A full of “balloon-ideas” with short-term vision and no tangible proposals are manipulating public opinion, inflated with nationalist euphoria. To be anti-European has been transformed in a message of nationalism, defence of national identity and anger against integrationist policies. The emptiness of real proposals for national reforms exacerbates a populist speech without giving options or an accurate landscape for a “post-era” out of the EU. But, why this phenomenon is happening now and not before, even with less positive impact?
However simplistic, economic side matters for a positive or negative judgment of a political system. For the citizenship it doesn’t matter if the levels of transparency or accountability are low if there are good economic profits and future perspectives. The 90´s are a good example that in times of prosperity political leaders become overrated in their potential. Most of the reasons why there is not a solid citizen engagement comes from this sloth in looking beyond economic goals and build a strong and resilient political structure.
In addition, this lack of effective citizenship engagement leads to less control and supervision of leaders´ performance. Nigel Farage, Marine Le Pen or Boris Johnson are just examples that shows that there is no accountability over leaders´ promises that results in a dangerous framework for getting to a well-informed public opinion. Is it so that populist leaders from extremist political parties take over the political stage and contributes to this global institutional crisis taking the opportunity to blame the EU of their own failures in managing with national affairs.
Brexit has been just an example of the emptiness of their proposals to give an alternative model for UK after the exit. Leaving exposure the real hidden political agenda on racism, xenophobia and isolationism, certainly not an agenda on the European Union in itself. In fact this referendum was not an exercise of democracy -capturing concerns from the citizens- but a manipulative maneuver at the service of private interests –e.g. hedge funds-, as is it known that there was a strong financial support from hedge-fund investors.
In November of 2014 Boris Johnson said: “Most of our problems are not caused by Brussels, but by chronic British short-termism, inadequate management, sloth, low skills and a culture of easy gratification and under investment” Which is absolutely true and shows how UK has entered in this process by the impulse of other interests rather than national concerns. Indeed a good example of the contradictory speech of anti-European supporters.
The whole process leading by Troika with Greece´s financial crisis is another example that there is an institutional crisis that goes beyond citizen’s negative attitude towards the Union. Main leaders in this process haven´t worked with the political vision of uniting countries but to get benefits from a business vision.
Is it really an agenda to get rid of certain countries within the EU institution as former Minister Varoufakis suggested? Are leaders inside European institutions pushing for a disintegration of Europe or at least remind only with rich countries –certainly not with the South-? Is it important to analyze this situation because it shows that there is complicity within European institutions to break with this model and centered in other axis of economic-financial power. Angela Merkel makes it clear: “is not about sharing debt”, leaving the clear idea that Europe shouldn’t be based in solidarity among country members but on prosper economic-financial community. This is a big philosophical mistake of what belonging to the Union represents particularly now that the concept of an “even closer” Union takes strength.
As a conclusion it´s important to analyse this claim in detail:
“Europeans”-“dislike”- “the EU”
1.-The concept “Europeans” is too much general; this is not about the majority of the Europeans citizens but of a populist message manipulating by extremist political parties that is trying to make it a big concern. Brexit has shown that belonging to the EU was not a concern and become one only because of the constant bombing of messages from leaders. Statically poverty and unemployment were the main concerns of British population, not the Union.
2.- “Dislike” : that European citizens dislike is the failure of managing financial aspects in a post-crisis time. Austerity measures has been just one of the many mistakes that are not helping countries –e.g. Spain- to move forward and reduce their debt or high rates of unemployment.
3.- “The EU”: there is no concerns about a Union identity from the citizens. Most of the sovereignty debate belong to a political extremist agenda with specific goals that doesn’t represent a real contradiction with European citizens preferences but from populist leaders.
What really matters for European citizens are security, unemployment and general impact of financial crisis, not the fact of belonging to the Union and be part of a cultural identity. Is it only the manipulating message from populist leaders that are creating this idea of “dislike” the Union when in reality is a “dislike” to ineffective national policies and shortsighted leaders.