When I was on the Liberty in Exile podcast last week (see archive here), host Yaël Ossowski mentioned an article on the website of the European Commission detailing the “next steps for a closer economic union”. It goes on to describe that EU “leaders” want to build a “banking union, fiscal union, economic union and political union”. In plain English, the power-hungry bureaucrats in Brussels want more power. No surprises so far.
However, in order to achieve the aforementioned the European Commission has announced proposals including an unprecedented plan for “a common budget for eurozone countries” that “would be available to help those whose economies are under pressure”. The rationale for the plan is that since the policies pursued by one member state can (and often do) have such an impact on other member states further “harmonization” is necessary. After all, we’re all in this together and we just can’t have countries furthering their own interests because that would be chaos! What we need is an increased sense of European “solidarity” if this grand experiment is to succeed.
I have noted before that this experiment has never enjoyed the widespread support of the peoples of Europe. In that light it is important to point out how such carefully selected words as “harmonization” and “solidarity” are used to put a positive spin on the actions of the collectivist European Soviet Union, which is really all about the incessant centralization of power. It is Brussels’ way of dressing up its nefarious plans in rosy language to make it palatable for the masses.
Yet more and more people are starting to have serious doubts as to the feasibility of this system. Arguably one of the major catalysts of this increasing awareness and criticism has been the sovereign debt crisis and subsequent bailouts in the eurozone. It seems as though the answer from the central bureaucracy is more integration and more secrecy.
One of the new proposals elaborates on the Commission’s emphasis on national plans for “any major economic policy reforms” to be “assessed and discussed at EU level before final decisions are taken at the national level”. This is the classical sort of vague wording one can expect to find skillfully woven into (soon-to-be) legislation emanating from a central bureaucracy, but what it really boils down to is further erosion of national sovereignty. In Brussels this is called “ex ante coordination”. The entire proposal can basically be summarized as follows: “you need to get permission from us”. And what do we call somebody or something whose permission we need to do what we have set out to do? A ruler; a leader; a lord; a commander; a controller. Control is the name of the EU game.
Coming back to the secrecy though; if eurozone countries had a common budget available for economies under pressure, would we even be allowed to know about the next? The other day IMF director Christine Lagarde dismissed concerns about Slovenia being next in line to receive a bailout. If there is any truth to the old adage of “never believe anything until it is officially denied”, the European Commission might well have a new excuse for more centralized control thrown right into its lap. Never let a good crisis go to waste.
Having a common budget from which member states can draw whatever funds they need without the word “bailout” being all over the news would surely be preferable to what we have seen so far from the perspective of a controller-in-chief. In that scenario the eurocrats could pick and choose which countries and economic crises to exploit and which to cover up to further the agenda. Though all of this is obviously still speculation at the moment, to think that in this age of information, controlling the flow of that information would not be a major priority for any government (whether national or supranational) would be very naive indeed.
We shall keep our eyes open and our ears to the ground.