Rosy view of the EU is not shared by all!

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Veronica Hardstaff has previously raised many of the EU-related issues referred to in her letter (March 31, 2018) which gained a response at the time. In addition, she now asks us not to blame the EU for austerity.

As part of the Maastricht Treaty, member states were required to comply with the Protocol on excessive financial debt and deficit until none have a budget deficit exceeding 3% of GDP or national debt exceeding 60% of GDP.

Consequently, in 2010, the UK government announced spending cuts of 83 billion euros by 2015. Today we reap the whirlwind!

Veronica rejects the suggestion that we are ruled by non-elected foreign bureaucrats and believes we can directly influence EU policies but, as recently as 2016, Iceland’s Prime Minister said: “Britain has no say over decisions increasingly dominated by German interests. When it comes to big stuff, decisions are made by two and, increasingly, one country. Others are called to meetings to approve what is already decided”.

Veronica also claims the EU is responsible for 40 years of peace in Europe but Chris. Bickerton (Dept. of Politics and International Affairs at Cambridge University) disputes this. Indeed, he claims that European Integration contributed little to post-war peace and that the EU’s record of keeping peace on its borders is poor.

In fact, he maintains that three factors have been responsible. 1) shift from warfare to welfare state. 2)Cold War and support for Western Europe from U.S. 3) post-war boom during which people looked to national governments to deliver a better life.

Veronica’s rosy view of the EU is not shared by all!

It is well-documented that the main beneficiaries of the project have been the better off in well-paid work and the better educated with the ability to travel and speak other languages. At the other end of the scale are the less well off, faced with job insecurity, short-term or zero hour contracts, increasing competition in the job market etc.

In a 2014 speech to the EU at Strasbourg, Pope John Paul summed up the situation as follows: ‘The EU is aloof from the concerns and needs of ordinary people’ who have ‘become economic agents instead of people with dignity’. Unfortunately, when dignity is lost people lose faith in themselves and the people who snatched it away from them.

Could this be the cause of the troubled drug and crime-ridden society we have today?

Mary Steele

Deerlands Ave., Parson Cross, Sheffield, S5