Monday 30 March 2020

"Coronavirus Threatens European Unity"

The problem with the EU is that it cannot be democratic because there is no European demos. Marx has bedevilled intellectuals from his day to ours with the idea that class is real and nationality is not, but as history has shown time and again (not least when the USSR broke up into 15 countries) nationality and ethnicity are real and drive history, whereas class is (to use a phrase coined by Marxist John Berger) a social construct.

The EU is an artificial construction too. 

Marxists and extreme leftists disagree of course. Here is the view of an Englishman who says he is no longer exactly a Marxist but who does not want to be English or believe there is any English national identity or demos. 

Now we see that the lack of a European demos does not just make democracy impossible at a European level but solidarity (in French revolutionary terms, fraternity) too. How much better the Hapsburgs managed things. Their empire had a monarch, a central government, armed forces and Catholicism and conservatism to give the country purpose, rather than modern liberalism.

Historian Ruth Dudley Edwards posted on Facebook an interesting article, Coronavirus: The European Union Unravels by Soeren Kern, published by the Gatestone Institute (pro-Israel, Islamosceptic, John Bolton ran it for years).

I quote from it:

'France, March 25. President Emmanuel Macron, in an address to the nation at a military hospital in the eastern city of Mulhouse, which has been especially hard hit by the coronavirus, called for national, as opposed to European, unity: "When we engage in war, we engage fully, we mobilize united. I see in our country factors of division, doubts, all those who want to fracture the country when it is necessary to have only one obsession: to be united to fight against the virus. I call for this unity and this commitment." 

'Meanwhile, in Italy, a nationwide survey published on March 18 found that 88% of Italians believe that the EU is not helping their country. Only 4% thought the opposite while 8% did not have an opinion. More than two-thirds (67%) of Italians said that they believe that being part of the European Union is a disadvantage for their country.'

The article quotes another article, "Coronavirus Threatens European Unity," by Bill Wirtz, a political commentator based in Luxembourg, which observed:

"As the coronavirus unfolds, Schengen countries are shutting their own borders. Whether or not they do so because they believe that a coordinated European response would be inefficient, or whether they believe that their own voters wouldn't buy it — at this stage it's irrelevant. The mere fact that borders have resurfaced in Europe is a failure for the integrity of the Schengen open borders agreement....
"A coordinated EU response to this crisis does not exist, and as the recommendations fall on deaf ears, Brussels is dealing with a crisis of confidence. There is no union-wide crisis response, coordinated testing or research. Worse than that, the EU institutions are bystanders to a war between countries, which are trying to limit exports of medical supplies in order to keep them for themselves. In times of crisis, the true influence and capacity of the EU has shown, and it is very little.
"As it stands, countries are dealing with a crisis of missing hospital beds, medical equipment, and overall resources. If the virus ever happens to lay lower than it does now, and the conclusion is drawn that the European Union was a powerless bystander in the eye of the storm (which it is), then the Schengen Agreement and open borders in Europe could be dealing with a difficult recovery."

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