I am a huge fan of Varoufakis and Paul Mason and would like to buy into their progressive reasons for staying in the EU. But what they aren’t convincing me of is ‘how’ the EU could be reformed? What is the road map for reforming the EU? And even what a ‘democratic’ EU would look like?
But more profoundly They are failing to explain what the purpose of a ‘democratised’ EU would be?
The EU was established as an ‘economic community’, the EEC. The point of the EEC was entirely economic and framed within an acceptance of globalised capatilist ‘markets’.
The ‘political’ project of a federalised Europe came later and was largely driven by a Delorian faction in the French/German elite.
It is absolutely clear that the vast majority of the ‘people’ of Europe do NOT want a federal ‘United States Of Europe’. Indeed, I would suggest an open attempt to impose such a thing would result in civil war, and I mean a fighting war. Indeed, the Delorites, knowing this, have attempted to ‘federalise’ Europe surreptitiously using the EU bureaucracy to build a de facto Federal Europe despite the opposition of the public of Europe.
People all over Europe can sense that considerable power has been seceded to the EU without their consent and quite reasonably object.
So the EU is not only profoundly undemocratic in terms of it’s institutions and power structures, it has also been created in a deeply undemocratic way. Indeed, I would argue that it’s undemocratic nature is a direct and inevitable result of the undemocratic process of creating it – i.e. Proper democratic controls could not be put in place because the population didn’t know it was happening and would have refused to cooperate if they did.
The EU was originally created as a single market; It’s purpose was purely economic – rather than political. What would be the political purpose of a ‘democratised’ EU?
And I don’t buy the ‘peace in our time’ argument Varoufakis promotes in which Brexit would lead to an apocalypse of war, economic collapse and the dominance of neo-fascism across Europe. It is not possible to make a causal link between peace in Europe since 1945 and the EU – and indeed I don’t accept there is a causal link. Peace between the countries of ‘Western Europe’ was guaranteed by the Cold War and the common enemy of the USSR, as much as it was by the EU. And Peace in Eastern Europe was maintained by Stalinist militarism – and indeed once that was removed after 1989, there have been wars in Georgia, Chechnya, the former Yugoslavia and most recently Ukraine.
And going forward an unchecked, bureaucratic EU elite, committed to ‘federalisation through regulation,’ is far more likely to bring about the collapse of the EU and the rise of a neo-fascist, far-right than Brexit would do!
So setting ‘peace in our time’ aside, what else would be the ‘political’ point of a democratised EU? There is undoubtedly an ‘economic’ logic to the EU but what is the political logic?
I could perhaps buy an argument that said that the ‘economic project’ of the EU is not sustainable without a concurrent ‘political project’, BUT in that case I would oppose BOTH, because the ‘economic project’ is a neoliberal project and I would oppose any ‘political project’ with the stated aim of bolstering and sustaining an institution of global neoliberal capitalism.
So I remain perplexed as to what it is Varoufakis et al are trying protect, or what their vision is for a ‘democratised EU?