Jason OMahony - Irish political blogger, Irish politics, EU politics
 

The End of the EU: A (very) short play.

Posted by Jason O on Feb 15, 2010 in European Union, Not quite serious. |

And it's goodbye from them.

And it's goodbye from them.

A British television studio.

Intro: “ Good evening, I’m Martin Imaldahay. One year ago, the member states of the European Union, at a summit in Gdansk, yielded to two years of public demonstrations and the overwhelming rejection of the Treaty of London in nine referendums across Europe. The EU was over, dissolved, and unceremoniously dumped in the dustbin of history.”

Cut to footage of small but enthusiastic crowds cheering and demonstrating in London, Paris and Copenhagen.

Cut to footage of  a young, very pretty blonde Danish girl:

Danish girl: “ This is a great day for all Europe. No more Brussels telling us all     what to do.”

Return to Martin in the studio.

Martin: “ One year on, has it worked? Has the abolition of the EU freed Europe and created a new dynamic? I’m joined by John Hairpin, political correspondent with The Guardian, Steven Cough of the Confederation of British Industry, and Tom Breeze of the National Farmers Union. Steven Cough, Europe free and prosperous?”

Cough: “ It’s been a bit of a false dawn, to be quite honest. You see, people were always blaming Brussels for regulation, but with withdrawal, the regulation just moved to national level. Ask people are they against regulation, they will always say yes, until you get to the specifics. Against ingredients being put on packaging, for example, you find the public actually want more!”

Martin: “ But surely it has made it easier for business?”

Cough: “ It’s actually made it harder. With EU directives, you had a chance of getting it right with just minor tweaking for national needs. Now you have twenty seven countries all drafting their own regulations, and some with dubious purpose.”

Martin: “ What do you mean?”

Cough: “ Well, take the French. They’re constantly changing regulations to allow them to block imports on spurious health, safety or hygiene grounds. It’s protectionism, and now, without the EU, there’s nowhere to go.”

Martin: “ Not to the WTO?”

Cough: “ It takes years. At least with the EU, governments were always looking to trade votes on the next issue, and resolve these things quickly. Now, we have the trade war instead.”

Martin: “  Tom Breeze of the National Farmers Association. Farmers and fishermen were complaining for years about Brussels interference, and quotas. Surely farmers are happy?”

Breeze: “ I have to agree with Steve. Abolishing the EU got rid of a bogeyman, that’s true, but didn’t deal with the fundamental problems. British fishermen, for example are now over-fishing, and will almost certainly have to be curtailed by the British government, who won’t be able to hide behind Brussels, and whilst we can now stop the Spanish fishing in British waters, we can’t export fish products in France or Spain because of new French and Spanish regulations in retaliation.”

Martin: “ Another trade war?”

Breeze: “ And more besides. In Ireland, France and Poland, for example, we’ve seen massive demonstrations by farmers demanding that national governments replace the now defunct guaranteed price structures. Only this time, the public aren’t willing to pay it. The Irish government nearly fell last week over the proposed Farm Solidarity Tax. The trades unions in Ireland are threatening a general strike if it is introduced, and two people were killed in the O’Connell Street riot.”

Martin: “ But surely the Irish and others were passionate supporters of CAP?”

Breeze: “ When someone else was picking up the tab, yes. But now? President Fabius will almost certainly be defeated next year because of the issue. The EU was at least providing a universal bogeyman for everyone to shout at.”

Martin: “ Another trade war?”

Breeze: “ Another trade war. They block our lamb. We’re blocking their cheese. Its cost about 25,000 jobs so far on each side of the channel. And that figure’s soft.”

Martin: “ Like the cheese.  John Hairpin, from a political perspective, has the collapse of the EU benefited the nations of Europe?”

Hairpin: “ Depends what you mean. Chancellor Stoiber of Germany recently said that Germany’s period of guilt over a lunatic Austrian is now over. That caused mass demonstrations in Poland, and one can’t help wondering would he have said that within the EU, with a need for Polish votes on the old European council. Yet now, Germany with her 90 million people is now the dominant power on the continent. The Benelux countries, Poles, Czechs, Austrians and Hungarians all have to adjust national legislation to take account of the German market and German law, with no influence at all in its shaping. They’ve swapped a European Union for an effective German Union. Is that progress?”

