Big hulking lefty bureacracy.
Which unfortunately is roughly how the right see it, and obviously they like that even less than I do.
The EU is, by the nature of its goals and history, quite a complicated beast. Getting countries to agree on something is tricky. Getting countries to agree to agree on things is even more complicated.
In terms of development, I’d recommend doing some actual research, but it can be summarised thusly. Europe has its second big internal war in a few decades, realises it needs to not do that any more and it so it needs to work more cohesively (also, that Stalin guy was really helpful in fighting that Hitler guy, but he still has an untrustworthy mustache, one to watch).
So a series of treaties and communities and pacts and agreements are reached, over the next few decades, bringing more and more co-operation between more and more countries in Europe.
Then the Soviet Union collapses, walls come crashing down and the whole thing kicks off. Huge divisions splinter and fail and Europe bonds. Something officially called the European Union starts to exist not long afterwards and within it, amazingly, borders are ignored.
The whole thing has been driven by this desire for a market and Europe without borders. Britain and others bailed out of the Schengen deal, and it perpetually makes me sad (though obviously, anyone anti-immigration feels differently).
To me, it’s the most amazing feeling, and the most unique thing about mainland Europe. Last summer I hitched to Münster in North Germany. We travelled with English, Belgians, French and Germans. We crossed borders again and again, and it barely even registered. We met people who worked in one country and lived in another. Commutes across borders. We heard of people who had families scattered across countries. We heard people judging their neighbour’s national stereotypes, but also ignoring them.
In short, we moved through a continuous community of people. People that were part of a nation, and part of something bigger.
It means something to be European.
Now, in terms of politics, I think that most decisions should be made in communities of an appropriate size. A decent system of community should be granularized enough that decisions can be made with relevant groups. My street should decide things that affect my street, my neighbourhood by my neighbourhood, my city by my city, and my country by my country.
The thing is, that we live in a world where many of our simplest decisions have huge, global impact.
As much as I like community engagement and small scale self led autonomy, I also think there needs to be bigger things. Grander communites in which people are still empowered, and the rights of all are respected.
We need a union to look after our Europe. We need another to look after our world.
The world is going to splinter. The EU has a chance to make us change.
Move us forward safely.
I don’t know how.
Illustration by Adam.
This week unstruck discusses the Finland Election results from last week. Nationalist party True Finns gained +32 seats in the parliament, and became the 3rd biggest party. This has been a very surprising and alarming result for everyone, and raises the question ‘why?’.