The Corner

National Security & Defense

The EU: Bad for Democracy, Britain and the US

Writing in the New Statesman, prominent eurofundamentalist Charles Grant argues that “Brexit would be bad not just for Britain but also for Europe and the rest of the world.”  He’s wrong, of course, and much of what he has to say is laughable

[The EU] is a beacon of Western values – democratic government, the rule of law and market economics – and does its best to make its neighbours respect those values.

Well no, Charles.

The EU is a project deliberately designed to hollow out democracy; it is post-democratic.

Here (to take one example amongst many) is Jean-Claude Juncker, today the president of the European Commission, on the French referendum on an EU constitution:

 “If it’s a Yes, we will say ‘on we go’, and if it’s a No we will say ‘we continue’”.

And that’s what the EU did, bypassing the French No vote with the Lisbon Treaty.

The rule of law?

Nope, not when it gets in the way of the EU’s own ambitions.

Here’s Christine Lagarde, then the French finance minister, now (disgracefully) in charge of the IMF:

“We violated all the rules because we wanted to close ranks and really rescue the euro zone…”The Treaty of Lisbon was very straight-forward. No bailout.”

The lawlessness flows down from the very top.

And the corporatist EU as a beacon of ‘market economics’?

Give me a break.

But I can imagine American readers beginning to sigh, turn their minds to South Carolina, and wonder why all this  EU stuff matters to them.

Well, there are plenty of reasons, not least the fact that the EU was—and is—profoundly anti-American.

And there’s more than an echo of this in what Grant has to say:

The EU can act alone or in alliance with the US, often tempering the unilateralist instincts of the Americans. Indeed, without the EU, the West would be a much more American concept – with important satellites such as Britain, France, Germany and Japan following in the Americans’ wake – than it is today.

The Europeans are strong believers in global governance, another unfashionable but important concept. They understand that, without effective international institutions and rules, strong countries can bully weak ones. Given the strength of the United States, it is not surprising that the Americans are often lukewarm in their commitment to global governance; they do not like to be constrained.

And the EU wants to see America “constrained”. Have no doubt about that.


It is the Europeans who play a pre-eminent role in the UN, the international financial institutions and the World Trade Organisation. It is the US that is sometimes slack in paying its UN dues and more often prepared to act militarily without the authorisation of the UN Security Council…

Ever since the 1990s the EU has pioneered global efforts to limit carbon emissions and it played a vital role in forging the Paris accord in December; the US, China and India have often dragged their feet on efforts to tackle climate change….

Cynics may see global governance as high-minded hot air, with little connection to the forces shaping the real world, but it matters.

Grant is right.  What he calls ‘global governance’ does matter, and not in a good way. To him, global governance is not a sensible patchwork of agreements between sovereign states, but something rather different, the transfer of sovereignty away from national control to an unaccountable oligarchy of supranational ‘experts’, acting, of course, in the best interests of us all.

It is the antithesis of democracy.


 So long as the EU exists, it will bang the drum for global governance and implore the Americans to be more respectful of it.

“More respectful”

So yes, what happens to the EU does matter to Americans. The weaker the EU is, the better it will be for the US. To the extent that Brexit would weaken the EU (a separate debate), that’s yet another reason for Americans to cheer it on.

If repatriating democracy to one of this country’s closest allies is not reason enough for you, that is. 


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