Friday, September 21, 2012

The view from Sweden: Barroso is making it more difficult to be pro-EU

This is spot-on.

Sara Skyttedal, vice-president of the Youth wing of the European People’s Party – the pan-EU party Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso belongs to – has a blistering piece  in today's Svenska Dagbladet. She takes Barroso to town over his 'State of the Union' address, in which he called for Europe to become a "federation":
"As Vice-Chairman of [the EPP's] youth wing, YEPP, I can only say that representatives such as Barroso make it more difficult to be pro-EU [EU-vän] “
She continues:
"At a time when crises are raging across Europe and when countries need a helping hand, the eurocrats see an opportunity to demand extensive transfers of power and centralisation in return. Barroso suggests the creation of a banking union and argues that the EU in the end must become a federation. This is a frightening development, since even though Barroso himself says that a superstate isn’t the end goal, it is it hard to interpret his vision in any other way.”
She argues that politicians have ”time and again” ignored the subsidiarity principle. Taking aim at the Swedish political class, Skyttedal says:

“Just as there are many signs that the EU makes it harder for member states to fight the centralisation of powers, Sweden has reinforced this tendency on its own”, arguing that the requirement for EU-membership should be deleted from the Swedish Constitution.
“Those of us who are active in the EPP…must take a bigger responsibility for the liberal-conservative family in Europe. In these circles we must dare to bring up the problems that exist. Large parts of our respective parties were once active in the Yes-campaigns, both for EU and euro membership, but it’s time to swallow our pride and take up the fight against supranationalism and to show it’s possible to have a realistic attitude to the EU, which doesn't automatically mean arguing in favour of leaving the project altogether."
“The EPP-family is the biggest one in Europe, but includes members that unfortunately work in the opposite direction to the EU that we rather want to see. What we think the EU needs is less supranationalism, less political interference and definitely not a federation.”
Hear hear.

Sweden isn't exactly a European hegemon (those ambitions pretty much died in 1709) but it's an interesting country for the UK and Europe in at least two respects: first, it's actually doing well, both on the fiscal and banking front. Secondly, how the country responds to the drive for further euro integration will be an interesting proxy for how easy it'll be to reconcile a more tightly knit eurozone block with the EU-27. Most importantly, the banking union with the single market.

70-80% of Swedes oppose joining the euro, and that debate is dead (baring random calls from the occasional politician and opinion former who still cling on to that particular dream - it's almost cute), but the country has fundamental choices ahead of it - such as whether or not it joins the the ECB's banking supervision structure - so Europe needs to be discussed. 

Though a majority of Swedes would echo the sentiment contained in Skyttedal's article, there is still a contingent in Sweden, particularly on the centre-right (associated with Carl Bildt, the Swedish Foreign Minister) that clings on to a vision of an ever-closer integrated EU as a liberal inroads into its dominant domestic social democratic model, and also as a catalyst for Swedish internationalist idealism, i.e. a 'peace project'.

Historically, both of these assumptions contained some truth but firstly, Sweden's social democratic domination has already been broken and secondly, the single currency - clearly - has proven less of a liberal trade project and more an ideological over-reach (think Greece). The eurozone crisis is now causing friction in Europe, rather than the opposite, and it most certainly isn't aiding either Europe in the world or facilitating enlargement (which is a legitimate EU foreign policy tool).

In other words, this traditional Swedish centre-right vision is dated and needs upgrading - which is true for other contingents in the EPP. Skyttedal's article is an important reminder that if we want to save what's good in Europe, Barroso's "federation" vision - which risks a massive popular backlash - is the opposite of what's needed.

The path for true pro-Europeans must lay elsewhere.

8 comments:

Rik said...

On the other hand Barosso is probably the best PR agent you can wish for if you want the relation EU/UK fundamentally changed.

Basically the voter market consists of 3 parts (in all countries only different percentages and different backgrounds):
-definite Europhiles (the Barosso Minimees);
-neutrals undecided;
-anti-Euroos.

All these things Barosso proposes not only make getting to a real solution for the immediate problems more complicated and timeconsuming but work as follows on this 3 groups.
Europhiles find it great, but the found it great already so nothing changes. Were also motivated , the reason the thing could run with no majority for it.
Anti-Euro crowd, will be further confirmed in their thinking that things are going the wrong way and that something has to be done.
Neutrals will either stay neutral or see it like this young lady as complete 'Alice in Wonderland stuff' and move further to the break up or serious renovation camp.

Basically the same thing you have seen in the Netherlands with Wilders. It took main stream media and politicians more than 10 years to realise that shouting that people with serious concerns are racists and dumb donot make them get away. And you would see a similar thing in the UK if the political system was more open for new parties.

And you see it likely in stronger numbers with the EU. Shouting people are 'Little Britains' and 'the EU is the best thing since creation', only works longer term if you can back it up. You donot back it up, you shoot yourself in the foot at the end. Making things the no 1 issue with super determined opposition and neutrals who have enough of it and want to move on or have had enough of the leadership and its completely irrealistic views.

Any Barosso plan is probably another 100 000 voters against. Great thing politicians with a completely wrong self-image. So please not more realistic people in the other camp unless they take over, which would be great.

EuGoodNews said...

