Escaping the Epitome of Peace: Brexit Means Brexit
After the Leave campaigners’ victory in the British EU membership referendum on the 23rd June 2016, many young EU nationals and British citizens opposing the referendum results live in fear of being deported and being stripped of their right to study, live and work in Great Britain or the European Union, they took for granted for such a long time. Although giving back to their local communities and the countries they now quite rightfully call their new home, the countries in which they have established a new national identity, that can no longer be expressed through any passport now these people, who subconsciously swore loyalty to the UK or an EU member state, contributing to the common good, working with charity organizations like citizen advice services all over the EU are being dealt with as bargaining chips in one of the greatest egocentric political games for power and influence of the 21st century.
Unbelievable, indeed, it is, how in our digital age, information and thereby reality itself is being distorted by bold claims, promises, that cannot be fulfilled, as well as straight outward lies told to the people.
A “kind of United States of Europe”
The EU gained influence and political power proving to be the only way to ensure peace, economic and political growth, stability and a free labor market. Europe has never stood more united than today, as a bond of nations, celebrating both, their differences and similarities. With its historical development during the late 1900s, the very first time in world history a stable international epitome of peace emerged from a war shattered Europe of the 20th century. Tired of the everlasting battle for territory, the European society, instead of fighting, decided to form bonds of friendship, that have grown even stronger since the people have been given the possibility to vote for their EU legislators in 2014.
The European Union is part of our lives in many ways, sometimes though we persistently tend to ignore the tiny, but clearly visible bits of proof of its existence. Many perks the EU has to offer to its member nations, may not be “available” to the UK, very soon as a consequence of their decision to break away from the Union.
We must build a kind of United States of Europe. In this way only will hundreds of millions of toilers be able to regain the simple joys and hopes which make life worth living.— Winston Churchill
Although the European Union has ultimately proven itself, not all members of the European political elite like the idea of a version of Europe Churchill suggested by making the proposal to form a "sort of United States of Europe". A variety of reasons support their fears and doubts.
Putting ambitions aside, no matter how unimportant a member is to the European Union, no other member has the right to speak for any other member country. Recently though, it happened quite often. Germany as a leading member and one of the most important financial contributors to the EU repeatedly violated this unwritten rule putting the EU in jeopardy
Money equals political plus judicial power
Written down, though, is the substantial amount of common laws in the private and public law sector called regulations and directives. Regulations are legal acts meant to become enforceable immediately by all member countries, while directives must be implemented into the framework of laws of member countries which are directly or, usually, indirectly addressed by the new law. Members of this elite “club” must apply and implement laws created by the institutions of the EU. If a member state does not abide by the rules, the nation in question is likely to be punished, either by a fine, or, by temporary sanctions placed upon it. Latter is almost always valid for (almost) all member states, just because there have always been exceptions to rules and partly also because there is a rule constituting that rules are meant to be broken.
In a time in which money really makes the world go ´round, it is not possible to punish or penalize a state, that is one of the largest providers of financial input to the EU. Prosecuting such a state, especially one that is central to maintaining the operation of the European Union, would only worsen the already heavily strained situation in the EU, so why even bother? Money now, just as it has always been, appears to be the only political power driving the EU, so where are those democratic, European values everybody is talking about?
Without having the right to meddle in, Germany, operating in the name of all EU citizens unleashed a cascade of events, that might slowly destroy the union. As a result, the UK, as the very first nation to leave the EU, has already ultimately decided to go through with Brexit and this may be just the beginning. Depending on future developments and the work of EU legislators, other countries may slowly follow and the European Union “experiment” may be already deemed to fail.
Can we really do this?
The central issue: Money
Loans are today being distributed by the union to those, who cannot cope with their poor economic situation under special conditions. Although the idea of helping member nations is not in itself intentionally bad or evil, but the obligation and strain to pay back their debts to the European community according to prearranged plans they are being placed under creates exactly the opposite of gratefulness for being helped by by other members of the European Union. Low salaries and constant pension shortenings make those unfortunate poor citizens of low-income states move to more prosperous member countries, paying taxes there, but not to their own country, questioning the federalists’ approach to the EU as a world power even stronger.
To cope with the situation poor EU members are placed in, and them being forced to swiftly “reset” their awful credit scores, the inevitable need for shortening social benefits and pensions appears to be the only apparent solution to accomplish the requirements set out by the EU, making their peoples’ lives miserable and these lesser off nations gradually poorer and poorer. Additionally to the pressure surrounding general traditional loan agreements, new agreements have been put in place to semi-voluntarily finance certain questionable programs, the consequences of which remain unknown to or ignored by the EU3.
