In many ways the EU is a functioning technocracy, and if you ever read through the actual EU documents it shows. They are almost always sound, they are also massively bureaucratic and around 90% longer than necessary, but I’ve never read through something that wasn’t sound.
Disclaimer: I haven’t read up on article 13, but I do read (and sit through) a good deal of EU standards and proposals for EU wide Enterprise Architectural principles, and they are never thwarted by politics.
Sound in respect to very general interpretations and "common sense". The problem is that general laws can touch topics that are way beyond common sense, the room of interpretation is then just so big that it's like a weapon to take out anybody if you only dig deep enough and frame it as a problem for the common good.
The EU is far from "perfectly functioning". It functions pretty well but it's not perfect. There's some non-negligible group in pretty much every country that rightfully has some major gripe with the EU. If there wasn't we wouldn't have things like Brexit. I get that you can't please everyone but if the UK GTFOing isn't indicative of some sort of imperfection than I don't know what is.
This is so deeply wrong it's offensive.
The EU is co-ruled by an opaque system of non elected bodies, under the table deals, and backroom diplomacy.
And those are mostly official establishment narratives -- if you look at critiques from the left (and libertatians) the picture is much much bleaker.
The EU council (comprising of democratically elected heads of government from the 28 member countries)
The EU parliament (comprising of directly elected MEPs from the 28 member countries)
The EU commission president, nominated by the council, approved by the parliament, and standing on a ticket to be EU Commission president during the parliamentary elections
The EU commissioners, appointed by the democratically elected heads of government from the 28 members
Laws are only passed by agreement by the democratically elected council and the democratically elected MEPs.
In actual EU, decisions are made by informal bodies like the Eurogroup, meeting under close quarters and with no documentation, with economic and diplomatic pressure from top dog countries, with satellite states vote how their sugar daddy states ask them, and a whole lot more besides.
Representative democracy, with it's paltry accountability except every 4 years, gerrymandering-schemes (not a US-only problem), typically revoked election promises, backroom talks, corruption, and private interests paying politicians is already undemocratic enough as it stands.
And suddenly removing the voters even further (as in the EU Commission), or adding "bodies" with no officially defined role and protocol, and closed discussions, like the Eurogroup, is "democratic" because those involved were "democratically elected finance ministers" under unrelated to the EU national elections.
With the EU, the process is formalized, opened up for scrutiny at many levels (sure, they could be more, there are people working on that problem), and then everyone can have a say through the European Court of Justice process.
The fact of the matter is that we live in an increasingly globalized world, and we must find ways to live together without resorting to the traditional genocidal ways (which are now practically unsustainable - a serious war on the continent would produce hundreds of millions of casualties). Somewhere, the political sausage-making has to happen.
So just like any other democracy in the world. Do you really believe things are different in the House of Commons or the senate?
I live in a very poor EU country (out of choice) and most young people fuck off to Germany or France because their home states have no jobs for them. They don't come back either which causes a massive brain drain on these places. Ask the so called middle class in Croatia, Slovakia, Italy what they think of the EU and how well it works for them. Avg salary in these places is 500 to 1000 EUR. And if you visit supermarkets all they have is shit. Literally everything like fresh veg tastes like feet because the good stuff that is locally produced gets exported to the rich places. Companies have 2 production lines making low-grade products (despite being the same brand) for these markets. I'm not an arm-chair bureaucrat who forms his opinion on Google. I actually live in these placed because despite all this shit and poverty the people are actually warm.
One more example: thousands of people wiping arses in nursery homes in Germany are working through shady polish, slovenian, etc outsourcing companies where they're stripped of all benefits that a German would enjoy. They work for 500 to 1000 / month (in a high cost country) because their home country has no jobs for them. Then they're being exploited by the rich EU countries.
Again I lived in Germany, ran 2 companies there, lived in France (operated 3 businesses), now I live in Eastern EU. As much as I want the EU to succeed I can't be blind to the hypocrisy that I see every day on the streets in my own surrounding.
Almost all of these things are in the jurisdiction of the member states themselves, and the EU has little power to control them.
If the EU didn't exist, Germany would still be staffing its nursing homes with cheap(er) foreign labour, just done under a visa rather than EU freedom of movement.
If the EU didn't exist, companies would still produce high-quality products for rich markets, and low-quality products for poor markets. (If you want a fascinating example of this, read this Twitter thread about the manufacture of sanitary pads in Africa - https://twitter.com/aprzhu/status/1083278476310913024)
If the EU, ceased to exist, would eastern European supermarkets no longer be filled with "shit", or would local producers continue to export their good produce where they can get the most money for it?
There is a tendency to avoid criticism of the EU and congratulate it for things it does not do, but it is also a mistake to assign all the ills of Europe to it, when blame for them is much more accurately laid on national governments.
Or worse: the care would be become too expensive and peoples arses wouldn't be wiped at all..
It's not as if Poland and Hungary would have been booming economic superpowers if it hadn't been for the EU. The people fleeing their country because of the lack of jobs won't suddenly find new jobs if they can't leave.
The exploitation of cheap, foreign labour is an issue though and it's not just hurting the people being exploited; the natives of the country the exploitation takes place in will see their wages drop if some shady outsourcing company can have the same work done for half the price. Those old people don't want their assets wiped by someone who can barely understand their language either but they need to put up with it because of cost-saving measures that has degraded the level of care. This is something the EU can change, but the many labourers who'd be out of a job if the EU added more restrictions to foreign travel wouldn't agree with changing the policy to make them unemployed.
