UK likely to vote to remain but fundamental flaws in the EU concept are now exposed

I see the BREXIT vote as an opportunity to correct the glaring flaws in the EU concept of a Holy European Empire. Whether BREXIT wins or not in this vote, the EU will no longer be able to just ignore the disconnect between the concept and the bulk of the voters/tax payers in the EU. Of course if BREXIT does not win, it will slow down the inevitable reforms that the EU must introduce.

I suspect that finally the fear of leaving will govern and that BREXIT will lose by a small margin. The EU politicians and bureaucrats will probably tout this as a win for the EU concept but, in fact, they will have to prepare for drawing back the various EU encroachments into the territory of national sovereignty.

NYT: 

There is no argument that the European Union is a flawed institution. Its dysfunction has been on display in its fitful handling of the Greek debt and refugee crises, its bureaucracy is pathetically slow to recognize or correct its failings and it often acts like an out-of-touch and undemocratic elite. Part of that is the inherent inefficiency of an institution of 28 member states with big differences in size, wealth and democratic traditions, and which participate to different degrees in the single currency and border-free zone.

Yet the E.U. is an extraordinary achievement, a voluntary union of nations whose histories include some of the bloodiest wars ever waged. However flawed the bloc, it has replaced blood feuds with a single market, shared values, free travel and labor mobility. Britain has always been something of an outlier in the E.U., joining what began as the European Coal and Steel Community two decades after it was formed and declining to participate in either the euro currency or the borderless Schengen zone. Yet there is no question that Britain has benefited from membership, both economically and as a strong voice in shaping E.U. policy.

The euroskepticism that has led to the British referendum, and that forms a strong component of the right-wing nationalist parties on the rise in many European countries, is not about efficiency or history. It is about ill-defined frustration with the complexities of a changing world and a changing Europe, a loss of faith in mainstream politicians and experts, a nostalgia for a past when nations decided their own fates and kept foreigners out. To those who hold these views, the European Union is the epitome of all that has gone wrong, an alien bureaucracy deaf to the traditions and values of its members. Not surprisingly, Mr. Trump and the French politician Marine Le Pen both favor Brexit.

I see parallels in the “anti-establishment” views embodied in euroscepticism and in the “anti-establishment” views of the Trump supporters in the US. In both cases the revolt is a reaction to what is perceived as the over-weening arrogance of a political, liberal, elite who insist on defining political correctness and on telling the electorate that they know best what is good for them.

In 2016, both in the EU and in the US, it is immigration and the flawed concept of multiculturalism which is dominating. It is occupying this ground which may well determine many of the elections. In fact the rise of the right-wing nationalists in Europe is the pendulum swinging back from 3 decades of self-righteous, social democratic dogma. Europe has moved further left in the 3 decades after communism fell than while communism was still an acceptable philosophy. But I note that some of the right-wing parties (Sweden, Denmark, France …. ) are losing some support as more of the centrist parties adopt more restrictive measures on immigration and take away this ground from the right. Take Trump’s immigration ground away from him and he will not stand a chance.


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