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Monday, 18 November 2019

Is Brexit causing a Stockholm syndrome for the remaining EU members?

Brexit has dominated the European agenda ever since the 23 June 2016 outcome of its referendum. It's unclear what may happen on/after December 12. Brexit seems like the Hotel California lyrics: you can check out any time you like but you can never leave. This made me wonder: does Brexit cause a Stockholm syndrome for the remaining 27 EU members?

The 2021-2027 EU budget negotiations will be a major test case for the existence of a Stockholm syndrome for the remaining 27 EU members. The initial EU proposal was quite provoking: an overall budget increase despite missing the UK's contribution. Such a proposal would be considered absurd in case of a family, a company or a municipality.

In normal circumstances, all 27 shareholders would object to the EU's budget proposal. However, the EU has a system of net receivers and net payers. Hence, the net payers (eg, Germany, Netherlands) are objecting. The net receivers keep quiet as it's not in their interest to speak up.

In a federation of states like the USA, there will also be net receivers and net payers on a state (or provincial) level. Such wealth transfers are seldom cause for a political debate because the US is one (1) country rather than 27 (European) countries.

Many American articles claim there is a European crisis (eg, FA, FP). Perhaps these are right. That "crisis" is related to power: there is a fundamental mismatch between the EU's one-nation-one-vote system and the "few" wealthy countries financing the EU and - indirectly - subsidizing poor European nations. The ECB criticism has a similar background: low interest rates favour poor EU nations and harm wealthy EU countries.

These American articles often expect a break-up of the EU. Quite often there is political bias in such articles. Only some of these articles acknowledge that other countries would benefit from an EU break-up. The alternative for a break-up is seldom mentioned: further integration based upon a one-citizen-one-vote system without a European Electoral College system.

Any entity or organism is geared towards self-preservation, including the EU. From that angle, further integration is more likely than self-destruction (ie, a break-up). Obviously, that same principle applies at country level: transferring national power to a supranational body will be prevented at all cost unless there is a fundamental shift in power (ie, 1-citizen-1-vote).

I think, feel and believe that European nations will "soon" realize that they are stuck in a Stockholm syndrome. Anger towards ECB low interest rates and increased EU contributions will translate in a willingness to change EU fundamentals (ie, break-up or further integration).

 Should I Stay or Should I Go Now (1982) by The Clash

Should I stay or should I go now? 
Should I stay or should I go now? 
If I go, there will be trouble 
And if I stay it will be double 
So come on and let me know


Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless stated otherwise

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