The European Union is the most undemocratic of institutions which exists only to serve the interests of those who for some reason are unable or unfit to enter the political hierarchy in their own member states and who pander to the interests of a clique of schemers and dreamers living in cloud cuckoo land under some demented illusion of a Quixotic chimera: a united Europe.
I was born outside the European Union in a country whose government had the bright idea to enter, without holding a referendum. I moved from this country to another one in Europe but outside the Union – Portugal. Again, the Government of this country decided to join. Without asking anyone. Nobody asked me where or how the money should be spent, nobody asked my opinion as to whether the structural funds were being well applied.
The US economist Michael Porter was asked to write a report, which was received with a scoffed sneer of derision by the Government of the then Prime Minister Anibal Silva (now President of Portugal), the man who claimed rarely to be in the wrong and usually in the right, through whose hands billions of Euros passed.
For what? The immediate result was a policy of public works which has gone on unabated in Portugal since the mid-1980s without producing any tangible results other than socio-economic indicators which become ever more depressing as countries like Cyprus and Malta move up the table and Portugal flounders and sinks lower and lower.
It is ironic that today a group of ex-Ministers of Finance of Portugal should be visiting President Silva, when it was precisely he who was the father of massive public spending in Portugal. Nobody asked me if I wanted Maastricht, nobody asked me if I wanted Nice, nobody asked me if I wanted the Treaty of Lisbon. Nobody asked me if I wanted to join the Euro and promptly see prices shoot up three-, four- or five-fold while salaries remained the same.
Nobody told me in any political manifesto that the ones who really control my pension and standard of living, the ones who really control the amount of taxes I pay at the end of the day are some faceless anonymities working in some rating agency on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean called Moody’s or Standard and Poors or Fitch.
They are the ones who unilaterally and anti-democratically attach some credit rating to Spain or Portugal or the Republic of Ireland or Italy or Greece (suppose we call them SPRIGs, symbolizing hope, instead of the derogatory “PIGS” which is an insult to those of us who worked hard all our lives in these countries?) And this credit rating has a direct effect on the coupons (interests) attached to the bonds, or national debt both at maturity (when the time for payment expires) and also upon the ability to sell new bonds (which affects income).
Nobody asked me if I wanted such a ludicrous scheme imposed on me, nobody told me that the financial system being created was unsustainable and subject to speculative raids. Not one single Government or European Institution has protected me even though I have spent decades fulfilling each and every single prerequisite that has been placed upon me.
Now as I near the age to receive my pension, because of the weird and wonderful anti-democratic European Union and its enlightened Eurocrats, I do not even know if I will have one. I do not know if I will receive my holiday subsidy. I do not know if the income I am supposed to receive will be available.
If this is the European Union, then I believe it is time to move one third and final time outside it and this time, never to come back in again.
More than 3,500 people were detained during unprecedented mass protests that swept across all of Russia in support of Alexey Navalny on January 23