‘March 29 has come and gone,’ said Marian L. Tupy on CapX, and post-Brexit, ‘Britain – which joined the EU while at the nadir of her economic and political fortunes – is set to emerge from the EU full of confidence and vigour.’
Whereas Europe, he argued, ‘is facing an existential crisis.’ And Brexit is just the beginning.
‘I started as a believer in greater European integration. Central Europe, where I was born, was impoverished by communism,’ and joining the EU seemed like the way to solve the problems of the former Soviet-states.
‘Over time, however, I started to see the costs as well as the benefits of the EU.’
Why for example, in 2003 – with productivity varying so widely across the EU – were rules of production, environmental standards, and health and safety laws harmonised?
‘By definition, regulations emanating from Brussels must be applied equally throughout the EU,’ which means that any directives that increase production costs have a ‘deleterious effect on less productive ex-communist countries than on more productive Western European nations.’
Such rules often favoured Western producers; ‘Eastern countries, I felt, were right to complain.’
The handling of the French and Dutch EU constitution referendums were what ‘particularly convinced me that the EU must be stopped,’ though.
After the clear rejection of the EU Constitution from the French and Dutch people, ‘the EU establishment relabelled it as the Lisbon Treaty’ and forced it through anyway.
The EU ‘would stop not at nothing in pursuit of an “ever-closer union.”’ EU Bureaucrats see themselves as enlightened, but does that give them to right to try and ‘make people free or happy or, simply, better off?
The UK joined the EU ‘in the midst of a debilitating experiment with democratic socialism,’ and mistakenly credited West Germany’s economic growth with its membership of the European Economic Community.
Regardless, the EEC was eventually considered a disappointment, as stagflation set in by the mid-70s.
This led to the ratification of the Single European Act – which was even signed by the ‘otherwise Eurosceptic’ Margaret Thatcher – which saw European institutions ‘tasked with turning the common market into a truly free “single market.”’
This meant that ‘many internal barriers to trade were broken down,’ but ‘protectionism continues to reign’ in the services sector.
At the same time, ‘Brussels used its new power to overregulate economic activity,’ especially after the signing of the Maastricht Treaty in 1992.
This ‘regulatory overdrive stifles competition within Europe and makes Europe less competitive globally.’ Consequently, the 28 EU member states’ share of global economic output is shrinking every year.
In 60 years, the EU has gone from ‘a free-trade area and customs union among six Western European countries’ to a ‘supranational entity’ that ‘governs many aspects of the daily lives of 508 million people’ in 28 European countries.
The European elite has lost sight of their ‘primary task: to make Europeans better off.’
The British people voted for Brexit, having ‘concluded that they were more likely to prosper outside of the EU . Others may yet follow their example.’