Concerns.

Posted by Horatiu Ferchiu on 07/03/13
Tags: , , ,  

We are living interesting times. That is a certainty. But as much as they are interesting they are perilous.

I have spent the better part of this week reading and listening to all sorts of execs and politicians – EU wide, with a larger quota of Romanian politicians and execs since I happen to live here, and I am bombarded with such info.

The EU is under attack – all across the union voices of nationalism are rising. Messages of hate have filled the public space recently. I take this term from the movie “V for Vendetta” – in the movie this line was used on the public television to denominate the actions and messages of the character known as V. But what was once a fictional depiction of a lesser future is slowly turning into everyday live.

Romania and Bulgaria’s admittance in the Schengen Area has caused a lot of ink to be spilled, in Romania at least, and a lot of TV time has been directed at the subject. But what has transpired among these debates is much more worrying to me than the Schengen admittance in itself.

What I noticed was a rebirth of the national discourse, with big words such as national dignity and pride. Whilst the latter can be directed in good directions, the obvious utterance of terms like national dignity worries me. Because it is the herald of bad attitudes, of infatuations with what was once the nationalistic agenda promoted by the national communism of the Ceausescu years. Prevalence of such views in media has also increased. And adding to all this, I’ve started seeing mainstream politicians using stereotypes and foul language at the expense of other MS’s.

I am afraid that the values I uphold will soon become undesirable, and in the not so distant future a cause for concern.

Many have told me that this too shall pass and that in 5 years’ time nothing of this will have survived. History cautions me to be less easygoing on such themes. Ever since the primavera dei popoli such themes and attitudes have always managed to find their way in the public discourse, successfully or not. But they have always been there.

Marie le Pen calls for a referendum in France to decide on staying or leaving the EU. Movimento 5 stelle in Italy advocates for a similar agenda. Extremist factions in Greece have also called for a distancing from the union. There are those in Romania which would like this to also happen here, albeit public support for something like this is not really there. The UK has turned this alienation from the EU into something close to public policy, including the referendum PM David Cameron announced within this decade.

Is the EU falling apart or are MS’s seeing a rebirth of nationalism unrivaled in the past 50 years?

I would call on the second – economic crisis has always brought upon the world a rebirth of rather extreme and intense ideals. The need to put the blame on someone has always been comforted by denominating that someone as someone not indigenous. Whether this turned onto other states or ethnic groups within the national territory is a whole different debate. This time around it was the bankers, but in recent developments this has turned from bankers to the EU.

Which is much more curious – if in the case of bankers & banks you can put the blame on profit quest and banking policies that were indeed put together by a select number of few, in the case of blaming the EU this whole accusation does not stand. And it does not stand because as it is the case today with top level decision making there is nothing imposed, and most decisions are negotiated to the bone. Of course, we need to factor in the local politicians. It’s easier to approve something in Brussels and then come home and claim you we’re bullied into accepting and that this or that measure is actually wrongfully imposed.

But beyond that, what really worries me is public response.

Grooming electors is a continuous process. After one election is won, the next is to be considered, and then the next and so on. Usually most people assume that an elected official will worry about his re-election only a year ahead of elections. But that is most likely not true. Whilst you can change voter base during time in office, no politician ever alienates voters at any time during the mandate. Unless he has no choice in it, or she/he is a responsible politician (haven’t seen too many of those at late).

But if let’s say 4 years in a row you bitch and moan about the EU, tell everybody how the EU is unjustly imposing this or that on the people, disrespect EU legislation and then accuse the EU that it imposes sanctions without cause – what will the people vote after those 4 years I wonder?

And this is quite possible – people are less aware of EU legislation or modus operandi than you might expect. And in some respects it is the fault of the EU administration in part. Because the way information campaigns are funded and directed is pale and unworthy in comparison with the time and press space awarded to a European Council meeting for example.

And in some respects the EU is just not down to earth enough to actually cause dialogue with the average citizen.

