Despite a growing trend to isolationism under the idea that is the “only way” to protect themselves from external threats and get into a pathway towards prosperity and security, awareness for joint action and the consolidation of a global model is already established and is forcing “isolated countries” to enter into a global dynamic. Recently, Guy Verhofstadt highlighted the fact that the new UK passports are made by a French-Dutch company based in Poland. An example that perfectly illustrates the reality of the European business model. The fantasy of dismantles the Union and get into a national structure as “off-grid” systems with few commercial agreements supposes erase a financial-economic model of mutual dependence to be consistent with their message. However, they cannot be implemented as promised and enter into a weird relationship with the European Union losing their status of a financial hub as a direct consequence, in addition to the most important aspect for a reliable market: stability.
Europe, regional and globally has become a complex network of relations, commitments, and interests that cannot be erased without jeopardizing national prosperity, hence the power to ”sell it” to their citizens. Certainly, people are not “buying” this model of strict national terms, although they vote under the idea that in a certain way they will be a change to the current establishment.
A message of going towards “an even closer union” is not helpful and boost new waves of anger against Europe, having as the main argument the chaotic structure from Brussels: centralized, expensive and bureaucratic. Besides, the other wrong message that “everything is because of Russia interests” add more confusion to the real internal problems and feed private interests as hedge funds. It would be very hard to overcome regional constraints if there is not a clear vision of the need to take responsibility and fix the wounds of a broken system. Philosophical and politically the European Union fit the model of the “must be” for becoming sustainable in the long term , although not for their practical implementation, for whom there is not a strategic view to transmitting the correct message adapted to current crises.
Repeating the same arguments that “the Russians” are responsible for nationalist movements and that we need to move forward to a closer union within the same structure that has exposure failures and is driving the Union towards distrust is like looking to a dark cloud in the middle of a blue sky of multiple solutions. That Russia has a “particular interest” to destabilize Europe to gain power is not logical as their main concerns are around financial-political interests in the Middle East and the annexation of Crimea. Sanctions is what really make Russia been focused on Europe. In current chaos, a good distribution of power and a reliable Brussels would make Russia just another partner in a world that has been moving towards regional blocks and agreement based on joint action. If not, please look at their global commitment with BRICS and their counterbalance impact in an extremely divided world.
On top of all, nationalist movements are dramatically different, with Brexit, they set a goal to meet: flexible rules that allow a different financial flow without the control from Brussels. Instead, Catalonia has fought for decades for independence and the past years have been the result of corruption, particularly from the Monarchy and their rejection for their arms business with Saudi Arabia that boost anger and the final clash for an already weak process of integration with Spanish identity. Not to mention that they are full supporters of the European Union and their main leaders are also members of the European Parliament. Making of Catalan crisis dramatically opposite to other European movements.
Nationalist movement VOX (Spain) although with a message similar to Marine le Pen or Salvini, has not participated on the Milan Rally (May, 2019)*, exposure that there is no consensus among nationalists but only the rejection of the status quo of decontrol immigration, less security and fewer guarantees for national citizens. Is it only for these reasons that there message gains credibility from some sectors of the society that they are seeing on Brussels a tool of power and not for their own empowerment.
VOX is being financed by Iran opposition dissidents while Brexit, by hedge funds donors, another element that becomes relevant under the light of their differences and specific goals.
President Donald Trump considered the main world leader of nationalism and isolationism has made several steps towards Diplomacy from their particular perspective but taking responsibility from an international leadership (Korea, Israel-Palestine-withdrawal of military troops in Syria, Davos Summit, etc) exposure that there is no such “nationalism/isolationism” without a global perspective. Recent differences with Boris Johnson that described Pres. Trump as “failing to lead” exposure that despite Brexit victory there is no intention to create a US-Europe trade war but support Europe from a new role but the same sense of block. So, they are supposed to be allies and share the same nationalist principles, however, in terms of interests once again we end on a global focus. Global goals are not just a matter of implementation but a framework that conditions the rest of the international relations.
Beyond Brussels means also beyond nationalism, there is a status quo around global values that after several decades are becoming a new framework of relations that mark a new era of global values.
Lessons learned from Brexit: any nationalist imitative will boost new waves of support to the European Union -even in crisis- that inevitable demands joint action, although it is imperative to become innovative and creative enough to build a decentralized structure that allows participation and engagement from the own roots: citizenship. Trust comes from effective institutions and the idea of constant change.
Looking beyond chaos….
*”Off-grid systems: a solution to national crisis”, Mar Introini