The French and Dutch voted against the ‘previous’ Constitutional Treaty, and now the largest EU country, Germany, which, unlike Holland and France, has yet to ratify Lisbon, is also becoming strongly eurosceptic, with a recent survey indicating not only the unpopularity of the treaty in Germany, but the EU total.
From The European Foundation –
A poll on the web site of Die Welt offered readers four choices about the EU: “it is wonderful”; “it has advantages and disadvantages”; “it is pretty bad”; “I wish Germany would leave”. The highest score was for “I wish Germany would leave” – 51 per cent. Nineteen per cent said the EU was pretty bad and only 27 per cent said it had advantages and disadvantages. (Three per cent said it was wonderful.)
Austria too is evidencing a sizeable majority of its people being against their membership of the EU.
Also from the European Foundation –
In Austria, the former leader of the (Christian Democrat) Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP), Erhard Busek, has suggested that Austria hold a referendum on whether the country should stay in the EU. Busek blamed Austrian politicians for always blaming the EU when things go wrong, saying that this had now had an effect on public opinion.
Naturally Busek wants a referendum to produce a positive pro-EU result and for there to be an end to “populism” (i.e. anti-EU rhetoric). “We would have to say, ‘you will have to show your passport at the border again and obviously the euro will disappear.’” (Busek is being dishonest here. In reality, neither passport-free travel nor the euro is connected to EU membership. One can have the euro without being in the EU – Kosovo and Montenegro have it – and one can belong to Schengen without being in the EU – Norway and Iceland are members of Schengen but not of the EU.) [Der Standard, Vienna, 15 July 2008]
With the economic recession impacting across the continent, it can only be time before the anti-EU sentiments of nearly every country in the EU start to have a bearing on events.
No one expects Germany to secede or France, but the effects of the world economy might trigger a chain of events which threatens the Euro, or keeps the Irish of a mind to reject the Lisbon Treaty a second time, regardless of any extra window dressing or offers made to reduce its effects.
In Britain Gordon Brown’s regime might fall, and be replaced by a eurosceptic left-wing government, opposed the Lisbon Treaty, which would be very popular.
It seems quite wrong that the EU is ignoring the views of the people it aspires to rule. This is the definition of empire, where rule is imposed on an unwilling populace, and not government which requires consent. Will it be said in years to come that ‘The European nations gave up their colonies and empires, only to become colonised themselves’?
Picture – an unwilling colonist.