The European Union shows all the signs of worsening economic, social and political decline — from tepid economic growth and chronically high unemployment to social unrest and rising political extremism.
This paper reflects on the idealistic roots of early European integration in the wake of two world wars, before exploring how these worthy intentions have long given way to a bureaucratic cadre steeped in etatist doctrines.
At its heart, the EU is an elite-driven project that rejects the primacy of market economics over social welfare models, compounded by a disdain for democracy. Its relentless quest for top-down uniformity ignores what was once Europe’s guiding principle of governance, subsidiarity, which holds that decisions should be taken as close as possible to the people and communities affected.
The original noble purpose of saving Europe from itself has now turned into a self-preservation exercise of saving the elites at the expense of the masses. Yet the EU’s answer to widespread loss of public faith in — if not opposition to — ‘ever closer union’ seems to be ‘even closer union’. The rationale for Europe today is thus arguably not peace but power.