Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Europe still needs a democratic Right

A number of observers have noted a resurgence of right-wing populist parties in eastern Europe, following some degree of disillusionment there with their conversion to market/democratic liberalism and EU membership. The post-communist transition has been accompanied by a lot of sleaze, and those countries' voters are rightly tired of it. This reaction is a delayed version of what's happened in western Europe, and it illustrates one of things wrong with the EU: it's an attempt by Europe's elites to put the continent to sleep and take away its limited democratic achievements, ultimately a very bad thing. The EU rests on a weak foundation because it lacks democratic consent and legitimacy. The administration of Brussels anesthesia makes it that much harder for Europe to face its very real problems: the crisis of the welfare state, demographic decline, the rise - in parts - of Eurabia. See this article in the Economist, for example.

A European democratic Right would see the need for European free trade and political and security cooperation. Contrary to the populist demagogues, these are good things for European countries. But it would also see the need for that cooperation to rest on national sovereignty. A better model than the EU is NATO, about which you hear no such complaints. That's in part because NATO is a treaty organization. It's an expression of identity and sovereignty, not an erasure of them.

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