The Logic of EU Growth

You can check out any time you like,
But you can never leave.  (Eagles. Hotel California)

As I remarked a day or two back, I’m currently reading The Great Deception, and I’ve been thinking about one passage early in the book, which sets out the rationale of what was firstly to be the European Coal and Steel Community, and was to grow to become the EU:

Thus, Loucheur came to reflect, industrial organisation was the key to waging war. From this he developed the idea that, if key industries from different countries, above all their coal and steel industries on which modern warfare so much depended, were removed from the control of individual nations and vested in a ‘higher authority’, this might be the means of preserving peace. (p. 7)

A day or two back I argued that, while this might have been true in 1914, it was no longer true today. War has moved on, and we now have nuclear weapons and ‘smart’ weapons, neither of which require large coal and steel industries. The original rationale for the European Coal and Steel Community has simply melted away.

Nevertheless, today I’ve been thinking about the ‘higher authority’ bit of the above passage. And I began by wondering where one would find such a ‘higher authority’ – until it occurred me that when some company of men forms a military unit, they will usually elect one of their number to be their captain, and other men to other posts: authority (in the form of the captain) is created ex nihilo when people agree that such an authority is needed, and consent to abide by its decisions. So also with the EU/ECSC. Once the nations of Europe had agreed to create this ‘higher authority’, it came into existence, and started its work. That the place where this happened was Brussels was a bit of an accident.

Initially, one may suppose, the ‘competence’ of the ECSC extended only to the iron and steel industries of member states. But gradually further ‘competences’ were added, much as if the captain of the company was also given the job of blowing the bugle at dawn, and reading prayers, and so on. And this was what happened with the EU/ECSC. It gradually acquired more and more ‘competences’.

But the catch in all this was that once a new ‘competence’ was acquired by the EU/ECSC, it remained one of its competences thereafter, unless it revoked that competence itself. Once the company of men had given their captain the ‘competence’ to blow the bugle, they could not override his ‘higher authority’ and ask him to stop doing so: only he could make that decision himself.

And so also with the EU, which set out to gather and retain as many competences as possible from as many members as possible. And this was fully the intention of Jean Monnet that it should do this, and grow to become a European government, by a process of engrénage.

‘Our Community is not a coal and steel producers association. It is the beginning of Europe.’ Jean Monnet.

And in this manner it slowly grew for the next 50 years, gradually sucking in more and more competences, and more and more member states, and in the process building larger and larger offices in Brussels to house more and more staff.

There was a remorseless logic to it. The EU would slowly get bigger and bigger, and gradually suck all the competences of the nations of Europe into itself. And as it did so it inevitably became a centre of growing political power. Ambitious politicians began to aim to join its inner Council and Commission, not just for its power and its perks, but also its freedom from political interference. After all, that was the whole point of becoming a ‘higher authority’. Mere sovereign states might be subject to the whims of electorates, but the ‘higher authority’ of the EU stood above such mundane concerns.

It might also be remarked that, if the ECSC was designed to prevent war between France and Germany, the EU that grew out of it was also preventative in many other respects. The mounting numbers of rules and regulations that it generated were intended to prevent not just war, but also food poisoning and industrial accidents and any number of other mishaps. All of which made it a natural ally and meeting ground for practitioners of preventative medicine – such as Tobacco Control. Shielded behind its ‘higher authority’, they could together propose and enact a variety of tobacco control measures. After all, if the numbers of people killed by active and passive smoking every year rivals the casualties of WW1, it clearly fell within the competence of an organisation dedicated to preventing such a catastrophe ever being repeated.

But if the primary purpose of the EU is to prevent things from happening, it might be suggested that it is likely to end up  preventing anything from happening. The tidal wave of rules and regulations coming out of Brussels is asphyxiating the European economy, and European democracy, and European community.

Nor is it ever likely that the EU can be made any more democratic than it is. It is what it has become because it is a ‘higher authority’ beyond the reach of meddling politicians and populists. To allow them in now would be to undermine the entire rationale of the EU, and invalidate its status as a ‘higher authority’.