Martin: “ So who has benefited from the collapse of the EU?”

Hairpin: “ The Americans, probably. And the Chinese. The scenes at the last WTO summit were embarrassing, watching the former EU leaders waiting for the joint US/China communiqué. They used to be in the room. Now they sit with Brazil, Australia and Bangladesh.”

Martin: “ No other winners?”

Hairpin: “ Microsoft, Coke, GM. All the big multinationals who can now bully individual national governments, play them off against each other. They used to hate dealing with the Commission because they controlled access to a vast market, and used it to get concessions on competition. But now it’s one on one. Prime Minister Cameron has recently proposed that new employees from January 1st will not be entitled to the same level of employment rights as existing workers. Microsoft got that out of him, by threatening to go to the Czech Republic which is now practically a US state. They just couldn’t have done that during the EU.”

Martin: “ Not quite what the French left had in mind, was it?”

Hairpin: “ Certainly not. France has suffered terribly with the collapse of the EU. The end of farm subsidies, and the attempt by Paris to create a national model has created a vicious urban/rural divide. Farmers and small businessmen are having practically staged battles in Paris every week. But then, France is a unique example.”

Martin: “ In what way?”

Hairpin: “ Well, France is a prime example of a spineless political elite refusing to be honest with its own people. When they pulled out of the EU, Fabius promised tariffs and protection for French products. He never told the French people that other countries would retaliate against French exports. He kicked out all the former EU citizens working in France, and now discovered that French people will not work in those jobs. So they’ve go the ridiculous situation of having 15% unemployment and a million job vacancies!”

Martin: “ And an economy in free fall.”

Hairpin: “ Absolutely. Rather than face economic realities, Fabius is now trying to spend his way out, which has run up a massive debt, caused a collapse in the New Franc, which is now causing raw material imports such as oil, rubber and steel to soar in cost, which is causing inflation to hit 14%. Lovely stuff.”

Martin: “ And if Le Pen, as expected, wins next year?”

Hairpin: “ He’s even more fun. As he can’t blame the EU anymore, and doesn’t want to actually have to tell the French people the shocking economic truth, he’s started blaming immigrants and homosexuals, all of whom will be “dealt with” after the election.

Martin: “ But surely, for ordinary people, the end of the EU has improved their lives. Reduced regulation, for example.”

Hairpin: “ You travelled recently? All the old customs controls are back. France and Germany have brought in visa requirements for other European countries, with Britain following suit next year. Tit-for-tat import restrictions are making customs hell once again. It’s like living in the seventies. I got stopped in Schipol airport for carrying French cheese last week. You’d swear it was plutonium the way I was treated. You now spend more time waiting for some official to search your bags and stamp your passport than you ever did under the bad old Brussels Bureaucracy.”

Breeze: “ Actually, I was on holidays in Spain at Christmas, and my youngest got quite sick. They wouldn’t admit him to hospital. Spanish Citizens only. Had to pay €2000. The EU citizen’s right to emergency healthcare’s been abolished.”

Hairpin: “ What about the costs of the EU. It cost European taxpayers €100 billion a year.”
 
Cough: “ Which is, coincidentally, exactly one third of the fall off in intra European trade last year. Not counting the welfare payments made because of increased unemployment. I’m not sure the abolition isn’t actually costing us money.”

Hairpin: “ And the future? We’ll start with Steve Cough.”

Cough: “ More protectionism, minus economic growth, higher unemployment. Organised crime growing stronger as it is organised on international levels, unlike the police.”

Breeze: “ Blue murder in the south west of England when the British government attempt to impose fishing quotas to preserve stocks. Cornish Independence Party will win the St. Ives by-election, reducing Cameron’s majority to single figures.”

Hairpin: “ The Islamic takeover in Turkey is threatening Greece, which is causing talk of a military coup. Germany has begun rearming in response to instability in Turkey and the Balkans, and Le Pen has said that France will begin rearming in response to Germany. Poland has opened discussions with Russia on a Mittel-Europa Stability Plan. All in all, you’d kinda miss Brussels now.”

Martin: “ Perhaps you would. Good night.”

End.

1 Comment

Corcaighist
Feb 15, 2010 at 1:06 pm

Thanks for this. I enjoyed reading it.


 

Reply

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