Whether one is europhile or eurosceptic, one fact is obvious: Europe is doing worse than ever. Why?
There is mounting evidence indeed: the ongoing crisis of the euro; the ‘no’ of the Danish to the referendum of 3 December; migratory waves which are beyond control; social anger; farmers on the verge of revolt; the worsening of financial prospects; the explosion of public debts; and rising populisms and ‘conservative’ and eurosceptic movements. Add to these the possible secession of Great Britain, which would evidently create a precedent. Jean-Claude Juncker already confessed: the year 2016 may mark the ‘beginning of the end‘ of the European Union. ‘No one can say if the European Union will still exist in its present state in ten years’, Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, declared from his side. ‘We risk a dislocation’, added Michel Barnier. ‘Europe, it’s finished’, concluded Michel Rocard. This provides the tone. The European Union is falling apart under our eyes under the impact of events.
In the affair of the migrants, Pope Francis recently contrasted those who want to build walls and those who want to build bridges. He forgot that between bridges and walls, there are doors, which function as locks: we can, according to circumstances, open them or close them. The establishment of the Schengen zone was founded on the assumption that the European Union assures the control of its external borders. As it was incapable of doing this, Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Austria, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Macedonia, and even Belgium, one after the other, recently reestablished control of their internal borders, or limited the entry of ‘refugees’ onto their soil in a drastic manner. This signifies that the Schengen zone is already dead. In only wanting to establish bridges, we have condemned ourselves, in the long term, to only building more walls.
The beginning of the 1990s saw the end of the tacit consensus of the citizens regarding the project of communitarian integration. Currently, only a third of Europeans say they trust European institutions, whether they are suffering in this crisis (such as in the countries of the south), or they fear being affected in turn (in the countries of the north). They expected independence, security, peace, and prosperity from Europe. They got vassalisation within NATO, war in the Balkans, de-industrialisation, an agricultural crisis, recession, and austerity. Hence the feeling of dispossession which touches all the peoples.
Souverainistes might be delighted at the current resurgence of nations, but would it not be the return of national selfishness?
The current return of borders is only a temporary retreat which does not correspond to the resurgence of the nation-state. All the centres of decisions for the European countries remain in the hands of international bodies, which is to say that their sovereignty (political, economic, military, financial, budgetary) is nothing more than a memory. Moreover, there is not a criticism they make about the European Union that couldn’t be said of nation-states as well. The democratic deficit of European institutions, for example, is only one example of the general crisis of representation that today affects all countries, likewise with a fundamental crisis of decision which we find on all levels.
Was it inevitable?
The greatest criticism that we can make about the European Union is that it has discredited Europe. Europe today is, actually, everything but a federal Europe, and this is why it is incapable of uniting in the respect of a national ‘us’, that is to say the collective existences which exist within it. It never wanted to build itself as an autonomous power, but as a vast market, a space of free trade which was supposed to organise itself according to the exclusive principle of human rights, without collective attachment nor allegiance to a common thing. It was built, from the start, upon the foundation of the economy and commerce in place of politics and culture. The underlying idea was that, by a sort of ratchet effect, economic citizenship would inevitably lead to political citizenship. It’s the opposite which has happened.
In accordance with the diktats of liberal ‘no borderism’, Europe wanted to unify itself in a ‘universal’ perspective, referring to abstract notions without any cultural or historical anchorage which could give meaning for the peoples. Far from protecting Europeans from globalisation, the European Union thus became one its principal vectors. In place of seeking to make a common political will based on the consciousness of a unique destiny emerge, it chose to open itself to the world without realising that we cannot adapt to external circumstances without possessing an internal principle. Far from situating itself in the perspective of a multipolar world, it put itself in the service of a ‘religion of humanity’, thus prefiguring a cosmopolitan order founded on the universalisation of liberal democracy (an oxymoron whose exact meaning is the submission of democratic procedures to the system of the market).
The tragedy is that the more that the policies which the European Commission implements fail, the more it obstinately perseveres in the same manner, convinced that everything will collapse if we interrupt its headlong rush. So we will not escape this headlong rush. Nor the collapse.
The Problem of Democracy
The Problem of Democracy is the first of Alain de Benoist’s book-length political works to appear in English. It presents the complexity and depth which underlies all of de Benoist’s work and which is often neglected by those who seek to dismiss him by oversimplifying or distorting his arguments. De Benoist shows how democracy is, […]
Manifesto for a European Renaissance
This manifesto remains the only attempt to date by GRECE, the primary New Right organization in France, to summarize its principles and key concepts. It was written in 1999 by Alain de Benoist, GRECE’s founder, and Charles Champetier on the occasion of GRECE’s thirtieth anniversary. It offers a strong argument in favor of the right […]
Beyond Human Rights
Beyond Human Rights is the second in an ongoing series of English translations of Alain de Benoist’s works to be published by Arktos. Alain de Benoist begins Beyond Human Rights with an examination of the origins of the concept of ‘human rights’ in European Antiquity, in which rights were defined in terms of the individual’s […]
On the Brink of the Abyss: The Imminent Bankruptcy of the Financial System
This book is a collection of essays written in response to the international financial crisis of 2008 and its aftereffects. The problem with most discussions of the crisis, Benoist notes, is that they focus on attempting to reform the present economic system in order to prevent such disasters from recurring. This is a mistake, he […]
Carl Schmitt Today: Terrorism, Just War, and the State of Emergency
Few names, apart from that of Leo Strauss, are invoked more often when discussing the American response to terrorism in recent years than that of Carl Schmitt. Schmitt, who was part of the German school of political thought known as the ‘Conservative Revolution,’ is widely regarded as having been one of the greatest legal minds […]
The Fourth Political Theory
All the political systems of the modern age have been the products of three distinct ideologies: the first, and oldest, is liberal democracy; the second is Marxism; and the third is fascism. The latter two have long since failed and passed out of the pages of history, and the first no longer operates as an […]