HAVANA TIMES — This whole business of the UK leaving the EU – BREXIT – can be read and interpreted in many ways. The results of the referendum, where the majority of England and Wales (it wasn’t the case in Scotland and Northern Ireland) voted to “leave” and won, are now being questioned by millions of British youth who have now lost the opportunity to work in the EU’s 27 member countries.
Those who voted to leave the EU were in their majority, older British citizens who saw the EU as a hindrance to what they understood to be independent national policy…
Brexit isn’t my controversy. Here in Cuba we have more than enough foolishness to deal with.
However, a part of this controversy has caught my attention and isn’t really touched upon in the analyses I’ve read.
This is the subject of bureaucracy.
The referendum’s binary nature or the “leave vs. remain” status of its results, transforms the pro-EU supporters into unvoluntary defenders of a downright bureaucratic and out-of-date institution. Even when the European Union has – unquestionably in my opinion – created great opportunities for free movement, coexistence and peace.
I’m convinced that beyond the irrational politics behind this referendum (ideological, national identity, emotional factors, and even xenophobia), there is a very reasonable argument to leave the EU and that’s being aware of just how bureaucratic the EU has become. However, just so we’re clear, in the same way those who are pro-EU were forced to support European bureaucracy, those who refused the European Union voted for “national” bureaucracy of an “independent” State; and the outcome would be repeated in any referendum to be held in any other European country.
The “United States of Europe” concept, promoted in the 19th century by progressive and radical figures from a wide range of sectors, from Mikhail Bakunin to Victor Hugo, didn’t imply creating colonies of new bureaucratic decision-makers for its defenders back when it was conceived. Rather, it was created in order to ensure peace between traditionally war-hungry powers, through institutions that would prove their solidarity and their democratic nature, in a fundamentally non-authoritarian coexistence.
It all began to get utopian in the second half of, and especially in the late, 20th century, when the EU dream became a burden for many. Its headquarters: in a building of bureaucrats.
It’s pretty messed up that somebody who is far away in an air conditioned office, decides for somebody else here and now.
And it’s because this authoritarian, state-led and modern capitalist system doesn’t know how to, can’t and doesn’t have the means to reason in these terms.
Bureaucracy is one of the main causes for Euro-skepticism. And this skepticism will weigh down any idea of integration, while such bureaucracy exists.