After Brexit, the EU seems a terminal patient. When we do nothing, the EU will fall apart. It will drift to the lowest state of entropy and dis-integrate. Nationalism will rise, the economy will suffer, poor people will suffer, upper-class people will become poor, violent political extremists will seize power, nations will be at each others throat and the road to World War III will be paved. With so many weapons stockpiled in the world, it is hard to believe that we will survive. Quite soon we will be an extinct species. If we do nothing.
There is an alternative road. We can see Brexit as a blessing, as an opportunity. The people of England were complaining about the lack of democracy in the EU. But their leaders refused to give up power and accept further integration. Without England it is much more easy to take the next steps to further integration.
In the past, the leaders of the European Nations were also the leaders of the EU. With their backs turned to the EU and to the future, and always looking at their constituents and the past, they shambled backwards and afraid to the future. That behaviour is no longer an option. We need a new breed of European leaders, who have turned their backs toward the past, who face the future with open mind and who take big bold steps towards complete integration. We need leaders to transform the European Union to the United States of Europe.
Some people in Europe have the opinion, that the EU should transform to the UNE, the United Nations of Europe. These people are not Europeans but nationalists. They do not want to give up the sovereignty of the nation.
Nations are something of the European past. They were forged with violence. Different tribes were forced in one nation under one ruler. With the development of the European Union the need for nations dissolved. And the different tribes began to demand separation from the nation. For example. In the Netherlands the Frisians were defeated by the Hollanders. Currently the Frisians have again the Frisian language and the Dutch language. Some Frisians want to separate themselves from the Netherlands.
Many European countries have similar issues. It demonstrates that the nation-states are something of the past. Scotland could become a state of the United States of Europe. Germany is composed of states. Germany could be a state of the USE. But if the Germans desire it, the German states could become states of the USE.
The people of Europe should become first and foremost Europeans. As European you can be a Frisian, or a Basque, or a Scot. I do not say, that we must abandon the nations completely. We should transform the emotional attachment to our own nation. Then we can make rational decisions about the transformation from a collection of nation states to a new entity: The United States of Europe.
A few complaints about the EU are often heard:
The EU is lead by leaders of nations. In the recent past by Merkel, the leader of Germany. Merkel was chosen by a big minority of the Germans, she was not chosen by the people of Europe.
The EU was lead by people who behaved extremely arrogant and who refused to take heed of warnings of the people of Europe. For example. The EU made a trade-agreement with Ukraine. The Dutch organised a referendum about it and said 'No' to the agreement. Then Merkel, Tusk (President of the European Council) and Rutte (at that moment chairman of the national leaders of Europe and prime-minister of the Netherlands) went to Turkey and made a very extensive pact with Erdogan, promising Turks free travelling through Europe. That was 'a bit dumb', to say the least. They sacrificed the last bit of trust of the people of Europe for an agreement about Syrian refugees. This infuriated the people of the Netherlands, who felt betrayed by their own prime-minister. They just had said 'No' to the Ukraine-deal. And the people of England again saw a lack of democracy and got visions of migrating Turks and Kurds towards the UK.
Europe had to deal with the Syrian refugee crisis. This is not a big problem, but a large problem. It is not yet solved, because the European leaders think on a national level and they live in the past. Europe has pieces of land were Syrians can build temporary cities with building materials supplied by the EU. When the war is over, they can return home.
Europe also has to deal with Africans immigrating to Europe. That is a problem without a decent solution. From 1980 to 2016 the population of Africa grew from 477 million to 1.2 billion. Some people believe that the population will double in the next 40 years, but that is not possible. Currently there is not enough water, food and land. That is the main cause of the African crisis. Many Africans are on the run and they find ways to Europe. Europe is a small continent and can not take in millions of Africans. Africa can 'supply' many millions of 'refugees' each year. Europeans fear that their continent will be overrun by Africans and some African 'intellectuals' dream about overrunning Europe. The European leaders try to deal with this problem as they should have dealt with the Jewish refugees prior and during World War II. But it is a different crisis, that can not be solved in a humane way. Europe simply has to keep the Africans out. That means: changing European treaties about human rights and changing European policies towards African refugees. Europe has to become more like Australia. (And Africans should immediately start with birth-control.)