At present, most of the arguments in favour of the EU focus on the purely economic benefits of EU membership, and ignore the political disadvantages. But politics and economics cannot be decoupled. The EU’s ‘higher authority’ has generated multiple adverse economic effects (for example with its myriad stifling and hobbling rules and regulations) which mean that its present economic downturn is likely to only deepen. Furthermore, it might be suggested that the EU’s many ‘competences’ might better be regarded as ‘incompetences’ – such as the ill-conceived euro. Not only are there few political benefits in membership, but there are also precious few economic benefits either.

There is a relentless logic to what is happening. And it is a logic which would appear to lead to the eventual disintegration of the EU, either as one country after another breaks away and deregulates their over-regulated economies and recovers their political sovereignty, or as the EU keeps on growing and becomes ever more tyrannical – perhaps assisted by its own army -, and the increasingly impoverished and desperate peoples inside it begin fighting to escape its grip, or to overthrow it.

About Frank Davis

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28 Responses to The Logic of EU Growth

  1. harleyrider1978 says:

    Dereliction of duty first comes to mind,followed by a general court marshall. We could even make a case of High Treason.

  2. junican says:

    I would like the EU if it was a slow, slow integration of cultures. It is unbelievable that it has become an authoritarian super-state. How did that come about, and why are UK politicians not shouting about it? Could it be that they do not understand? It is a fearful possibility that they DO understand and want to be part of the totalitarian regime.
    Is that not an awful thought?
    The EU situation MUST produce WAR. But the WAR will not be violent in the sense of armies, unless the food supply collapses. The WAR will be between EuroZealots and Big Business. The ordinary people will be subdued by distractions such as Tobacco Control.
    If it was possible to take THE MONEY out of it, the situation would become clear.

  3. Fredrik Eich says:

    Good new sfor a change.

    People smoke cigarettes in public in Mali to celebrate ousting of anti-smoking exteremists.
    About a minute in:

    http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid601325122001?bckey=AQ~~,AAAAAEabvr4~,Wtd2HT-p_Vh4qBcIZDrvZlvNCU8nxccG&bctid=2096260396001

    • Frank Davis says:

      They didn’t actually show anyone smoking though. Channel 4 didn’t want to send the wrong message, of course.

    • beobrigitte says:

      Very interesting!!! The population in Mali is celebrating by smoking openly as in the from the Jihadists occupied areas smoking was FORBIDDEN. Cigarettes were previously sold under the counter and people found smoking were severely punished. (Sounds frighteningly familiar to me)

      It looks like, for the time being, the people of Mali enjoy greater freedom than we do. Soon Mali will encounter a new invasion, that of the anti-smokers.

  4. George Speller says:

    You mean . . . like a black hole?

    • Frank Davis says:

      Yes. And in fact I almost used that analogy.

    • Frank Davis says:

      This passage from eureferendum.com by Richard North explains it:

      One of the most sacred principles of the European Union is the monopoly of the right of proposal afforded to the Commission. By this means, no law can be removed from the acquis communautaire without the agreement of the Commission, as law can only be repealed or amended by another law. Thus, lawmaking becomes a ratchet. Once power over an issue is assumed by the Commission, it is never returned.

      The reason for this is simple. The EU is not primarily (or at all) a trading body. It is a supranational organisation devoted to securing political union, with the chosen modus of using economic integration as a means of achieving political integration. Thus, the one-way flow of power is neither accidental nor negotiable. It is the very essence of the European Union.

      On this basis, the EU cannot and will not breach the principle of irreversibility. To do so would prejudice the very nature of the European Union, and comprise an existential threat. Negotiations aimed at achieving this end cannot possibly succeed.

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        Frank and elsewhere in the world lmao: Ive google translated the following

        Resistance of smokers will not stop. This was announced at a press conference Andrew Slabakov in BTA regarding the establishment of a new civic organization “The National Association of Free”

        http://news.ibox.bg/news/id_277402337

        Resistance of smokers will not stop. This was announced at a press conference Andrew Slabakov in BTA regarding the establishment of a new civic organization “The National Association of Free” (U.S.).

