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A letter to a failed EU
by Thanos Kalamidas
2008-05-29 08:15:13
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Dear Mr. President of the European Union, dear Mr. and Mrs. Commissioners and dear Mr. and Mrs. National representatives of the 27 nations in the European Parliament, I know you have been really busy with the relationship between the EU and Russia and constantly worrying about who is going to be the next president of the USA, so you have missed something basic: European citizens are being led to bankruptcy fast, here and now, and you haven’t done anything to prevent it.

In the name of European Unity and a better future we saw you all hurrying an expansion from 17 countries to 27 without preparing both, not the 17 neither or the 10 new ones. Poland did fantastic negotiations trying to take the best from Europe ignoring – and this is not Poland’s fault – that what they took and what they negotiated somebody has to pay for and in this case it is the citizens of the European Union, including the Polish citizens who became overnight the other members of this union. Ironically, part of these things that their government earned supposedly for them they now have to pay themselves. How? The glorious V.A.T. of course!

Careful, I’m not against the European expansion, on the contrary, I believe that the European Union should include every single European country to be considered a real European Union, after all the things that unite us are much, much more than the things that separate us; and I hope the missing countries like Serbia and, yes, Russia will also join soon. Regarding Turkey, I have my objections which have nothing to do with religion or my personal origins - something that has been wrongly pointed before - , but with the fact that Turkey is not a European country and if we make Turkey a member of the EU then there is no reason for not accepting Morocco and Egypt who would love to become members of the EU, or Israel and replace the UN with EU.

Turkey can have a special economic relationship with EU but this where everything should stop. And be careful, here I’m not judging how close or how far away Turkey is for what Europe points as criteria for a candidate member regarding democracy, human rights, respect to others and many more unanswered issues.

But to return to our theme, at the same time the European Commission was hurrying into an unprepared expansion they were also establishing a common currency, the Euro. What they were dreaming of was a currency that could bring a balance between Europe and the USA that would, firstly, help the exports that were suffering over the last few years and help the passage between people and products inside the European Union. Obviously missing again the greediness of an uncontrolled market full of multinational companies, with no organized protection for the consumer in fear of inflation with a result the consumers, the citizens of this union find themselves with prices increasing locally from 20% to 100%.

Approximation, that’s the name of the crime because it was a crime. Something that cost 89 cents with the old national currency in a period of months became one euro. And then most of them with excuses like the cost of adaption to the new currency have increased the prices another 20%.

The cost of life for a family with one kid where both parents must work – this is another failure of the system – suddenly became sky-high because, aside from the supermarket bill, the cost of land followed to make it sometimes impossible to cope with the rent or a loan that would really match the needs of the family, which was then followed by poor salaries and the blackmail of unemployment. The choice of the word was correct; unemployment has been used often from the employees as blackmail for pathetic and low salaries with the cover of the states.

In the name of the profit of the shareholders, companies fire hundreds of workers. I’m sorry but this is crossing the line, because some fat ass makes money sitting on his sofa eating hamburgers and he didn’t like the amount of the profit he did that evening hundreds of people lose their job. Am I a cynic? How far am I from the truth? This was supposed to be the union of the European citizens, not the union of the multinational industries and companies with the European citizens as the cheap labor.

The oil prices were the final hit. The increasing oil prices have become the next excuse of increasing all the prices from 25% to 50%. All the prices, from the milk I get from the supermarket to the shoes got higher in one night. The excuse? Oil prices! So the supermarkets want to tell me that they were totally empty last night and they filled their shelves this morning but due to the cost of oil and because the trucks that brought them those products this morning, please don’t forget this small detail, everything happened this morning; they had to increase the price of milk. Of course my salary remains the same! Again I suspect all has to do with a greedy market and stock holders you missed to control or put some rules on their games.

What can you do? Are you seriously asking me? When you applied for the damn job, when you asked for my vote you had read the job description and you had assured me that you were going there to protect me and help me. Well you failed and you screwed me! Because in the beginning I had to use my credit card but things kept getting more expensive and my salary the same, so I had to take the loan and things kept going more expensive and the time came for the payback you told me that the law says that … I lose my house!

You failed to protect the simplest elements that give every citizen of this union a life with dignity, you failed to protect the European citizen of the visual enemy, a greedy multinational market that you were oblige to control. You led people to poverty and I’m sorry to say you are fully responsible for that. All my life I believed that you shouldn’t ask what the state does for you but what you do fir the state and I was thinking the same about the European Union since I strongly believed that this union of people and effects was there for our common prosperity. But that meant that you would fulfill your side of the deal and you failed me, so don’t expect me now to do my part.

Actually, at this moment, my worry is not what I’m doing for the state but if my kid will find food on the table and I feel insecure in the world you have create for me and my child!

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Emanuel Paparella2008-05-29 14:04:38
In 2002, as the euro was being welcomed by EU politicians as the cure-all and panacea for all problems affecting the EU’s future, Klaus Held of the University of Wuppertal spoke truth to power by writing a brilliant essay on the EU cultural identity (already reviewed and commented in the pages of this magazine) and among other things wrote this:

"A European community grounded only in political and economic cooperation of the member states would lack an intrinsic common bond. It would be built upon sand."
-Klaus Held

Six years later, that statement, and in fact the whole essay, is even more relevant than when it was when first proffered. Perhaps he had a point after all. But the question is: is anybody listening or is he a voice in the wailderness?

Emanuel Paparella2008-05-29 14:18:52
P.S. Romano Prodi, when he was EU Commissioner, said that EU should aim to include and defend every inch of European soil. Given that 3% of Turkey is in fact in Europe, that would logically mean that the EU should be prepared to go to war with Turkey to recover land that is European. Pari passu, if Russia is incorporated in the EU with most of its land being in Asia, China will logically feel that the EU is now breathing down its political neck and will have to go to war to recuperate Asian land. Ah, the Machiavellian complications of geo-political real-politik!

When Dante goes to the moon imaginatively he does not see borders but one earth which he calls a garden and then he exclaims: “I saw that garden which makes us such savages.” Food for thought!

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