Not only Greece, Portugal, Ireland, and Cyprus are being extorted, but, as the Brexit has shown, the UK too, mostly to statute an example, a precedent, to discourage other countries to, reversing Friedrich Schiller’s words, steal themselves weepingly away from this union, making it less tempting and attractive to rebellious states.
The socialists’ democratic approach or the science of the lesser evil
The recent past has shown, on multiple occasions, that some EU member states appear to represent the opposite to the only reasonable social democratic approach to today’s crisis. The idea of opening those grand gates of freedom and security to everybody fleeing wars and repression shows the true European spirit, a spirit that embodies all European values. However, uncontrollable mass migration, as one of the main reasons of those countries fear of alien cultures, largely supported by recent terrorist attacks, provoke this undesired racist attitude towards external migration to the EU, that suddenly, completely unexpectedly emerged out of nowhere. It seems and in the current state really is just impossible to background-check each person applying for asylum! Authorities are literally swamped by this massive overflow of arriving asylum seekers and the increasing rate of illegal migration. A shortage of manpower and this rigid but porous bureaucratic code of conduct practiced by EU member states are probably the only actual issues standing in the way of a liberal, social, fair and democratic Europe, that we are so desperately longing for today.
Having had the chance to interview UKIP leader Nigel Farage (MEP) at the European Parliament in Strasbourg (France), where national borders seem obsolete, a relic of a war driven Europe of the mid 1900s, whose wife, Kirsten Mehr, to whom he is married since 1999, ironically, a German-born national, in 2014, I got to know his real attitude towards the membership of the UK to the European Union. Call him impulsive, rude, unfit, but Mr. Farage is a true politician. Personal relations and attitudes fade in front of the peoples will, his electorate, the people who believe in him and their values. Just the fact of him evading some of my questions by a short “no comment” spoke for itself.
However, venturous, brave, genuinely passionate about and devoted to his country, those are the fitting characteristics that may be used to describe the great, infamous oppositional leader, a man who, without any glimpse of a doubt may no longer, and, from my perspective, could never have been called an opportunist or the fool and laughing stock he has been made of for such a long time by some different minded MEPs. He and his party have made the impossible possible. Mesmerized by the breath taking worldwide, brilliantly organized, BBC broadcasted battle for UK's independence from the European Union on the night from the 23rd to the 24th of June 2016, my feelings were and still are heavily mixed. Admiring the decisiveness of this proud nation, a union with experience, that has once ruled an empire with colonies all over the world, a union I myself am proud of having the unique opportunity to study in, to me, the author existential fears are relative and, in my opinion, not the right feeling to engulf in when dreams are being crushed by the cruel, cold-hearted reality of life.
On a subjective level I may greatly oppose this, to me seemingly absurd decision or even Mr. Farage party's ideology, as well as ignore the regular annoying, but in some way informative, right-wing "breakfast chatter" of the UKIP MEPs and their assistants held at the neighbouring table(s) at the Winston Churchill restaurant in Strasbourg, but, just as being subjective by voicing your opinion is a struggle for most, being objective cold and rational in such cases may be even harder if one's future is at stake. This is the only, the true struggle politicians have to face on a daily basis. Nigel Farage may seem self-confident and in control, but he is neither. He most certainly is fighting a fight he cannot win, although he will probably never admit to it.
For people attempting a place bound career, like English and Welsh law students, planning to work in the legal profession, ensuring legal compliance on an international level by becoming a British solicitor at law, planning to make a change, to help “reform” the EU, but undoubtedly to many others as well, this nightmare is not a castle in the sky any more, but crude reality.
Is it, living in this new era, in this new century, ignorant or contemporarily wise to disregard our ancestors’ choices who critically, but faithfully strived for the ultimate and final peace on our continent and beyond, or is it just human nature to wholly question, to provoke, to tread down and to start anew, where something meaningful has already been put in place? Have Europeans, particularly Germans, not learned their lesson yet, or has the lesson never been taught? Those are questions I, the author, a young European citizen, as a believer in the European idea, ask myself over and over, again and again with every passing day, overlooking the events as a true contemporary witness.
I am not alone and these questions are not supposed to be answered by just one person, but by all the citizens of the EU. Isn’t this union’s ideal all about democratic values? Aren`t laws meant to be adapted to the peoples' will, as they have been for centuries? The citizens of the European Union should, no, must have a say. I am not suggesting a meaningless referendum, but a “kind of” democratic, just, political tribunal held in the name of all EU citizens to create a new precedent in European history. That is most certainly their, for us, the citizens of the Europe, our right.
© 2017 Peter Breier