Emmanuel Macron has decided to give us his deep thoughts upon the value of Europe and the European Union. It’s the usual codswallop we’d expect from a French politician. All most airy and fairy without anything actually practical in it. That Jupiter is doing the thinking for all 500 million of us is also shown by the fact that one newspaper in every EU country has published it. You know, the one man that 450 million of us can’t vote against gets to tell us all what we should do.
The only interesting contention in it is that national nationalism should be replaced by European nationalism. Not exactly a great advance in anything at all. Other than that it’s the usual usual. Europe is constantly conflated with the European Union – as if there were no other way of running the continent. The EU has brought peace these 70 years when it’s actually only 27 years old. There’s no mention of Nato. But, you know, we’re used to all of that:[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””] The French President set out plans for a “road map to European renewal” in the wake of the Brexit vote, which he said represents a “danger” to the future of the European Union. He said that the UK’s decision to leave the EU symbolised a crisis in which the EU was failing to respond to “its peoples’ needs for protection from the major shocks of the modern world”. [/perfectpullquote]
That protection is of course that there should be high barriers to trade with the rest of the world so as to maintain the current subsidy arrangements within Europe. It’s a zollverein, nothing else that is:[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Our borders also need to guarantee fair competition. What country in the world would continue to trade with those who respect none of their rules? We cannot suffer in silence. We need to reform our competition policy and reshape our trade policy, penalising or banning businesses that compromise our strategic interests and fundamental values such as environmental standards, data protection and fair payment of taxes; and the adoption of European preference in strategic industries and our public procurement, as our American and Chinese competitors do.[/perfectpullquote]
Yep, throw up those trade barriers, make all Europeans poorer.
There’s also the obvious drivel:[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Europe is also those thousands of projects daily that have changed the face of our regions: the school refurbished, the road built, and the long-awaited arrival of high-speed internet access.[/perfectpullquote]
And there’s us who thought that broadband came from something as simple as the telecoms companies. And more drivel of course:[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Europe, where social security was created, needs to introduce a social shield for all workers, guaranteeing the same pay for the same work, and an EU minimum wage, appropriate to each country, negotiated collectively every year.[/perfectpullquote]
We have the same pay for the same work – it’s called a market wage. And what is this about a Europe wide minimum wage? If it is a proper minimum then we’ll condemn near all of Greece, Romania, Bulgaria, to unemployment. Because what’s some minimal income in Germany is a high one in those places. So, obviously enough, he says that the minimum should be appropriate to each economy. But that’s to sell the pass, isn’t it? If we’re saying that the wage should be lower in certain circumstances then we’re saying that the wage should be lower in certain circumstances – there should be no such minimum that is.[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]We have to stand firm, proud and lucid, in the face of this manipulation and say first of all what Europe is.[/perfectpullquote]
The current evidence is that Europe is an opportunity for pompous blowhards to lecture us. Thank God we’re leaving, eh?