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Monday, May 27, 2024
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Decline and fall of the EU’s values

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UGO Bardi, professor of physical chemistry at the University of Florence, has severed all links with academia in protest at their creeping wokery. He is a founder member of the Club of Rome, and has published on a wide variety of scientific and political issues. On his blog, The Seneca Effect,  he has been contemplating European history, and has concluded that the EU has problems. Noting the rise and fall of previous European empires, he concludes that this time round, the resources which made the previous empires successful were no longer there. Still, it was never inevitable that the EU would destroy itself. Breaking ties with other Eurasiatic powers has precipitated not just an economic, but also a cultural and moral, suicide. 

He sees a signal of failure early on, in the choice of the EU flag: ‘While never intended as works of art, flags are however meant to inspire,’ he opines. ‘This one is completely flat, unoriginal and depressing. It looks mostly like a blue cheese pizza gone bad.’

But the EU is still with us, and continues to flaunt its cherished values which all member states are expected to follow. As well as dignity and human rights, freedom and equality, there is great emphasis on the fundamental importance of democracy and the rule of law. These are essential to fulfil its aims, which include promoting peace, economic growth, price stability, and strict observance of international law. 

This is echoed by the Commission President’s State of the Union address in September. Ursula von der Leyen stressed supporting Ukraine in the war with Russia, weathering the energy crisis, supporting especially SMEs to strengthen economic competitiveness, and continuing to stand up for democracy and the rule of law. 

Well, that’s gone well, hasn’t it? Von der Leyen’s fine words are somewhat at odds with the current scenario. Germany is furious with Switzerland for not allowing the re-export of armaments to Ukraine, but has plans to side-step this by building a new armaments factory in Germany. Reuters confirms that while growth has been sustained during 2022, it is forecast to drop to 0.3 per cent next year. Meanwhile the driver of the EU’s economic power – Germany – is hurtling towards recession, exacerbated by inflation and the energy crisis. 

Adherence to the rule of law is also looking shaky. The multi-billion euro contract with BioNTech/Pfizer to supply Covid vaccine negotiated by von der Leyen has come under intense scrutiny by the European Court of Auditors, and text messages shared with Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla have been reported in the New York Times.  And of course, the very nature of the Commission, which is appointed, not elected, throws further doubt on their genuine enthusiasm for democracy. 

At the next level, the EU Parliament, the values also reign supreme. Its President, Roberta Metsola, has stated that ‘Europe is a beacon of the defence of democracy. It symbolises hope, courage and belief. This is the legacy of our Europe. The legacy of this house. The legacy of the last 70 years.’  

These words too are a world away from the conduct of its officers. Two of the Parliament’s fourteen vice-presidents have been forced to resign under a cloud: Silvana Koch-Mehrin following accusations of massive plagiarism in her doctoral thesis at Heidelberg University; and Ryszard Czarnecki, following investigations of fraud relating to his travel expenses.  

These pale into insignificance compared with the corruption scandal currently engulfing the Parliament. Offices have been sealed off, and Greek MEP Eva Kaili has been stripped of her vice-presidential role, following the uncovering of suitcases full of euros, allegedly paid as bribes by Qatari sources. 

Never mind, Germany wants to retain importing supplies of gas from Qatar; while Hungary continues to suffer accusations of rule-of-law failings there, though this country arguably is the last country left actively defending the West’s values. 

We need only look at the EU’s latest video release, proclaiming its values of ‘Growing Together’, to see how corrupted the message has become. That is, if it is still accessible. Very soon after being posted, the video was taken down, accused of being ‘racist’ and ‘sexist’. The video, intended to promote the benefits of EU enlargement, shows three men from various ethnic minorities using threatening martial-arts skills surrounding a young white woman dressed in a yellow jumpsuit similar to that worn by the heroine in the Hollywood Kill Bill movies.

In fact corruption has been endemic in the EU for decades. This is par for the course as empires decline – in-fighting, corruption, running out of money, and using war as a distraction. But Ugo Bardi points out that most of these European empires survived much longer than the fragile association of states that is the EU. 

Could it really get as desperate as Bardi imagines? Is Europe in the gradual process of regression into a devastating recurrence of the Middle Ages: depopulated, poor, primitive, a mere appendage of the great Eurasian continent?

To the wise, the signals, like the pizza going bad, were there right from the start.

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Janice Davis
Janice Davis
Janice Davis is a grandmother and former girls’ grammar school teacher

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