The last year has been a tough one for the EU and its member states. Normally I try to stay out of political debates and I would not exactly say that I know what I am talking about when it comes to politics, but I am concerned that the discussions we are having with Great Britain could hurt the EU a lot more than we are made to believe.
The bottom line is this: Britain wants to play by special rules — not paying benefits to migrants from other EU countries, for example, and tossing aside any shred of commitment to the EU’s long-cherished goal of “ever-closer union.
The leaders of other European Union countries, to generalize, resent Britain’s demands for special rules and exemptions. On the other hand, if Britain pulls out, that will leave the European Union significantly diminished. It would lose its second-largest economy — behind only that of Germany — and one of its two permanent seats on the U.N. Security Council. (The other is held by France.)
It is all about helping each other
The key parts of the UK deal include:
- Allowing Britain to opt out of the EU’s founding ambition to forge an “ever-closer union” of the peoples of Europe, and greater powers for national parliaments to block EU legislation
- Restrictions on other EU nationals getting in-work benefits in the UK for a period after they arrive in the UK; changing child benefit rules so payment reflects cost of living in the country where the child resides
- Explicit recognition that the euro is not the only currency of the EU and guarantees to ensure countries outside the eurozone are not disadvantaged or have to join eurozone bailouts
- A target for the reduction of the “burden” of excessive regulation and extending the single market
The reasoning behind most of these issues I can fully understand.
Yet..I feel that it is all about social security and benefits … All countries within the EU face the exact same problem. We have build our countries up around the principles of a social state model, in which we care for each other when someone is in need. The strong take care of the weak.
Of course this also means that we would help out people who are in need and we would give them a little bit of our wealth to help them when they come to us in distress.
Refugees have triggered an over-dimensional response
Austria has a huge problem with immigration at the moment, having taking in more Refugees than Italy and France. So does Germany, yet in the UK the people feel that their island is too small to deal with these issues. They would rather send a few Billion Pounds to Syria (where we have no idea what is actually done with the money) and act like they are samarithans.
In my humble opinion: The European Union should stand united and face our immigration problems as a single state. When someone did make it to the island, they do not want to take care of them. It is as simple as that.
Now, one could argue that this is just a temporary situation and that all of these problems will most probably gradually go away in the next 5-10 years or so. Yet the proposal that Cameron is making, is that he also wants to cut the social benefits for EU citizens, which would ultimately make it more difficult for EU citizens to reside in the UK / or at least, create quite a large personal risk for that person if he or she were to (for example) lose their job while working, paying taxes and living in the UK.
This goes entirely against my personal principles and those of a free trading/working Union within the EU. I find it absolutely ridiculous that this even needs to be a point of discussion and I thoroughly hope that our beloved ministers of state will be able to turn this around.
Does Britain seriously want to leave?
I feel that the media (in Germany at least) are playing the issues down that Cameron is addressing and do really tell us everything that there is to it. David Cameron is showing that a single member state can have a significant amount of power on the EU.
In a sense that not more than normal for such a large country as the UK, but I feel that the “proposals” that GB are making the EU at the moment are in stark contrast to the underlying principles of the European Union.
Please, lets stick together – stand strong as a union and take on the challenges that are coming our way at the moment as one strong team.