By Ruža TOMAŠIĆ
Every attempt to form a superstate gets to a point where centralisation is inevitable. If you’ve already created a single currency and numerous regulatory bodies and agencies with federal character or introduced many expensive common policies supervised from a supranational level, you can easily come to the conclusion that all that could be much more efficient if it’s run without national safeguards and interests involved.
That’s what has happened to America some centuries ago and it’s now happening to Europe. Growing stronger through unity which will be accomplished by political integration and centralisation, that’s the plan. Unfortunately for the planners, Europe is not America and we don’t live in the 18th-century colonies but in 21st century nation-states.
There’s no argument about the necessity of a common approach to some challenges in a globalised world. Our shared history, faith and morals, our geographical, political and business connections, our closeness through millions of destinies, intertwined regardless of national borders – it’s all self-evident.
We know who we are, we’re well aware of the fact that our continent is the centre of Western civilization. We are Europeans at heart, not by nationality. And we want it to remain that way.
The valid alternative to centralised bureaucratic superstate is not isolation nor anti-European sentiment but common-sense cooperation. Common sense meaning that the EU level should push only those policies and activities which are beneficial to every single Member State and generate additional value.
A strong consensus means nobody would feel out-voted, ignored, silenced or extorted and every Member State could be sure its interests are very well preserved.
Unfortunately the EU institutions have taken a radically different approach, battling for power and influence among themselves and with national governments. So much energy, time and resources is being spent on grabbing power instead of delivering quality policies that make a difference.
During the good times, Brussels often mistakes turning the blind eye with endorsement so when nobody objects to their backroom deals and questionable policies, they misinterpret it as agreement and appreciation. But when the bad times come one can instantly see how much faith do citizens and national governments actually have in the EU bureaucracy. Not much.
The vaccine purchase shambles is yet another sign that the EU is not competent to deal with a real crisis. It lacks true leadership and democratic legitimacy when it comes to hard decisions. In the times of need and danger, nobody wants some distant officials one has never directly voted for to take care of one’s wellbeing. In these hard times people hold their democratic leaders accountable, not some strange bureaucratic structure that exists in a bubble far away.
That being said, not everything with the EU is bad and wrong, it just has to face reality and start acting accordingly. Where it can bring additional value, let it do more, and leave everything else to the Member States.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that the states won’t cooperate on a number of matters which would solely be under their jurisdiction. In decades of empowering the so-called supranational level, the EU institutions, the intergovernmental level has been forgotten.
European cooperation as a whole has been reduced to common policies and Commission initiatives although it is and should be much larger than that. EU nations would most certainly cooperate even without the EU institutions, let alone with them only having their powers reduced.
I find it very important to promote European friendship and partnership through cooperation, not further political integration and centralisation. There’s a whole continent outside the Brussels bubble, a continent that has learned to appreciate peace, free movement and free trade.
Giving the power back to the people instead of conserving it in the Brussels corridors wouldn’t change that. Europe has irretrievably changed throughout recent decades and it can only go back to the darker times if people feel threatened and disenfranchised by the elite.
Cooperation is therefore not only possible but has even more potential without the EU institutions meddling in almost every aspect of our lives. Patriots throughout Europe do not reject this cooperation, they just don’t accept that it’s possible only through rigid supranational political structures and undemocratic processes.
As a Croatian member of the ECR Group in the European Parliament I’m representing those people. People who are not anti-European, just don’t share the federalist dream.
The COVID-crisis will change not only Europe but the whole world. There are more than enough federalist statements and policy ideas in the media these days to correctly assume that COVID-19 will precipitate a new push for ‘more Europe’ – more political integration, more regulation and more bureaucracy.
I wholeheartedly disagree with that agenda and am glad to announce that Croatia will share its view on this topic by hosting ECR’s Europe’s Future event in our nation’s capital Zagreb on February 18. The voice of Croatian conservatives and experts, people holding a different view, will be heard on the European level thanks to the ECR Group in the European Parliament.
The ECR Group in the European Parliament has launched its tour “Europe’s Future: A New Hope” to consider more effective and durable alternatives to EU centralisation. We want to show that a new, middle way can save Europe from the clutches of a federalist ideology; an ideology that risks rolling back all the progress made by sovereign, national democracies working together over many years as equal partners for the common good.
Our next stop is in Zagreb, where a live event will take place on Thursday 18 February 2021 at 19:00 CET. Find more information on our Social Media Channels and website: www.ecrthefuture.eu.
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