A daily blog on the thrills, spills, and frequent absurdities of the world's one and only 'non-imperial empire' - as Barroso himself called it - the European Union.

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Saturday, 9 April 2011

Europe Braces Itself for a New Era of Expansion

As ludicrous as it may seem, now that Portugal has officially asked for a bailout and Spain's future solvency is doubtful, there are still some in Europe's elites that consider eastward expansion their priority, rather than solving the debt crisis that threatens to tear the eurozone apart. One of them is, unsurprisingly, Poland's Prime Minister, Donald Tusk. This fiercely anti-British and anti-French federalist has became increasingly outspoken since the previous President - a proud sceptic of federalist ideals - was killed in a plane crash in Russia, and now has his sights on the rotating European presidency. Hungary's Viktor Orban is due to relinquish the reigns of power on July 1st, a date which, Tusk says, will see Europe enter a new era of expansionism. Specifically, he wants to add Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Croatia, Serbia, and Turkey to Barosso's empire.

The Polish Prime Minister is a sensible man and an able administrator who has guided the country well since most of its senior administrative officials were wiped out; he should recognise the consequences of his plan. The addition of over a hundred and twenty million people and six or more countries is an expansionist phase to rival that of the early 2000s, when ten countries joined the union. However, the timing is far worse; each of the countries on the list are classed as developing economies, and will join the list of net beneficiaries of the EU. As Britain is one of the few countries that the EU classes as 'net contributors' - countries that pay more in than they get out - its bills will increase accordingly as the number of countries claiming money from the EU pot rises. Tusk's plans will cost Britain billions of pounds extra each year. That amount of money shouldn't be paid out in times of prosperity. At a time of austerity, it is simply unaffordable: how many millions of police and soldiers could be maintained with that money? And how does the EU intend to hold up against the wave of debt and bailouts if it has to manage the admission to the euro - as required of new member states as per the Lisbon Treaty - of six countries whose economies can best be described as 'shaky?'

Such an expansion is logistically expensive and economically irresponsible, if not impossible, and yet not a word of criticism has been uttered. No-one has raised any doubts as to the viability of the plans, although it only requires a bit of common sense to see the obvious economic downsides. Viktor Orban was chastised by the EU for his country's media laws, which temporarily threatened his succession to the presidency, but now Poland's equivalent comes along and unveils radical plans for expansionism at a time when the European Union is facing the biggest domestic crisis in its history, and no-one raises an eyebrow. It's not as if these are new proposals: Tusk won the 2010 Charlemagne Prize for European Integration, where he said that Turkey and Serbia should be asked to join. If anyone in the Brussels politiburo was willing to criticise EU expansionism, they'd have done it by now.

The EU's expansion will impact every single household in Britain, as the contribution soars to keep up with the funding requests of six countries. One hundred and twenty million people will gain the automatic right to live and work in the United Kingdom when public services and infrastructure are already creaking under the pressure of overpopulation. And why does yet another EU president we've never voted for have so much control over us? Britain's withdrawal is no longer an option; it is a necessity. We must withdraw ourselves from this mess, now more than ever.

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