I am afraid. I’m afraid for my future. And for the future of my ideals and expectations.

 

7 Responses to Concerns. »»

  1. Comment by Alexandru F. Ghita | 2013/03/07 at 10:15:10

    I will say only this.

    –begin argument–

    Money (in this case the lack of) always has always brought and always will bring out the worst in people – citizen, politician, saint, etc.

    –end argument–

  2. Comment by philipr royle | 2013/03/10 at 18:44:51

    The problem of nationalism is caused by the EU. I am English I do not see why my hard earned tax money should be given as charity to a number of second and almost third world countries that have been allowed to join the Eu just to bolster it’s numbers and give it a tad of credibility. I to read about the EU and I have yet to read something that I could say ‘Yes that’s good, I agree with that’
    I don’t want a Greek person with little or no mandate to have a say in what goes on in my country. That goes for France German and any other country. By the same token I do not see why a British MEP or Eurocrat should have a say in any other EU country.
    I see my country being diminished by the Eu. I see it, if things carry on as they are, as being just another state in the Federal union of European states.
    I an ashamed to say that I voted for the UK to join the EU. If for one second I would have thought it would turn into the leviathan it is today I would have never said yes.
    I find the EU to be a cancer on my country and the sooner we leave the better. It’s obvious that I am anti EU, bur you have to believe me when I say I didn’t start out that way.

  3. Comment by Horatiu Ferchiu | 2013/03/11 at 15:02:00

    Hi Philip,

    I’m going to answer some of the issues you raised in your comment. First and foremost, the tax money situation you talk about is something that already happens, with or without EU. Your national administration does that – takes from richer provinces and gives to the poorer regions in the UK. This type of conflict exists already within the national states of Europe – see Catalonia which claims that it supports more of Spain than it should, or the bickering of northern Italians in what concerns the southern Italians. So I find this argument invalid, because the only problem is not that it is wrong, but that you don’t associate yourself as a fellow citizen with someone from second and almost third world countries you mention. By the way, which would these be? I’m a Romanian national, made no secret about it.

    The Parliamentary conundrum you call upon is the same – you seem to accept that some MP from a different part of the UK has a say on what happens in your region, but you can’t extrapolate that to Europe. That is why the issue is not with you mention in your comment, but with the absence of unity among the European populous.

    That is in fact the main problem – if we would all be comfortable with each other, than this would be non issues – that is what we lack – unity.

  4. Comment by philipr royle | 2013/03/11 at 15:52:38

    Dear Horatiu, Thank you for reading my post and replying. I fear that we represent the two poles of the EU problem. You, it seems, are a Europhile. One that sees only the benefits of the EU and possibly a Federal state of Europe?
    I however represent the growing number of sceptics that would see at least a curtailing of powers from Brussels back to sovereign nations. And at best a complete dismantlement of the EU.
    In respect to tax. I have no problem in my own people benefiting from my tax. I do however have a problem in giving my tax to countries that I have no interest in. Why should I subsidise your country? Why should I subsidise any other of the other EU countries 19 of them I think that take more out than they put in? Am I and my country a charity?
    The Eu is being kept afloat by 7(?) countries. Germany, France, Italy, the UK, to name but four.
    I am a citizen of the UK not Europe

    Let me put it this way. I have a friend that works in the UK for a medium size UK company. They did all their work in the UK and employed British citizens. Then along came your EU. They paid the company owners to move their processing plant from the UK to an Eastern European country. The British people employed were made redundant and the UK factory closed. In one swoop the glorious EU made just under 100 of my fellow citizens unemployed and closed a factory. And cost the British tax payers whilst they pay the unemployed unemployment benefit. Lose, lose, lose!
    Now that factory in Eastern Europe employes people who pay tax to their own government and has a nice new factory. And still they get EU aid which I pay for. Win, win ,win!
    Do you think that’s right?

