I listened, with mounting indignation, to the speech on "a democratic federation of nation states" by Durão Barroso at the EU Parliament in Strasbourg a couple of weeks ago. Since then, and over the course of my daily life, I eventually calmed down until our TV networks replayed the speech earlier this week. And then my indignation resurfaced.
The time that elapsed between the speech and the TV replay allowed me to come to grips with my indignation. I can now clearly define the reason for this indignation. And the reason is that Mr. Barroso's failed to describe how his solution to the problems we now face in the European Union, as well as in the individual countries, has anything to do with the problems themselves.
Mr. Barroso pointed out that the inability of governments thus far to respond effectively to economic developments was "fueling populism and extremism in Europe and also elsewhere".
It was obvious that to Mr. Barroso the problems are economic problems. That is it. This is dangerous thinking coming from a politician at such a high level.
Under the circumstances I feel obligated to tell Mr. Barroso that the EU is in crisis because:
- trust between people and government institutions is at an all-time low,
- trust among people from various countries, not only within the EU, but among all world people, is at an all-time low,
- war mongering is at an all-time high, while peace proposals are at an all-time low,
- the impoverishment of the population at large is reaching all-time highs,
- wealth inequality has reached an all-time high, and people see no end to this socially toxic trend, perhaps the single biggest cause of the extremism and populism referred to in the speech,
- public fund misuse is at an all-time high, not to speak of corruption,
- unemployment for all age groups, has reached an all-time high,
- employment opportunities, for all age groups, is at an all-time low,
- social and individual anxiety levels over the ability to earn a dignified living is at an all-time high, yet the EU has set the goal to reach the rate of 70% full-time employment, while the remainder 30% will have to do with temporary or part-time work,
- the cost of health care has been rising and its quality has been dropping while the EU promises further cost increases and quality cuts,
- the cost of education has been rising and its quality has been dropping while the EU promises further cost increases and quality cuts,
- fuel costs have reached an all-time high, and the EU has no concerted plan to address the coming fossil fuel crisis,
- environmental degradation costs are affecting every citizen and every country in the EU, while the politicians have shown no political will to address its dangerous trends,
- climate change has more than given us indicators that all is not well, while the EU governance has shown no political will to address what the citizens of the EU and worldwide wisdom consider as dangerous trends.
I could enumerate a few more indicators of the EU crisis. Indicators of great value to the achievement of a successful society. The EU economists publish them regularly. The EU website publishes them.
That is why, Mr. Barroso, as you well indicated, neither the citizens of the EU nor the World at large seem to have much confidence in what we call Europe.
Having said all this, I request that you, Mr. Barroso, explain to the us, the people, the citizens, the voters, those of us who are the actual building blocks of our Europe, how "a democratic federation of nation states" is going to address the above-mentioned problems.
I also do urge all politicians in Brussels to come out of their ivory towers and talk to the people on the street and check it out for yourselves. I urge you and all of them not to rely on reports your receive on your desks written by your staff sitting at their desks.
That will be much more constructive to the strengthening of the EU we all hope for than patronizing statements that say that "Europe's member states on their own are no longer able to effectively steer the course of events". What does this mean?