Brexit - An opportunity to think again Europe

I declare immediately that, if I had been a British voter, I would have chosen for “leave”. Not because I like Nigel Farage, or because I am a harsh nationalist, enemy of Europe. In my opinion, it would have been a way, maybe the unique one, to send a sharp message to EU governance: enough with this European politics. It was a brave decision, notwithstanding leftist intellectuals emunctae naris, who have interpreted the vote as the victory of rural and backward neighborhood against the “smart people” of London and Edinburgh.

It is quite clear that this interpretation is untrue and feckless. Scotland has largely voted for “remain” and Scotland is a largely rural country. Moreover, “leave” won in the northern districts of England that are largely industrial, even if severely hit by economic crisis and unemployment. The majority of English citizens has rather voted “leave” because they do not feel to be a part of a democratic process anymore. Anonymous and unelected officials (such as Troikas, Commissions and so on) take the fundamental decisions that determine daily life and future of entire nations, without democratic agreement, only following algorithms and economic formula and snubbing the real conditions of peoples.

Moreover, this bureaucratic uncontrolled and uncontrollable dictatorship screens the responsibilities of national governments that are unable to find a common path on fundamental themes as immigration, economic integration, measures to enhance the growth in the entire continent. A recent example: a group of officials has decided a prolongation of the sanctions against Russia for six months, while some European leaders were in St. Petersburg to talk with Vladimir Putin.

In a broadcasting dedicated to Brexit on BBC News, I heard a man, over sixty, who said: “I voted for Brexit and I know that the next two, three years will be hard and difficult, but I have done what I have done for my grandsons, who will go well.” Beyond the substance, I think that this man has simply expressed his will to reaffirm the supremacy of politics over economy, a politics capable to plan for the future generations, without being merely dependent on “zerocomma”, as it was that of de Gaulle, Adenauer, Brandt, Mitterrand, and Kohl. Nowadays it seems that the rudder of the EU is in the hands of frightened dwarfs, who think only in terms of Fiscal Compact and reduction of social expenditure, no matter if Welfare is sinking and poor people literally dies.

We have only little time for a radical change of perspectives. The Spanish elections were dominated by incertitude and fear. The country has to pass the nth exam of an EU commission; otherwise, Spain must pay a big penalty, in spite of heavy sacrifices and cuts pitiless brought to the public balances in the last years by the Rajoy government. After Spain, France, where Marine Le Pen, who cries victory, intends to propose a referendum like the British one. In Italy, we expect the October Referendum about constitutional changes. If political stutter continues, it will surely feel the effects of Brexit and of EU politics, which so much contributed to maintain the longest period of stagnation – recession in the Italian second postwar.[1]

 It is urgent to leave (!) the European rhetoric, a comfortable screen for a total absence of politics. Enough with compromises, poorly drawn-up agreements, (see the bad one with Turkey about the immigrants). It is time to take common and democratically controlled initiatives on strategical themes, as job recovery, scientific research, technological innovation, continental infrastructures, euro governance, and migrations. It is not true that we have no resources to do so. On the contrary, the resources are bigger than ten years ago. For sure, they are very bad distributed and are creating a growing economic disparity. We hope in particular that Germany, with an enormous export surplus of more than 200 billion Euro, starts afresh to think big, shaking off the accountant politics of Mr. Schaeuble and finding again its role of not only economic, but also political and cultural great power at the heart of Europe.

[1] According to the dreadful prediction of Wolfgang Münchau on FT (06.28.16), the next exit could be an “Italexit”.

Claudio Salone

Professor of ancient literatures, Rome -