Time Up For EU?

Has the EU served its purpose?

For 70 years the Union has kept the peace in Europe and that is it’s greatest, some would say only, achievement

The huge amounts of money expended on the EU are worth it when you think of the even huger amount of money it would have cost fighting another European war.

Instead of that, the EU has taught us to get along with other Europeans.

Now, no European government will to be able to demonise another European nation’s citizens which is a pre-requisite for a European government to persuade its citizens to go to war with another European country.

To that extent the EU has served its purpose and can now wind down its activities.

Where it has shown itself to be effective – as in protecting Europe from the predatory practices of American companies, in funding and running R&D programmes and in creating a common market – then it should retain its powers.

In much else, it should hand back its powers to national governments and wither away.

Those countries which want to laze around and enjoy themselves should be left to do so, those countries which want to work hard and create industrial wealth should be alowed to get on with it.

The anti-democratic elitism at the heart of the EU, which was shown when the Irish were told to vote again on the Lisbon Treaty, should be consigned to the dustbin of history.

People hate the ‘we know best’ attitude of the EC elite, hate the non-accountable expenses system for MEPs, hate the lack of audit of EC accounts, hate the lack of accountability of the Eurocracy for its decisions.

In short we hate the lack of democratic accountability and, without democracy, the EU lacks legitimacy.



  1. I agree with you 100%, Terry, and you’re right about the Germans, I’ve been here in Brussels with quite a few of them and they have, as you say, few issues with the EC. Apparently the anti-EU vote in Germany in the recent European Parliament elections was small. Personally I think it would be crazy for the UK to leave the EU but I wish the EU would just stick to what it does best – big stage stuff like trade deals with China – and leave whatever can be left to national governments for national governments to get on with. And they should at least pay lip service to cutting waste and corruption. When you see some Euro politicians like Neelie Kroes you realise what a huge force for good the EU can be. If there were more like her there’d be no issues at all. So I think we’re in agreement here.

  2. You’re right that the EU is an important and topical issue and it’s also relevant to all businesses including technology.
    Perhaps I over-reacted. EU-bashing seems to a favourite hobby in the UK now, motivated by some belief that everything in Britain would be OK if it could break free from EU shackles. The real reason for the British economic problems are outsourcing and offshoring means Britain doesn’t make much anymore, while most of the population counts on house price inflation to underwrite increasing debts which is a road to nowhere.
    The Germans have affordable relatively stable house prices and healthy export industries. They don’t seem to have a problem with the EU despite funding it substantially.
    I just don’t see what’s to be gained by giving up the project at this stage and going back to national governments. It’d be like the USA splitting into individual states again, each with their own currency.
    The EU should do more to combat nonsense like PE takeovers of European companies. Let’s lobby for improvement rather than throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

  3. Is the future of the EU an important and topical issue? Do technologists take an interest in other things than technology? If the answers are No, Terry, then I am suitably chastised.

  4. David, this party political broadcast for UKIP falls short of your usual very high standard of journalism.
    The EU has done a great deal to encourage mobility of labour and to ease trading among European nations through the common currency. The fact that Britain still contines to um and ah about this means it misses out on many of the benefits of membership. Look at the really successful European nations such as Germany, Netherlands and Scandinavia – all enthusiastic members of the EU. It’s wrong to generalise with statements like “people hate…”. Which people precisely, outside of UKIP?
    And I would second others in saying that I come here to read informed commentary about the electronics industry, and of course your occasional forays into other areas are often interesting, but if I wanted to read this kind of thing I’d buy the Daily Mail.

  5. Thank you Bryanroo, appreciated

  6. Quite easily, I think, Gurudatta, if you qualify for EU R&D funding then you’re obviously an organisation which works hard (even if you come from a country which likes to laze around).

  7. David, a well reasoned article. Thank you.

  8. Gurudatta Sardessai

    How can you have a common (European) R&D funding & then allow some countries to laze around and some will work hard…

  9. Couldn’t agree more IC, if his much lamented late Lordship had been on the ballot paper he’d have got my tick.

  10. Well the boondoggle seems to keep the tech industry turning over Stooriefit, which helps me, so I can’t complain. I sort of justify it to my conscience by saying tech boondoggles are good for everyone – certainly do more general good than CAP – but I can’t completely convince myself of that.

  11. Well I now use a debit card which seems to charge a fixed rate per charge instead of the iniquitously high % rate charged on credit cards, Mike.

  12. Whenever the word boondoggle is mentioned you can be sure that in the EU it is state subsidy disguised as industrial R&D, and in the US it is state subsidy disguised as military R&D.

    It is just the reality of what voters on different sides of the pond are prepared to live with. Are you a GOP small-government/big-military type or a Liberal Elitest neo-Keynesian?

