The European Union gets a bad rap when, in fact, it often running like clockwork! It doesn’t necessarily make the headlines, but the European Union is gradually establishing itself as a significant power.
Commercially, democratically, diplomatically and fiscally, things are moving forward. Too fast for some, not fast enough for others. But the progress is undeniable. Supported by an effective Franco-German team, the European Union is making headway. Take the defense sector. In 2017, the Council adopted the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) agreement, which lays the practical foundations of a pan-European military industry - supply the EU’s armed forces which, don’t forget, have almost eradicated piracy in the Gulf of Aden. One step forward among many, and something that it is important to remember as we approach the European elections on the last weekend of May. Of course, all this progress is ignored, sometimes in bad faith, by the many populist parties that have made nationalism their stock in trade.
Happier than ever
European citizens are well aware of the benefits of the Union. According to the latest Euro-barometer survey, conducted in 2018, 55% of French people are convinced that membership of the EU is a good thing, with only 13% believing the opposite. It is the highest approval rating since the barometer was first launched in 1983.
The Europe of peoples dear to the founding fathers is becoming a reality. It has come long way since the signature of the European Coal and Steel Community in 1951. Sixty-eight years on, it is worth remembering the many success stories. They will warm the hearts of doubting Europhiles and could tip the balance for the undecided. And perhaps even encourage the really confused who fear a loss of national sovereignty.
The EU’s increase in power is not to the detriment of individual member states, quite the opposite in fact. It allows them to play in the big leagues on equal terms with the two 21st century superpowers: the United States and China. Without the EU, countries would, among other things, be forced to negotiate trade agreements from a weak position, import products with high tariffs and see their national currencies weakened by speculators. This is the threat that now hangs over the United Kingdom: it has chosen to go it alone - and has risked loss losing bigtime by doing so.
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