The EU’s ‘black hole’ amid louder tolling bells of discord
The never-fully-accomplished task of institutionally uniting much of Europe is now nearing a relatively well known “commitment” hurdle, as the 27-member bloc struggles against the worst economic crisis in decades due to mounting debt troubles.
Amid its waning voice in current world affairs, the European Union was again brought back to earth last week when the Conservative foreign minister of Euro-skeptic Britain staged a new salvo against the European club’s black hole-like role in the decision-making process.
Labeling the EU a “one-way process, [and] a great machine that sucks up decision-making from national parliaments to the European level until everything is decided by the EU,” William Hague went on to say that the bloc would become “democratically unsustainable” if national wills were not bestowed on the decision-making back.
Britain’s harsh blow to the EU was hardly a surprise for many, as the country has always been somehow “distant” from the bloc, in both financial and political senses. This is despite its desire for a more dominant influence within, amid its eyebrow-raising alliance with the United States. Furthermore, Hague is not the first senior British politician to have recently raised his concerns and doubts about the very existence of the EU.
Despite the overtures of other EU heavyweights - Germany and France in particular - to convince him of “extraordinary measures for extraordinary times,” British Prime Minister David Cameron has appeared defiant against the bitter economic pills, which he thinks do not serve his country’s national interests in the midst of the dire economic situation.
Hague’s warning about the ruling mechanisms of the EU also comes amid fierce debates over the upcoming approval of the controversial EU fiscal budget, due both to the cuts it envisions and also the efforts to integrate the European banking system in the attempt to prevent further crises. These are the two major and disputed issues, at least for now, which the British government has raised its reservations on. They may ultimately lead it to a veto, which will eventually mean more of a headache for the European leaders.
With last week’s message, the British foreign minister, for his country’s part, made it clear that Britain would not be among those to carry the burden of other EU members, and will change the flow of decision-making to its own direction, its own national will, if it sees a risk of being dragged even more into the EU’s economic swirl.
For now, one could hardly read Hague’s message as one of total separation, but it might be seen as another significant sign in the long road that could lead to a parting of the ways for the U.K., when itself and other European countries - such as Belgium and Spain – are faced with challenges of division, with many in Scots, Catalans and Flemish aiming for independence.
In the meantime, the wisdom of Turkey’s long-standing bid for membership will also see more scrutiny, amid the louder tolling bells of discord in the European Union and the diminishing domestic enthusiasm for becoming part of the bloc.