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European Dream Turns into Dystopian Nightmare

Why We Brits Should Vote for Brexit.

As a Europhile British ex-pat who has spent most of his adult life living on “the continent,” as we Brits are fond of calling the non-British part of Europe, it might seem rather odd to be encouraging my fellow Brits to vote to leave the European Union.

Not so long ago — perhaps a decade or so — I believed that the interests of Britain would be best served if the country was a full-fledged member not only of the EU but of the euro zone. I was wrong, but it was a different time and I was a different, more innocent me.

Total Dependence

By the time the sovereign debt crisis hit Europe in 2010, the full extent of the EU’s ambitions was clear: to slowly, almost imperceptibly, weaken nation-state institutions to the point of total dependence on Brussels; and then have them supplanted with EU institutions. As I wrote in a 2014 article, it is the financial equivalent of death by a thousand cuts. The EU’s weapon of choice was the single currency.

Luckily for Britain, its government had not joined the euro. The Chancellor of the Exchequer at the turn of the century, Gordon Brown, knew that sacrificing the pound would have been electoral suicide. Preserving the national currency has provided the UK with some measure of economic independence and flexibility.

For many other European countries, their economic independence and flexibility died the day they joined the euro. As Spain’s economy minister Luis de Guindos recently put it, “the Eurozone is a club where you can check in but you cannot check out.” The main reason for this is that the euro is merely a means to a much more coveted end — political union, as Germany’s Finance Minister glibly admitted in a 2011 interview with Welt am Sontag:

Schauble: “We decided to arrive at a political union via an economic and currency union. We had the hope – and we still have it today – that the Euro will gradually bring about political union. But we’re not there yet, and that’s one of the reasons why the markets are distrustful.”

Welt am Sontag: “So will the markets now force us into a political union?”

Schauble: “Most member states are not yet fully prepared to accept the necessary constraints on national sovereignty. But trust me, the problem can be solved.”

As Schauble promised, the constraints on national sovereignty in Europe have been severely tightened since 2011. European banking union became a reality last year, transferring supervisory authority over the banking systems of the euro zone’s 19 economies to the ECB, an institution with even less transparency and accountability than the European Commission.

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By Don Quijones, Spain & Mexico, editor at WOLF STREET.



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