Europe needs European leaders with power to solve the international problems. Not a German and a French leader (Merkel and Hollande) who dominate the rest. What we need is a directly chosen European president, who forms an administration. This president needs to be checked by a senate and a congress, directly chosen by the people of Europe, a strong and clear constitution and a constitutional court.
Currently the European nations all have their own armies with their own agenda's. This is a waste of resources and makes Europe weak towards Russia and towards Africa. We need an European army, directly controlled by the president. When there is a crisis, we should not have to organise a meeting between 27 national leaders before we can deploy our forces.
The refugee-crisis is handled in an appalling way. European leaders stumble from one blunder to the next. They have made insane decisions.
For example: The national leaders decided, that Hungary must take care of a certain amount of refugees. How should Hungary do that? The middle class of Hungary is very poor compared to poor people in the Netherlands or Germany. The Netherlands spends about 45.000 Euro per refugee. If Hungary were to give accommodation equal to the accommodation of Germany or the Netherlands, the people of Hungary would hang their leaders on the nearest tree. If they give accommodation on the level of poor people of Hungary, the refugees will march on to Germany or the Netherlands. The only way to keep refugees in Hungary is to put them behind a very strong fence. And that is not allowed by European treaties.
Greece and Italy were betrayed by the other national leaders of Europe. They were burdened with the refugee-crisis. Only after endless negotiations were other European countries persuaded to do a little. The EU can not survive this kind of nationalistic behaviour. The refugee-crisis is not a national crisis for Greece or Italy, it is an international crisis. And for this kind of crisis Europe needs an European leader, chosen by the people of Europe. That is why Europe has to have a directly chosen president.
The people of Europe need freedom. We feel bullied by civil servants, that execute treaties and general regulations that are imposed upon us. There are to many layers of government and no one is accountable. European regulations are transformed to national laws. National politicians and civil servants put the blame on the EU, but quite often they are responsible for the bullying.
National political leaders come together and make a deal that is imposed upon all the people. Quite often the results are ridiculous and completely unacceptable. But with every agreement only a minority is hurt, so nothing is done about it. For example. The European leaders agreed to do something about the tax-evasion of Google. So they agreed, that for all internet-services companies must pay VAT-tax in the country where the consumer of the services resides. They did not take the trouble to make an exception for small companies. So if you are an artist and you sell mp3's by the internet, and you have one customer in Spain that orders an mp3 for 5 Euro, you have to pay VAT in Spain, even if you live in the Netherlands. Yes, Monty Pythons Flying Circus rules the EU. The European agreements are loaded with that kind of examples. And they are simply not acceptable any more. And that is one of the reasons why the people of England said 'let's get out'.
At the beginning of this century the EU tried to make a constitution. On 1 June 2005 the people of the Netherlands firmly rejected the European constitution. What went wrong? The constitution and the referendum were severely sabotaged by the egoism of Balkenende, at that time prime-minister of the Netherlands and one of the leaders who really made a stand for this constitution. Balkenende was a Christian and he demanded, that his Christian god should be in the constitution. The Netherlands is not a Christian nation. Many Dutch people are allergic to religious bias. In the end, there was no reference to Christian traditions in the proposed constitution. But the harm had been done and many voters in the Netherlands voted against Balkenende and his Christian god. The Netherlands said 'No' to the egoism of Balkenende and in general to the egoism of the national leaders of Europe.
During the 16th and 17th century there were many civil wars in Europe between different Christian cults. People who could not read or write were burned alive for 'reading heretic scriptures'. The civil wars subsided after the Peace of Münster between the Dutch Republic and Spain. After that, the Dutch Republic became the dominating force in the world and it paved the way for religious freedom.
Most people in Europe do not want to go back to religious wars. We can only have peace if people learn to respect the religious freedom of others. If we want an European constitution and a USE that is acceptable to the people, we have to guarantee religious freedom to each and every person and group. That also means that we can not accept any religious bias in official documents. Many people, that call themselves Christians, blame Muslims for imposing their religion on others. Jesus made a statement about this: "Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?" (Matthew 7:3).
