Europeans) do not oppose the EU as such.

One might therefore conclude that many Europeans, given time to think about it, would suggest that the EU stop expanding in every direction. Political, economical and cultural integration can only go so far, especially when forced upon us top down.

Problem is, as with any bureaucracy, that its intrinsic goal (or mission) is to sustain itself, to develop further et cetera.

In everyday life, one cannot say that the welfare state has been achieved, that integration of immigrants has been completed, that poverty has been abolished etc. There will always be a need to go further, to identify and solve new problems and to feed the Leviathan...

If, in principle, we agree that prosperity and economic freedom require regulation, preferably at the international level, there is no way to stop it at a certain point.

 
At 19/6/08 12:34, Anonymous Larry Hayes said...

I think Europe did not get the picture. The result of the Irish Nay will be very similar to the Nays in France and the Netherlands in 2005, or the Danish No in 1992, or the Irish No in 2003... Because the EU already has said that it will ignore the Irish referendum, which means it will have to break its own rules, AND reject democracy. The EU attitude is once again purely dictatorial.

RIP Freedom

 
At 19/6/08 14:49, Anonymous Hugo said...

Their is noting wrong with the Traity of Lisbon! Only communist oppose it, not smart or wel-educated people. The points taken by Vincent Deroeck and this Kristof Willekens are rediculous!

 
At 19/6/08 15:23, Anonymous Geert Van Nauwelaerts said...

Hugo, uw Engels is al even weerzinwekkend dan de inhoud van uw haatdragende reacties. Heeft u nu echt niets beters voor handen dan voortdurend op andermans artikels te reageren met gif en gal? Het zou u sieren, moest u ofwel argumenten aandragen die uw negatieve kijk op jan en alleman enigszins onderbouwen, ofwel u voortaan afzijdig houden in dit soort discussiedraden. U maakt uzelf alleen maar onpopulair en creëert de idee bij anderen dat u een oude, in zichzelf gekeerde, arrogante, inhoudsloze en vooral intrieste persoonlijkheid bent. Ik zou mij aan u kunnen ergeren, ware het niet dat u waarschijnlijk meer slachtoffer bent dan de auteurs die u beschimpt.

 
At 19/6/08 17:01, Anonymous Anoniem said...

Laat hem toch, hij is best grappig

 
At 20/6/08 11:36, Anonymous Anoniem said...

No... means No! Tatatanana!
No... means No! Tatatanana!

 
At 20/6/08 11:36, Anonymous Anoniem said...

No... means No! Tatatanana!
No... means No! Tatatanana!

 
At 20/6/08 23:33, Anonymous Marc Huybrechts said...

@ Geert V.N.

Waarom denkt u dat 'Hugo' een "oude etc..." zou zijn? Ik denk eerder het tegenovergestelde, en ben er bijna zeker van dat we hier met een "jongere" te maken hebben. Zowel de lage kwaliteit van zijn Engels als de inhoud van zijn commentaren wijzen daar op. Het gaat hier vooral, denk ik, om een JONGE meeloper of achternaloper van de gevestigde orthodoxe 'zekerheden', en niet om iemand die argumenten zou kunnen formuleren in plaats van simpelweg 'eigen zekerheden' te affirmeren.

Trouwens, het Engels van de heer Willekens moet ook verbeterd worden om duidelijkheid te bevorderen. Ik geef deze kritiek enigszins met reserve want ik besef dat schrijven in 'vreemde' talen niet gemakkelijk is. Marc Vanfraechem kan bevestigen dat mijn Nederlands ook niet echt meer door de beugel (van kwaliteit) geraakt.

Enkele suggesties voor Kristof Willekens:

1)...the nation that has benefitED more than ANY other from... (of alternatievelijk: ...the nation that has benefited like no other....).

2)...observations that need to be made ABOUT the attitude... ( ofwel "concerning", maar zeker niet "towards").

3)...global fears ABOUT globalisation...(niet "towards").

4)...take the effort TO really listen to the real sighs of...(Ofwel "...effort OF really listenING to the real sighs...".

5) "resumed" = summarized ?

6) ...there is no doubt... (niet "...it has no doubt...")

7) By "great" leaders is probably meant "MAJOR" leaders. The word "great" has a connotation of quality that is not supported or conveyed by the tenor of the article. Unless it was really meant to be satirical...

 
At 20/6/08 23:50, Anonymous Geert Van Nauwelaerts said...

@ M. Huybrechts

Ik meen mij te herinneren uit de talrijke vorige discussiedraden met 'Hugo' dat daaruit bleek dat hij eerder een gepensioneerde dan een jonge naïveling en/of irritante persoon was. Zo reageerde hij bvb. niet ontkennend op een verwijt van "verzuurde bruggepensioneerde" of "zo geïrriteerd, Hugo, vandaag geen bezoek gehad van de kleinkinderen?" van 'Evelyne' of 'guillaume', of iemand anders. Nu zijn dit soort verwijten waarschijnlijk even kinderachtig als de reacties van Hugo, toch oogst de laatste wat hij zaait...

Die 'Kristof Willekens' heb ik eens gegoogled. Hij is nogal jong, N-VA'er, oud-LVSV'er, en inderdaad de voorzitter dus van die Youth Club. De jeugd kent zijn talen niet, is een vaak gehoorde boutade, maar anderzijds zijn er natuurlijk ook maar weinig anderen die de moed hebben om in een andere taal te schrijven. Dat verdient op zich al een pluim, maar inderdaad, er staan in deze tekst wel nogal wat fouten, en dat doet natuurlijk indirect afbreuk aan de ganse tekst, die nu ook niet meteen inhoudelijk uitblinkt trouwens... "Great leaders" lijkt me, gezien die 'Kristof Willekens' een kennis van Vincent is, inderdaad ironisch bedoeld te zijn. En waarschijnlijk heeft Vincent de tekst van zijn kennis niet nagelezen maar gewoon blindelings overgenomen, want de fouten van die 'Kristof Willekens' heb ik Vincent nog niet zien maken in zijn Engelse teksten, überhaupt relatief weinig/nauwelijks fouten eigenlijk.

 
At 21/6/08 20:14, Anonymous Karel "Jazz" Jansens (op Libertarian.be) said...

Voor wie geïnteresseerd is in onze Hugo, google eens "thePiano" of "Hugo Van Minnebrugge".

Overigens is "the TRAITY of Lisbon" m.i. een humor-medaille waard!

 

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