    The parliamentary problem. I don’t think you understand, British Parliament over British people. I do not want to be governed by some MEP’s French, Italian, Greek or any other country.
    What I think is that you and your country are drinking from the rich wine cup of the EU. Just like Spain, Greece, Portugal and others did years ago. But remember, once you have finished drinking you have to pay the bill. Be prepared it’s going to be a very big bill.

  5. Comment by Horatiu Ferchiu | 2013/03/11 at 16:19:12

    Dear Philip,

    Yes, I am a promoter of Federalized Europe – it has nothing to do with my location or birth citizenship, it has to do with my views on further development of the EU. I agree however that the current EU administrative system is not good, nor showing signs of improving. I advertise for more citizen rights, particularly when it comes to electing our leaders – something we don’t really get to do at EU level. I am strategist by trade, so I followed upon what you advertise, and no matter how i built this scenario, it did not come out positive.

    You say that you are a citizen of the UK not Europe. I have quite the different approach – I am an European citizen, from Romania. I made the necessary explanations in my first post on this blog – here.

    I don’t advertise for a federated Europe tomorrow – I think it will take up to 100 years to reach that ultimate goal. And Alex was right in his first comment on this post – it’s all about the money. I will agree with you that seeing tax flow from the UK is being sent to the east might be frustrating. And I also acknowledge that there is nothing I would say that would make you change your mind, since my arguments would be something you have dismissed from the start.

    We are well aware of the fact that the balance between benefits and contributions will change, and that as time passes we will increase our participation in the general budget. But given this system where we strive for balance between regions and countries in term of development and quality of live, as the stepping stone to build future prosperity on, these types on inequalities are a part of the game – although it might sound as rubbish to you, the best way to see a return to the money you now invest is by supporting development of the less fortunate of EU countries while at the same time, and this has been rather poorly done so far, enforcing that expenses are justified and legit.

    So for the moment I think we shall have to agree to disagree. My only hope is that with time we will achieve a better future, together.

  6. Comment by Alexandru F. Ghita | 2013/03/11 at 17:37:34

    @philipr royle

    Sorry… I don’t see the fault of the EU in this argument… So the EU is to blame because the Eastern European countries offered cheaper labour, which was more attractive for a UK company?! Maybe instead of blaming the EU for that, you should question the ethics of UK businesses. There is such a thing called responsible development you know…

    And now, let’s be real… if you buy milk with 2.50 at store A, and store B opens and sells the same milk at 2.35, where are you going to buy it from? Extrapolate by about 10-15 million quid and see the difference in the two investment opportunities. It’s called capitalism. Nonetheless, good business will survive no matter what, it only depends if store A will offer me an additional advantage to remain a client… So maybe the UK was unable to retain it’s business, did you ever thought about it like this?

    You want out of the EU? I say go for it! But do not expect that to be an easy transition. We live in a globalized market economy, in which a bank in the US crashed the whole economy. I can’t believe that you would be so arrogant to believe that the UK is immune to the laws of economics, and you would come out of the EU on top of all.

  7. Comment by philipr royle | 2013/03/11 at 19:29:55

    Dear Alexandru,
    Thank you for reading and replying to my post. The ethics of the British business man were not wasted on me and I agree he should share some of my criticism What I would say though is, to use your example about he milk. The shop selling milk at 2.35 is fine. But when it’s allowed to do so only because of an unfair subsidy given to it by the EU ? is that right, in a fair and equal Europe?

    I don’t know what country your from, but put your self in my place. If the EU wasn’t there there would be no problem about the milk. If you were the shop owner that went out of business because of this EU unfairness what would you say?

    With the greatest respect to all on this Blog I can see I am the only eurosceptic. I would say that the EU made me this way. I unfortunately read quite a bit and the more I read about the EU the more it disturbs me. But there again I belong to a nation that’s putting more into the EU than most and I find it hard to see any benefits. If any of the Europhiles can give me any example I would be grateful. I know my country gets quite a lot of criticism over the EU. But what is better to question or to be lead like sheep?


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