If we want peace in Europe, we must accept that other people are different. We must combat the egotism in ourselves and refrain from imposing our values and ideas upon others. When people state that their religion or philosophy is better or more valuable, they attack not only the peace but also the fabric of the USE.
I believe the United Stated of Europe is only possible when it has a firm and solid heart, made out of three principles: Freedom, Peace and Friendship.
Wars begin for two main reasons. 1. Competition over resources. 2. Fights about domination. Competition about resources is unavoidable. But fights about domination are useless. People who try to impose their will upon others are behaving more like apes. Learning to control our animal impulses is a main part of the process of humanising (becoming more human). If we want to avoid war, we should learn to respect each others freedom.
The government of the USE should respect the freedom of the states. At the same time it should guarantee the freedom of the inhabitants of the USE. When a European state limits the freedom of the inhabitants in an unreasonable way, the USE needs to make a stand for the freedom of the inhabitants and impose limits on the freedom of that state. The European constitutional court should make rulings when there are disagreements between the USE, a state and inhabitants.
Peace or harmony
We should not impose ourselves or our values upon others. We should be peaceful towards each other. But what do we do when others disturb our peace?
Freedom and peace often contradict each other. If one party claims freedom to do what it wants then it often disturbs the peace of another party.
The USE should strive for harmony and peace with the states and with the inhabitants of the USE. The states should strive for harmony and peace with the USE, other states and the inhabitants. Conflicts are inevitable. The USE and the states are obliged to try to resolve the conflicts in a peaceful way. When they can not resolve a conflict, the constitutional court of the USE should make a ruling that is as harmonic as possible.
What does it mean to be a good friend? Developing an answer to this question can and should be a life-long quest. But in general: Friends are nice to each other, help each other, stimulate each other and should grant each other benefits. Competition between friends should be stimulating and should not destroy the friendship.
Being a good friend should also mean, that we reproach each other when we deviate from 'the right way'. But what is the right way? How can we establish for a friend that his/her way is 'wrong'. And when we impose our 'truth' upon our friend, we violate the principles of Freedom and Peace. Being a good friend is not easy and not simple.
When we apply the above statements on the relationship between different states of the USE, it becomes much more complex. Sometimes it is essential that some states reproach another state. When one state spends much more than it earns or when a state fails to develop its economy or fails to educate the people in a proper way, we should be able to stimulate each other to perform better.
The three basic principles often contradict each other. The USE and its members will prosper when we succeed in harmonising the basic principles.
The administration of the USE and states will disagree on many issues. These issues will be settled by rulings of the constitutional court. With every ruling, the constitutional court should respect the constitution. But foremost it should respect the three basic principles and encourage the USE, the member-states and the inhabitants of the USE to respect the basic principles.
The biggest challenge to European leaders is to define the boundaries of power of the USE. The people of Europe want and demand freedom. Regions of Europe demand respect for their culture and heritage. There are modern Europeans and there are 'native Europeans' with a tribal culture. In the recent past, the modern Europeans flocked together in Brussels, refused to communicate with the native Europeans, and imposed a continues diarrhea of rules and regulations upon the natives. The native Europeans told the Europeans of Brussels again and again that they had enough, but Brussels did not want to hear. Until the British tribesmen decided to ask for a divorce.
The behaviour of the Europeans in Brussels was unacceptable. We should do whatever we can to prevent this from happening again. And that means, that we need clear boundaries. If we want European nations to transfer their sovereignty to the USE and become states of the USE, then we need to guarantee that the USE will not overstep these boundaries. The boundaries of power should be defined in very clear words in the European Constitution.
Quite often a crisis is a chance to grow. Most problems in our lives are never solved. We simply outgrow them. We should not try to solve the Brexit crisis. We should simply move on and create the United States of Europe. A USE with less bureaucracy and with much more democracy.
With Light and Love, Andreas Firewolf