We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Looking west at the EU from across lake Balaton

Hungarian economist Daniel Antal has read various anti-EU articles on the Samizdata and wonders how differently the EU looks depending on where you look at it from

We Europeans keep on asking from each other time to time a question, always and always again, and we find no answer. A Greek lawyer has asked me this question again about two hours ago: Why the hell are the British still in the European Union? Why can’t they quit? They seem to hate it, we seem to like it, they always block its evolution, we always complain on their obstruction… David Carr, can you explain to me, why won’t the British quit? Wouldn’t it benefit both sides?

Tony Blair keeps on lying about it all the time, because he could never sell the European federation to the public. Last time he returned from the summit with the lie that Europe is getting a new shape after Britain. He keeps on saying that Britain will never give up sovereignty, although she already has. In the meantime, the Convention has gathered to finish the European constitution…

I come from a country where the case law of the European Court of Justice, a source of the new constitution, is hopelessly liberal for my fellow citizens. I come from a country which could never dream of such a liberal legal order like the European Community law, and which would never get such a liberal constitution as the European one will be. Human rights groups and civil liberty groups are counting back the days when we’ll be members of the Union, by that time the European Bill of Rights, the new declaration on European human rights will be legally binding.

For many European countries European jurisdiction means liberalism. And there are many countries which would love to join in. I think many countries would love to be members instead of the British. So, why not?

Daniel Antal (London/Budapest)

[Editor replies: Daniel asks some interesting questions which I think demonstrate the profound difference between the Anglosphere and much (though not all) of continental Europe.

The EU’s “liberal” order is nothing of the sort (unless you use the word in its debased sense as code for ‘socialist’ which I suspect Daniel is not doing). For Hungary, with its recent communist past still a vivid memory, perhaps it might look that way but the truth is rather different. The EU offers the political classes of eastern Europe their best chance of clinging to a vestige of power by preventing the change and prosperity that a less statist capitalist order would bring… and as some eastern European societies are still wracked with the corrupting legacy of communism, the EU might seem vastly preferable.

Yet I suspect Daniel says much when he says “and there are many countries which would love to join in”… yes, but I am not a country Daniel and neither are you. People need to understand that the interests of a ‘country’ usually means the interests of the political class of a state, not the people within that country. The EU has nothing to offer except mediocrity and well funded structural unemployment.]

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