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State of the Union

De Facto

Liamy MacNally

WHAT has gone wrong in Europe? There is a war raging and many of us are unaware of it. People are dying, looting is rampant and sovereignty is being ignored. The people of Greece are being pulverised by an economic dictatorship that is mainly responsible for creating the current warzone. Common sense has long since been sidelined.
Respect, integrity and honour have been replaced by greed, power-lust and immorality. These bedfellows are smiling at us in the guise of decision-makers who don suits and pained faces as they appeal to us for support, unconcerned whether or not we give it.    
The founders of the present European Union did so to prevent another war in Europe. These honourable men range from resistance fighters to lawyers, “a diverse group of people who held the same ideals: a peaceful, united and prosperous Europe,” according to the EU website.
It also states: “The European Union is set up with the aim of ending the frequent and bloody wars between neighbours, which culminated in the Second World War. As of 1950, the European Coal and Steel Community begins to unite European countries economically and politically in order to secure lasting peace. The six founders are Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. …in 1957, the Treaty of Rome creates the European Economic Community (EEC), or ‘Common Market.’”
Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom joined the EEC on January 1 1973. In 1981, Greece joined with Spain and Portugal following in 1986. In 1995, Austria, Finland and Sweden joined. Ten new countries joined in 2004, with two more in 2007. Croatia joined in 2013. Nineteen of the 28 countries use the Euro as their currency.
In 2012, eolas magazine tracked the Ireland-EU relationship: “Public opinion and socio-economic conditions have changed considerably since the first Nice Treaty referendum in 2001 and also the second Lisbon Treaty poll in 2009. Eurobarometer polling, which has been conducted in member states since 1973, shows public opinion towards the EU has soured in a country that has traditionally had high satisfaction levels with membership.

Testing times
Trust in the EU has halved since the time Ireland accepted the Lisbon Treaty (from 47 percent to 24 percent), with distrust increasing from 35 percent to 60 percent. In November 2011, only 34 percent of the Irish public felt that the interests of Ireland were well taken into account by the EU, with 54 percent disagreeing. The gap between those who see the EU as a positive thing and those who see it negatively has narrowed from 46 percent in the autumn of 2009 to 11 percent at present.”
Ireland’s relationship with the EU continues to be fraught regardless of Foreign Minister Charlie Flanagan’s remarks that Ireland is the pride of Europe. Why wouldn’t we, when Irish politicians do their bidding? Irish politicians were given a democratic mandate to tackle the malaise and self-interest of a vested group in Europe. They have failed to deliver.
In urging Greece to sign up to continued austerity An Taoiseach claimed that Ireland had not introduced extra taxes since he came to power! Perhaps property tax, water tax, USC and the ongoing reduction in several allowances are inconvenient truths.
Is there any leader in Europe who will regain the momentum of leadership for citizens from the poison of German-based economics? There is a real war raging, regardless of the Greek austerity referendum’s ‘No’ outcome. Greece will have to reform, but on its own terms. Bombs and bullets have been replaced by cutbacks and an economic dictatorship. Greece is seriously challenging the bullyboys.
This week former Irish politicians are entitled to a pension rise! Many Greek pensioners are hungry and medicine-starved. How has a ‘community of equals’ as envisioned by the European founding fathers withered to become a wasteland of economic savagery?