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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Thursday, 12 May 2011

Another Eurosceptic Victory

Denmark-Schengen Border. Picture by Pit.

Okay, so it's more of a draw. On the one hand, our attempts to delay or halt the bailout deal through Finnish non-participation has been scuppered. This isn't too bad a defeat; the Finns would never have actually managed to stop the bailout. They'd only have made it more expensive for other countries, who'd have had to foot the bill. And, seeing how the government - which has but one, but two anti-bailout parties in it - cave in to the European Commission, they'll be more likely to vote Eurosceptic next time, missing that one billion euros that, in terms of Finland, is actually a massive amount of money.

On the other hand, the Danish Volkspartei has secured a massive victory over the European Commission by doing what the True Finns should have done - namely, using their position as senior coalition partners to force the country's centre-right government to reinstate border checks. It's a smack in the eye for Schengen, one of the dual pillars of European integration, and the Commission is not amused. 'It should be clear that the European Commission cannot and will not accept any attempt to roll back the EU treaty, either for free movement of goods or persons at internal borders.' So, there you go, an unelected beaurocrat telling the elected governments of Europe what they can and cannot do. Again.

But they're standing in front of the stable door after the horse has bolted. No European leader is delighted at the prospect of hundreds of thousands of economic migrants arriving on their doorstep; not at a time when they're challenged by populists, conservatives, and the genuine far-right, and not when another period of European expansionism is planned. Sarkozy and Berlusconi, both centre-right leaders who are either in coalition with populist parties or face being obliterated by them at the polls, have begged the European Commission for the right to reclaim control over their own borders, and were both refused. Denmark has shown them how to do it properly: rather than ask the Commission for something that it will never give, do whatever you want to without consideration of Barroso or his imperial ambitions.

It's a revolutionary concept: let the people that the people elect make the decisions. It's one that might prove popular. Denmark's action will have repercussions across Europe. People will realise what, exactly, has transpired, and start demanding that their countries - which are larger, richer, and more populous than Denmark - do the same.

As Juan Fernando López Aguilar, leader of the Spanish delgation in the European Parliament's Socialists & Democrats group, says: 'it is unacceptable that populist anti-European pressures have led to this situation because this sends a a message that is discouraging, profoundly negative and against the Europe that we need.' The 'Europe' that they need is not the Europe that people want. And this is a cause for celebration.

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