Sunday, May 29, 2005

Solana: every reason you ever needed to reject the EU.

I have to admit, first of all, that Javier Solana has always been, for me, the most impressive of Europe's politicians. This is quite subjective, but based on his charm and courtesy and genuine ease in speaking English- plus his robust role during the Kosovo crisis some years back (as I recall).

So I was in interested when I came across this article entitled 'The Case for Europe' at Real Clear Politics.

It begins with the usual bombast: 'The case for choosing Europe is as strong as ever', to which my response is, as ever, 'not good enough, Mr Barroso, Solana, Delors, Estaing or Prodi'. They are in the same mode now as they were in the eighties: headbanging EU skinheads that think if they just bellow the same slogans again and again it somehow enhances their authority. I have to say I expected better from Solana.

This inauspicious intro is followed by the trademark EU historical butchery when Solana (who I considered educated) says

'More than any other region, Europe experienced the horrors of the 20th century. It was no surprise that after 1945, an exhausted continent was ready to try a radical new idea - building a zone of peace through institutional integration and the voluntary pooling of sovereignty'

You notice for the umpteenpth time that 'Europe' means France and Germany, plus sundry others. You also notice that, in typical Eurocratic fashion, Solana has forgotten his own country's history, since Spain didn't join the European project, then entitled the EEC, until the 1980's. Can I respect a man who wilfully forgets (or deliberately overlooks, for rhetorical purposes) his own background?

Of course he doesn't even mention the division of Europe into Communist East and non-Communist West.

But of course getting history right is secondary for most people, which is why the Euros always play fast and loose with it. Still, people don't like it, and nor do I.

The second thrust to Solana's argument is that bigger is better.

The third thrust is that bigger is even better when speaking with one united voice.

The fourth point is to repeat the previous two points but while emphasising security threats rather than diplomatic opportunities as a reason for desiring a bigger, and more united, Europe.

Perhaps I should make an aside here, in the absence of any real substance to Solana's argument greater than the kind offered to men's libidos by The Sun's Page Three.

I have a number of friends from former communist countries, and among them one is a sociology academic, the kind of person who gets invited to various training courses and fora to learn about and discuss political development. He was invited to one such forum in the 1990's, run by EU-types. He told me that he left the seminar with his head spinning- he'd seen it all before, he told me; it was COMECON.

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