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Eurosceptic Bloggers

Monday, February 14, 2005

European Babel

The lack of a European Demos means that European politics is always national. What sells in one country goes down like a lead balloon in others and vice versa. Eurosceptic Brits are fed a diet of minimising Brussels, whilst others are told how power is being transferred to the benefit of their beloved project. An article in the economist (unfortunately subscription only) illustrates this nicely.
Josep Borrell, a Spaniard who is president of the European Parliament, proclaims that “this constitution marks a shift from a primarily economic Europe to a political Europe.” This kind of statement is regarded as feel-good rhetoric in countries with strong Europhile traditions. Jean-Luc Dehaene, boasted recently to a Brussels audience that the constitution represented “a great step forward for the EU to become a true political union.” Were Mr Dehaene to try to say this in Britain, he would surely be bound and gagged by emissaries from Tony Blair's government.
Whilst our continental cousins are so openly making such statements, the British Government spins the same document as the end of the federalist dream. And they expect to be believed? The only thing that stops the Brits from waking up to the fact that everyone else is being told another story is the fact that our language skills are so poor. As the economist puts it:
European federalists sometimes bemoan the fact that Europe's babble of different languages makes it very hard to build a common identity and to stage pan-European debates. But, when it comes to getting the EU constitution ratified, it may prove to be a distinct advantage that Europeans do not share a common language.
So if we could only hear what they are saying about our future across the channel, we would be even less positively inclined towards the EU than we are. If anyone has examples of other such Federalist statements, particularly related to the constitution, I would love to hear them.

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