Klaus On The EU

The President of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Klaus, had some harsh words for the EU which he accused of living "in the dream world of welfare, long vacations, guaranteed high pensions, and cradle-to-grave social security".

Indeed, Klaus seems to be one of the more clear-eyed leaders in Europe today. Klaus is correct in pointing out that while the general idea of closer European integration has great value, the implementation of the EU is deeply flawed – and those flaws are only going to be exacerbated by the expansion of the EU into former Warsaw Pact nations. The EU is trying to expand the socialist model of European government farther than it ever has just as that model is failing in the core of the Eurozone. The German economy is in deep recession, and France and Italy aren’t doing much better. Considering that the Maastricht Treaty just got thrown out the window there’s much cause for deep skepticism about the health of the Eurozone.

The EU is based on the idea that a top-down complete reorganization of European society that sweeps away the very idea of the nation-state can be accomplished in short order and with minimal resistance. The rejection of the Euro in Sweden and the Euroskepticism in Britain shows that this idea is simply not working as the EUrocrats thought it would. EU expansion only puts more pressure on the EU system as the regulatory blanket that comes with EU membership chafes against the needs of the growing Eastern European market. As Klaus puts it:

The biggest challenge for the Czech republic, Klaus said, is how to avoid falling into the trap of “a new form of collectivism.” Asked whether he meant a new form of neo-Marxism, he said, “absolutely not, but I see other sectors endangering free societies.”

“The enemies of free societies today are those who want to burden us down again with layer upon layer of regulations,” president Klaus explained. “We had that in Communist times. But now if you look at all the new rules and regulations of EU membership, layered bureaucracy is staging a comeback.” The EU’s 30,000 bureaucrats have produced some 80,000 pages of regulations that the Czech republic and the other European applicants for EU membership would have to adopt.

Indeed, it is the regulatory monstrosity that is the EU that is exceptionally worrying. As the article mentions:

Last week, the European Court of Auditors in Luxembourg released a 400-page report that found “systematic problems, over-estimations, faulty transactions, significant errors and other shortcomings” in the EU’s budget. EU’s auditors could only vouch for 10 percent of the $120 billion the EU spent in 2002. It was also the ninth successive year the auditors were unable to certify the budget as a whole.

In other words, the numerous financial scandals involving corruption and bribery with EU could very well only be the tip of the iceberg. When you have a system of governance that is isolated from those they govern, are not responsible to any other system of government, and can spend money like drunken sailors you have a recipe for a kleptocracy at best and totalitarianism at worst. Neither option is particularly good for the future of Europe, which is why radical reform is necessary if the EU is to survive as a viable political entity. Klaus is right, the EU exists in a dream world, and that dream could come crashing down at any time.

2 thoughts on “Klaus On The EU

  1. It is true, the European Union is producing a bunch of new directives a day. It is true that there are so many Directorate Generales (DG), and so many Units within that it’s really hard to follow who’s doing what. It is another real fact that sometimes, DG competition and DG Internal Market for example have very different views on a topic, which can be confusing for the people -like me- who have to work on it.

    But it has to be understood that these directives are not over-regulation. 2 reasons:
    1-the EU, for economic reasons -economies of scales basically- decided to promote the “Internal Market”. This means that any product sold legally in a country can be sold under the same format in another country (with the exception of dutch’s weed). To achieve that, we actually need a whole new set of laws to harmonise national legislations. This is not over-regulation since national laws are then obsolete!
    2-The EU is creating a totally new area, where new problems happens. These things that didn’t existed before need to be tackled as well. This is not over-regulation either.

    Finally, the enlargement may not be happening if new entrants continue to complain all the time like that. Nobody forced them to join, and everybody is ready to listen to their views, but these people never propose anything concrete. I really don’t see what the problem is with “cradle-to-grave social security”. I mean: “Yeah I want that!!”
    the EU may crash tomorrow if we don’t agree on the new contitution. One way or another, it could have positive aspects.

  2. I don’t think anybody expected Maastricht to survive, and I don’t think that many members care that it’s gone. The weaker states that would noramlly complain seem poised to get the “One Rep per State” concession they sought, and it’s not like the treaty was a beloved document to begin with, seeing as how it almost didn’t pass in Germany and France and the Dutch failed to ratify it.

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