I have mixed thoughts about the European Union, which Bulgaria is scheduled to join on Jan. 1, 2007. On one hand, our country is in such an abyss that it is likely to benefit from EU, at least we'll have more Western influence. (We'll also receive funding, but I don't think this will help - societies, similarly to the healthy adult individuals forming their backbone, rarely benefit from goods they haven't earned themselves.) On the other hand, you never know when the offsets will outweigh the advantages, and besides, by its rush to join EU and its future membership Bulgaria adds more undue legitimacy to this very dubious construction of political thought.
Why do I dislike the EU? It has too much bureaucracy, too much intervention of state into every affair, too much anti-American and anti-Semitic feelings. To form it, governments used blackmail. They first introduced myriads of sky-high tariffs and other barriers to free trade and movement, then told their peoples, "We'll let you have free trade and movement if you let us create united Europe, overlay a super-state onto the outdated nation states." The good old nation states of course were not perfect, but democracy in them was or at least could be functional. In the EU, the most important decisions are taken by people appointed by non-transparent procedures who are neither elected by anybody nor accountable to anybody. The elected body, the European Parliament, isn't much better because any decision concerning any country is taken by a majority assembled from other countries and hence incompetent in the situation (even Germany, France or Britain are a minority if taken isolated). In the United States, despite the common language and history, it is well known that New Yorkers know little of the life in Minnesota and vise versa, so states have much autonomy. In Europe, you have dozens of languages and cultures with long history of wars and no real wish to unify, yet the Eurobureaucrats know only how to centralize, centralize, centralize.
I first formulated these thoughts a year or two ago when talking with a British, who seemed surprised by my opposition to the EU. (He probably expected such opposition in Bulgaria to be rooted only in primitive nationalism and other anti-Western sentiments.) In that discussion, I didn't use one of the most important arguments against the EU - that it allowed itself to be transformed into what Bat Ye'or called Eurabia. Here I am pasting a June 1 post by Egyptian blogger Sandmonkey (http://www.sandmonkey.org/):
Supporting free speech proves danish intolerance
Oh man, my head hurts!
Think I’m exaggerating? Here’s the report on Denmarkreleased yesterday by the European Commission against Racism andIntolerance. And here’s the section — under the heading “vulnerablegroups” — on Danish Muslims. Quote (footnotes omitted):
"In September 2005, with the stated intention ofverifying whether freedom of speech is respected in Denmark, a widely-read Danish newspaper called on cartoonists to send in caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad; such drawings are considered to be offensive by many Muslims. This newspaper thus published 12 suchcartoons, one of which portrayed the Prophet as a terrorist. The issue has caused widespread condemnation and a protest march was organised in Copenhagen as a result. The fact that, according to a survey carried out regarding the publication of these drawings, 56% of the respondents felt that it was acceptable, is a testimony of the current climate in Denmark. ECRI considers that the goal of opening a democratic debate on freedom of speech should be met without resorting to provocative acts that can only predictably elicit an emotional reaction."
Here’s the poll I think they’re getting that number from. Via WorldPublicOpinion:
"A majority—56 percent—of Danes in the Feb. 3 Epinionpoll agreed with the statement “Respect for freedom of speech should be more important than the consideration of religious sentiment.” Only 37 percent agreed with the statement “Out of respect for the Muslim faith, the cartoons should not have been published even though this could be considered a limitation on the freedom of speech.”
Proof positive of a climate of intolerance. (End of Sandmonkey's post.)
Well, if the EU doesn't protect its members and the values of the civilization, what is the use of it? Just to keep legions of bureaucrats on payroll?
Danes were right to resist the EU. We older people remember that they said "No" on the first referendum whether to join EU. The government spent 3 years on pro-EU propaganda and then made another referendum. This time EU won by a very thin margin. Some Danes began street protests, the police used firearms against them and injured several people - a thing that hadn't happen in Denmark for many decades. So the Danish EU membership was baptized in blood.
Those street protests were neither violent nor even very numerous, so the use of force was unnecessary and just showed how easily the pro-EU politicians resort to nondemocratic means in order to enforce EU on the reluctant plebs. It is also notable that if the people say "No" to the EU, the referendum is periodically repeated until they say "Yes", after which it is never performed again. The national independence is lost forever. But is it really forever? We'll see.