        He said the purpose of the Association is to work against the laws that are written against Bulgarian citizens. Slabakov said that the U.S. will deal with football hooliganism Law and the Law on DHC, but at first will pay attention to the total ban on smoking in public places.

        “Act smokers zorlem makes people criminals” was explicit Slabakov and added that the main problem is not adult smokers in the absence of prevention among young people under 18.

        Slabakov promised that the U.S. will conduct a campaign in schools in Sofia because it is effectively the children to explain the dangers of smoking tobacco only.

        Representatives of the new association claimed that the law is extremely hypocritical, because this year’s budget provides nearly 72 million lev to subsidize tobacco production and the entry into force of the ban, the Treasury received another 300 million Excise duty on cigarettes. Slabakov offer all funds from excise taxes on cigarettes to automatically invest in health care.

        According to Djoko Rosich decline in the statistics of quantities consumed tobacco products is not due to regulation and that in the winter the days are 5 hours shorter and naturally people to smoke less.

        “Gentlemen, this is a disgrace – Bulgarians Bulgarian spy,” he said on the occasion of the volunteer movement “Bulgaria without smoke” lurking on smoking in restaurants and signals of health inspectors.

        The new Civic Association members and doctors who did not fail to note that from a medical standpoint alcoholic products are far more harmful than cigarettes. According to them, is understandable and even laudable from a professional point of view, the position of Health Minister Desislava Atanasova, but Economic Commission had to decide to lift the ban, because now our country is losing millions of dollars.

        Atanas Yankulov proudly announced that it is now a non-smoker, but willing to do everything possible to have a regular smoker’s rights. It was clear that after the introduction of the ban no one has stopped smoking, and people simply stopped attending mass.

        A representative of the restaurant industry recalled that in 2010, all rooms are separate smoking and regulation of this division was directly from the European Union and is scheduled to enter into force only in 2014
        “Law of the total ban has nothing to do with Europe. Again we were a large Catholic pope, “said restaurateur.

        Problem with the smoking ban and the reported association of football fans. President Helen Vatashki said the stadium should be room for all and assumed that during a football game health inspectors will be welcomed “the sword.”

        From U.S. promised that on Feb. 1 at 15.30 hours there will be another rally in front of the National Assembly, which will collect all unhappy with the new restrictive law.
        “On February 2, we can not do it because then parliament is a celebration,” stated Slabakov.

        • nisakiman says:

          Again we were a large Catholic pope,..

          Heh! I love Google translate! It throws up some real gems!

        • beobrigitte says:

          This Google translate gem made me laugh:
          Problem with the smoking ban and the reported association of football fans. President Helen Vatashki said the stadium should be room for all and assumed that during a football game health inspectors will be welcomed “the sword.”

          Isn’t “the sword” a little harsh? How about a gang of Belgian bikers? (I remember them doing a rather splendid job…)

        • harleyrider1978 says:

          Inspector smoking ban stripped naked in Belgium

          — JULI 3, 2012

          In the Belgian village Sivry Rance an inspector of the Department of Health was attacked by the customers of the Café de la poste and stripped naked . The man was controling the ban on smoking in bars.

          Albert D. (53) was, along with thirty other colleagues, responsible for the control of the entire Belgian territory. His inspection was unannounced and happened as always on a random list of catering businesses.

          Cafe de la Poste in the center of the village serves a daily special at noon but in the evening is frequented by a slightly rougher clientele: mostly members of the local Hell’s Angels. According to eyewitnesses, the inspector was stripped to his pants. Personal belongings were tossed way back in the barroom supported by some intense cheering.

          Afterwards the man was dropped in the forest and could find shelter in an old gamekeeper’s house , dressed in an old horse blanket, he managed to reach the local police station . The public prosecutor of Charleroi condammed this aggression and intimidation of a public official. The prosecution asks anyone who witnessed the incident to contact the police .

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        The Hells Angels created the best smoking story of 2012 I do believe.