The double production line issue would just come back in a different fashion if quality goods weren't exported; there'd be no money to be made selling most of the goods, so they either become a luxury product or only the cheap, garbage production line remains.
Despite all the known problems, countries like Albania, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia are all applying for (or already negotiating) a position within the EU. If they would really be better off without the "dysfunctional" EU, they'd form their own bloc or remain independent. Even for poor countries, the EU brings benefits.
Case in point, the EU is already working to prevent/mitigate this : per 2021, local business must pay adequate local wages even to foreign workers.
do you know why they do this? They can see how easy it is to milk the EU for money in ways that benefit these mafia states. The major of Zagreb is connected to the Bosnian Mafia, he just spent some time in hospital (the mafia put him there but you won't read this in the news). The top lawyer of Zagreb is an asset for the mob. If you want to kill somebody here it's possible to make that happen for very little money. Have you been to Albania, or Macedonia? You should seriously go there before assuming that absorbing them in the EU is a good idea. I'm all for bringing in the people of these countries but before that can be done the organized crime there needs to be cleaned up. The result otherwise is that you'll enrich those that don't deserve it.
The TV series McMafia was set in Croatia (even the non-fiction book and the TV show plays out in a global theater). There are good reasons why that country was chosen for the series. You want to meet some dangerous people? I can introduce you to the guy who shot the Minister of Tourism here not so long ago - he is my age and now runs a drug ring in Austria. This is common knowledge here and as normally talked about as the weather.
Ah yes the guy who now runs Rimac (the super-car company that competes against Tesla) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rimac_Concept_One his father is also connected.
My GF's sister was recently alerted by the owner of the building that the mob has asked them to isse them with keys to their flat because they refused to sell it. The person refused to hand it over and alerted her. The poor girl now lives in fear every day.
The Balkan is the wild fucking west. I live in one of the most civilized parts of the region and love it here, because it's also easy to stay away from this all. If you think for one second that the state would want to ( or even could) protect you, you'd be wrong because they're all part of it. If you're rich you don't pay any fines, if you're poor you get fucked. It's always been this way and thanks to globalization it's getting worse (more ruthless competition from foreign mobs fighting over territory).
I can go on and on ... but Misha Glenny's "McMafia" really explains it all rather well.
The gilet jaunes were/are angry about a carbon tax and lack of wealth taxes. Not Brussels or brain drain.
The EU's Common Agricultural Policy, though not perfect, keeps huge swathes of rural Europe afloat. Its regional development funds builds infrastructure in areas that can't afford it.
You can't really blame the EU for bland vegetables either. That's just silly. The French aren't exactly appropriating Croatian tomatoes by force. It just means that (thanks to the EU) producers can get a higher price for their goods by exporting tariff-free to another country, so they do. Why wouldn't they?
Obviously they were victims of the "Kremlin anti-western propaganda"...
Yanis Varoufakis gives good insight into what happened. e.g. "The Euro Has Never Been More Problematic" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhSg9X3q2gc
Germany should not and can not be made responsible for bailing these countries out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QtrrN2uWUl8
Russia is the most extreme example of the phenomenon.
- lived in France
- now I live in Eastern EU
Seems like you're getting plenty of benefits out of the EU.
Most of the issues you mention, while acknowledging that they're real, are not caused by the EU.
Yet it never is when crossing nations' borders, except within the EU. How can you then say that the EU is not functioning?
> I alone make that possible not some political entity.
Except for the armed border guards, the national rules on who can work in a nation, the police who can deport you if you don’t obey the rules, sure.
Aren’t those often the same people?
On the other hand, in the UK, Tesco, Waitrose, and Sainsbury’s are all at least as good as their German equivalents; and (beyond the EU) even the worst EU supermarket was better than almost every supermarket I saw in the USA.
I never paid attention to the price of groceries when shopping in Germany because growing up poor I always had the attitude not to be stingy with food and only buy what appealed the most. Coming to France I had to pay attention and actually look at the label because I might pick stuff that I simply couldn't afford. Doing this in Germany I might end up paying for regular groceries 250,-- (avg feeding a family), while in France I might pay 800 or more if I didn't pay attention. The first few times had to actually return once the cashier presented my bill.
I live in India, where complaints of brain drain are the main topic of discussion among adults here, and the main thing politicians love to blame when looking for excuses. There are no feasible ways to ""solve"" brain drain without either a) taking away people's choices - North Korea has no brain drain, or b) Making your country's incentives better so the problem becomes irrelevant. If you want b, then the term "brain drain" is bad because it is almost always seen as an attack on the choice of people moving out. Use a different, more specific, and more understandable term.
Germany tackles benefit abuse as migration soars from eastern EU https://www.reuters.com/article/us-germany-immigration/germa...
Germany benefits from the exploitation of Eastern European workers – a shocking documentary of BR television channel https://trans.info/en/germany-benefits-from-the-exploitation...
Europe's 'food apartheid': are brands in the east lower quality than in the west? https://www.theguardian.com/inequality/2017/sep/15/europes-f...
Food brands 'cheat' eastern European shoppers with inferior products https://www.theguardian.com/inequality/2017/sep/15/food-bran...
Trouble with your argument is she’s from the Philippines, which isn’t in the EU.
It’s not even a problem with globalisation, the usual next scapegoat, but a problem with unequal gains being combined with literally exponential growth. The EU does at least try to counteract that by getting all nations to invest 1% GDP in EU projects including projects designed to lift the poorest EU regions out of relative poverty.
> because the good stuff that is locally produced gets exported to the rich places
The cynic in me would say this is an example of the EU functioning very well, for it's intended purpose of funnelling resources to those of the equal who are more equal than others? ;)