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I have been building and modifying since August last year.
The site is coming together nicely, but I need a lot more members to get actively involved, give feedback, invite there friends and friends of there friends!

I encourage people to join up in there own native language too, because Europe is so rich in deferent cultures, countries and languages. This is what makes us Europeans so unique.
So come up and get involved, and start posting!

For those who like to support the idea and would like to make a small donation against development and server cost, this can be done here! Any penny is greatly appreciated and will be used to improve our community.

EuGoodNews aims to be the default site for joining and creating clubs and Communities for any hobby, sport, and business, political or other interest or affiliation as long as it is positive! The current site is the starting point of this journey.

Over the next few months, EuGoodNews will become even more sophisticated and will allow you, as the user, to communicate through your interests. On this website people from all over Europe can be brought together and mingle finding the hottest things to do.

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Rollo said...

We once had a Director who was in charge of a jobe which was going dreadfully wrong, making huge losses, and corruption and theft making it worse. That Director had a huge push to try to be made MD, to control the accountants, to get more power to cover up his complicity. Any comparisons with Barroso's position?
Luckily for the survival of our firm, we managed to get rid of him. Any hope of the same thing?
Rollo

Average Englishman said...

Ref. Eugoodnews.

Since when did Open Europe become a propaganda outlet for new web sites? This post should not be shown here in my view.

And "There really is no limit to what members will be able to create with their EuGoodNews social networking site" but only it would appear, "so long as it is positive". So, no criticism of the beloved EU is to be allowed then and the potential for truth goes out the window right at the start. Not for me thank you and hopefully, not for Open Europe blogs in the future or there will be one less reader.

Open Europe blog team said...

@Average Englishman

Good point, not sure how that one slipped through our spam filter. We'll be sure to keep a closer watch in the future!

Anonymous said...

Barosso has a "dream" as well and the plan to go with it...but his is for a totalitarian State of Europe.

Here's the plan:

1.Create a currency you know will not work and use it to force through "more Europe".

Wait a few years for countries to gorge themselves on low interest rates. Get them even more into debt by having the unelected commission force through EU legislation that costs countries billions.

" It is a completely political step....the historical significance
of the euro is to construct a bipolar economy in the world. The two poles are the dollar and the euro. That is the political meaning of the single European currency. It is a step beyond which there will be others. The euro is just an antipasto.'

(Romano Prodi, ex- Commission President,January 2002 )

2.Force through a Treaty that gives sweeping new powers to the EU.
Be VERY sure that the Treaty allows for MAJORITY VOTING ( from 2014 this will be the case). All EU legislation will then be easy to pass and a case can be made for dissolving national parliaments to “save the taxpayer billions”.
Why have a national Parliament if 100% of your laws are made by an EU elite in Brussels ?
Remember that all EU law is written in stone so future generations cannot change it.

3.When the states have overspent, tell them that their elected politicians are no longer to be trusted with their own budgets. Suggest merging Europes Armed Forces ( to save taxpayers billions).Force through the right for the EU to raise taxes and set their rates.
After a few years the heavily indebted “sovereign countries” will no longer have their own currency, their own budget controls, the right to raise taxes ,Armed Forces or Parliaments and all of Europe's power will be concentrated in Brussels where it belongs with our Dear Leaders on the commission and our own parliament to give it all a democratic veneer.

4.Some will complain but resistance will be useless. Thanks to the EU’s PROJECT INDECT ( funded by our own citizens ) every tiny move they make will be monitored by drones for suspicious

Any terrorist-citizen voicing dissaproval is to be called “nationalistic” or “bigoted”.
Any politician voicing dissaproval is to be called “populist” or “right wing”.

And should our citizens decide to take legal action,…let them. The European Court of Justice agrees with us 98% of the time. As we all know, Europes top Court has absolutely NOTHING to do with the EU (but is coincidently already joined to the EU parliament building in Strasbourg by an underground tunnel).
No-one seems to have noticed that the supreme Court’s flag is a blue background with 12 yellow stars ,…. and that it’s anthem
is Beethoven’s “Ode To Joy”.

If our citizens dare to take up arms against us we will unleash our own paramilitary (European Gendarmerie Force). As their website proudly proclaims, they are "First and foremost at the disposal of the EU" (www.eurogendfor.org).

Hail to our unelected Presidents and millionare Commissars.

Long live our sovereign EU parliament that remains both without an opposition or a European People to represent.

Glory be to our docile citizens.

Long live our Armed Forces and the ever expanding United States of Europe.

Remember citizen:
Peace is War.
Hate is love.

And most important of all dear citizens:
Democracy is Nationalism.

Rik said...

Has some sort of (illmanaged) PR campaign started. In all sorts of media all over Europe you get this 'lets be positive over Europe stuff'?

Myself I use the, in academic circles and certainly this blog most used, definition, the Speight-Rollo one, of EUgoodnews. Best explained by the example of the ultimate EUgoodnews: a 10-Richter earthquake completely destroying Brussels. If desired earthquake can be replaced by a decent size tsunami (hopefully with Comme Chez Soi as Noah's Arc equivalent) or more modern: Iran missing Israel with a nuclear missile by say 2500 miles.

Anonymous said...

More Swedes are negative to EU and 85% do not want the euro in sweden