Is the EU unravelling? We can only hope. The Luxembourg foreign minister’s outburst this week, lambasting Hungary for its migration policies, reminds us that the EU is not a glorious union of European peoples — it’s an oligarchy, whose anti-democratic edicts pit rich countries against poor, northern Europe against southern Europe, west against east.
Last week Brexit minister David Davis said “we want a steadfast and successful European Union after we depart”. I disagree. Brexit wasn’t about British exceptionalism. It was a strike for democracy, a continuation of the progressive struggle that has defined modern European history. And if all Europeans are to enjoy true democracy, the EU must end.
Should Hungary be kicked out of the EU, expelled from this technocratic clique for having the gall to say elected representatives, not eurocrats, should decide migration policy? No. It should leave voluntarily and democratically, in the name of self-determination, as Britons have. And every other European nation should follow.
Denis MacShane, former minister of Europe, senior adviser at Avisa Partners and author of Brexit: How Britain Left Europe, says No.
Politicians criticising another EU member are usually playing to the gallery of domestic politics – it is something British politicians have specialised in for years. Luxembourg’s foreign minister Jean Asselborn is a veteran socialist who has to keep his profile high in his coalition-run country. Within the Party of European Socialists he was famous for defending Luxembourg’s banking secrecy laws.
Very few EU member states treat refugees decently. Slovakia’s Prime Minister says Islam has no place in his country. Hungary’s leader Viktor Orban says Brexit is a “fantastic opportunity” for an illiberal cultural revolution in the EU. This kind of fatuous statement produces its equal and opposite reaction.
There is nothing easier in European politics than having a bash at a leader you don’t like. Big politicians rise above such childish behaviour. Europe has few big politicians. Brexit, if anything, is making the EU hang together – for fear of being hanged separately.