Are you talking to me?

The attacks on Brussels are designed to get national governments off the hook. When people present their countries as a victims of EU decisions, they’re trying to avoid having they’re national institutions held to account for what has happened. Europhiles and Eurosceptics behave no different from each other, they are driven by very similar impulses, by similar anti-democratic instincts, both these groups seem keen to absolve national governments of responsibility, and nation states of responsibility for political and economic chaos. The Europhile does it by kowtowing to Brussels, calling upon EU institutions to do more to save Europe, and the Eurosceptic does it by blaming the EU for everything going wrong, by sucking decency from every corner of Europe.

The EU is better understood as the end product of the death of democracy in Europe, a creation of national governments that had given up on the ideas of sovereignty and democracy. The real driving force behind the EU over the past 40 years was the cowardice and opportunism of national governments. National political leaders who felt increasingly estranged from their own populations fashioned a post-sovereign institution that they could effectively hide in, because the more national governments insulated themselves from their publics, the more incapable they became of exercising real leadership, the more they toke refuge in EU institutions, the more out-of-touch and irrational they became. The dangers of self-insulation can be seen even more dramatically in the Euro-crisis.

No politician in Europe has the first clue how to deal with the crisis, precisely because every politician in Europe has spent decades avoiding making serious decisions, avoiding taking responsibility, avoiding being leaders. The schizophrenic attitude towards the EU can be summed up by the infantile attitude treating some polititians like Angela Merkel, depicted as an hitleresque witch who has wrecked Europe, or Alexis Tsipras as the dazzled Stalinist without the facial hair. Both held up as potential saviours or destroyers of Europe.


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