The EU has lost its bite. The facts are overwhelmingly pointing to this reality, in the form of a failed attempt at controlling its access to vaccines, and putting itself at the top of the receiver’s list. The UK sailed ahead of its former diplomatic partner, partly due to a need for recovering from a crippling public health situation, but more simply because as the UK was making important unilateral decisions, the EU was still in the boardroom trying to convince the renegade governments of Poland and Hungary to side with it. They enacted veto powers to block crucial funding at a time the EU was negotiating a budget.
The veto power will end up killing more people until it is stopped. Inaction is as bad as aggression, and the EU has tied itself up in order to placate member states whose governments are increasingly isolationist.
Not only that, but outside the EU, our standing in the world has been diminished by a lack of commitment to strong diplomacy, economic sanctions and the environment. Effective Sanctions on Russia for the detention of Navalny and expulsion of EU diplomats have been met with only a limited effort from individual member states.
We are trying to save the environment. Why not stop the import of gas? This would really threaten the Russian economy to give our diplomatic power a jolt of energy, and affect the type of change we try to convince ourselves we can cause. Unfortunately, all it takes is a small number of countries to enact a veto. Even if the vast majority support a policy.
Simply, we need to stop the Veto powers that the EU Member States have. Reinvigorate the economy, without worrying about countries such as Ireland or Luxembourg (and lately Poland and Hungary) hindering progressive policies. We could even implement a rule of “simple or qualified” majority in the event of emergency discussions to prevent stagnating progress in times of crisis (in which we are most certainly trapped).
Partnerships sour when the same problems are unaddressed. The EU needs to negotiate a new treaty. It has been over 11 years since the Lisbon Treaty (2009) came into effect, and since then there has been a tremendous expansion of the EU’s communities. We are failing in the Coronavirus and climate catastrophes, we are failing in diplomacy, we are failing in economy, we are failing in providing our most vulnerable the help they need. And it is because of the resistance of the few.
The EU evolved from the demand of the people and governments of Europe that we will not see our people suffer from war ever again. That the communities of Europe would always move in the direction of positive, just progress. It no longer lives up to this demand, and this might very well be the reason for the rise of the types of isolationism and populism that threaten its existence.
My emphatic demand: renegotiate the Treaties of Europe for the new EU Generation, kill the Veto, and implement simple or qualified majority measures. Start behaving as the influence for positive change that the EU was founded on, and start really helping the people and the environment we vow daily to help and protect.