  5. johnnyrvf says:

    Over the last 5 thousand years or so each Empire has existed for less time than the one before, as the E.U. becomes a socialist state, it’s so called authority will be crushed under now rapidly changing global financial circumstances, the Eurocrats want to subdue the democracies without bloodshed, when the 1st bullet is fired by those who who take a stand, where is the pan european army to subdue the populace? I remember a conversation with a tank driver who was 18 in 1968 waiting with his battalion outside of Paris for the order to quell the riots, he said he had a great dread to shoot and kill his fellow citizens, if armed surrection comes, the E.U. will fall faster than a house of cards.

  6. nisakiman says:

    I just came across this blogpost “In Praise of Cigarettes” written by a guy called Sam Rocha. It’s a really nice piece.

    “I praise cigarettes because smoking them increases my sense of vitality: not through nicotine or juvenile rebellion, but through a concrete act of hope, fearlessness, and folly in a disenchanted age of temerity, despair, and sycophantic safety.”

    Lovely.

  7. harleyrider1978 says:

    Every country in the EU has already robbed their pension funds to my knowledge and replaced it with IOU early on especially GREECE,ITALY,SPAIN and Portugal ans now the US!

    US taps pension fund to avoid passing debt limit

    Geithner says gov’t will borrow from federal employee pension fund to avoid passing debt limit

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says the government has begun borrowing from the federal employee pension fund to keep operating without surpassing its debt limit.

    Geithner says in a letter to congressional leaders that the move will free up $156 billion in borrowing authority while Congress debates increasing the $16.4 trillion debt limit.

    The government reached its borrowing limit on Dec. 31, but began using bookkeeping maneuvers to keep from surpassing it. Geithner has told congressional leaders that Treasury expects to exhaust those measures by mid-February to early March.

    The latest action has been taken by other Treasury secretaries and will not put in jeopardy any monthly pension payments. Geithner said he will replace the funds removed from the pension account after the borrowing limit is raised.

    http://news.yahoo.com/us-taps-pension-fund-avoid-211937220.html;_ylt=AgUYXQq68cKrsTnEE8CRC1_Nt.d_;_ylu=X3oDMTVxZ2ltZHExBGNjb2RlA2dtcHRvcDEwMDBwb29sd2lraXVwcmVzdARtaXQDQXJ0aWNsZSBNaXhlZCBMaXN0IE5ld3MgZm9yIFlvdSB3aXRoIE1vcmUgTGluawRwa2cDNDU2NTg1MGYtNWIxYi0zYmU1LTlmMmYtYTUzNDdmZDkzNGU5BHBvcwMxBHNlYwNuZXdzX2Zvcl95b3UEdmVyA2VkZDZlNjgzLTVmODEtMTFlMi05YWRlLWIwN2I3MzVlMDRiZA–;_ylg=X3oDMTE2Z2ppM3RwBGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDBHBzdGNhdAMEcHQD;_ylv=3

  8. johnnyrvf says:

    How much more thieving will the people of the U.S.A. accept ( or rather roll over and stick their asses in the air ) before they do something? over in Europe people are beginning to wake up, however in Spain the majority believe the U.K. is O.K., except it’s debt to G.D.P. levels are the same as the Veimar Republic just before herr Hitler was legaly voted in………and all the wnile the proles watch X-Factor and munch burgers whilst Obama takes citizens rights away by decree.

  9. harleyrider1978 says:

    Seems to be areas labelled gun free zones are busier than a gun range! Perhaps they should take down the signs. ZERO tolerance isn’t working out so well.

  10. Frank Davis says:

    AEP

    The march towards fiscal union (overtly, or by ECB stealth) strips elected parliaments of the final control over tax and spending. It thus eviscerates democracy. The Project breaks the back of historic nation states that are the only real defence of liberal representative government.

    So one has to ask, what is the euro for? Why is it self-evidently a positive public good for the peoples of Europe?

    Why sacrifice the lifeblood of parliaments for an economic experiment that is not even offering a `Chinese’ trade-off of prosperity in exchange for abridged liberties. Why sacrifice democracy for a Barroso Model that has generated a youth jobless rate of 56.5pc in Spain?

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