    All governments know it is needed, the trick is to pay up without breaking any of the WTO’s tripwires or getting voted out.

  13. I trust you don’t choose to pay in Sterling when abroad – the commission is often up to 6% on those credit card machines. Indeed in some countries (e.g. Spain) the hotel gets a kickback on encouraging you to pay in non-Euros !!

  14. Yes indeed, artful lodger, one of the very worst things about the EU is its toleration of corruption

  15. The EU is a handy slush-fund. Without it how can we prop-up our industries without looking protectionist? Or indeed grease deals in Europe through “joint proposals” or other fund-grubbing jollies?
    I am aware of council departments who clearly thought up some twaddle to talk their way into accessing a funding pot – now they scrabble around trying to work out what they need to actually do to qualify for it?
    EU is corruption – but so what – everything is now.

  16. Exactly DB, parties not governments. When governments demonise other nationalities we’re in real trouble. That’s exactly why parties which demonise other nationalities should never be elected to become governments

  17. “no European government will to be able to demonise another European nation’s citizens”.

    Isn’t that precisely what various far right parties and UKIP are trying to do? And are they not getting an increasing share of the vote?

  18. Well, fabrice, our post-war politicians in the UK – guys who fought in the war – sold us the idea of EU integration primarily as a means to stop a European war happening again. You may be right that the EU had nothing to do with accomplishing this, but my humble opinion is that it had everything to do with it. And where else in the world do you see this combination of large companies, small companies, universities and research institutes to pursue R&D? I would argue that this is entirely down to the EU.

  19. Good stuff Chris, everything you say has credence even though I disagree with it. Europe is a massively different place to 1945 because of the much freer movement of people across it and, when you know other nationalities, you learn to share and appreciate the reality of a common humanity. And that appreciation makes war unlikely. Personally I think the EU helped that process along but I may be wrong. As for R&D I’ve seen great technological successes – MegaProject, JESSI, MEDEA – and I think the uniquely European combination of universities, companies and research institutes which these programmes have helped bring about are entirely due to EU organisation and funding. And, standing as a bulwark against the personal privacy invasions and anti-competitive conduct of the US tech companies is, IMHO, something which only the strength of Europe can accomplish. So I’ve said my piece now – but I accept your view as perfectly valid.

  20. Well, Nikolai, the readers of Mannerisms are sophisticated intelligent people who have wider interests than electronics. Clearly the EU dilemma is in peoples’ minds today, sometimes the comparative vintages of Bordeaux or the inqiuities of bankers need discussion – between educated men of the world all these topics are of interest. Of course there will be some who confine themselves to the electronics articles and that’s their privilege.

  21. Yes absolutely Mike the euro should be unwound. And I don’t see why it would be tricky – these days you get a choice when abroad of whether you want to pay a credit card charge in the local foreign currency or your own home currency so I assume – though I don’t really have a clue – that electing to use any particular currency for any particular transaction these days is no big deal.

  22. The second part of this article makes sense, the first is utter claptrap – sorry! The EU has done zilch to ensure the peace. That would be nuclear weapons and NATO! Even they have only been a partial success as I’m sure the people of the Balkans can testify. As for the EU meddling in Ukraine… Talk about utterly inept.

    Additionally the so called EU R&D projects like framework 7 are a most inefficient boondoggle designed to throw money at large corporations who frankly don’t need it.

    Furthermore the insanity of EU regulations supposedly defining a common market having to apply to the vast number of companies who don’t sell to Europe is beyond belief.

    I shall now dismount my high horse!

  23. David Manners,

    I’m subscribed to Electronics Weekly only because it is suppose to be an “electronics” magazine.
    Could you keep your political thoughts either for yourself or publish them in another online much more dedicated press?
    And who are you representing anyway by saying “we hate” this and that, I guess UKIP voters?!?

  24. To do what you suggest, and I’m not saying it’s a good or bad idea, the whole Euro common currency thing would need to be unwound. This is not an easy task as Scotland will find out if it goes independent but as MT on Spitting Image once said “Scotland ? Oh you mean the testing ground.”

  25. The EU has prevented the war in europe ? In my pocket I hold a lucky coin which protects me of tiger attacks. IT’s work ! I have been never attacked by a Tiger in my Life ! EU is such a lucky coin.

    I would say that democracy, communication progress, travels made possible (by the economique prosperity of the 60’s), nuclear dissussasion, and so on, have certainly make a war in the heart of Europe no longer possible.

    But the EU technostructure ? What are you smoking ? Seriously the EU have been possible because of a state of peace (which is mainly a society state, due to technical and economical post war progress), and no the other way around.

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