The European Union has never been weaker
After Brexit showed that exit from the EU was possible, a pro-EU Prime Minister in Italy resigned after losing a referendum, and his long-term replacement could come from the Euro-skeptic Five Star Movement.
The upcoming French Presidential election could see Marine Le Pen – an anti-EU, anti-establishment leader – come to power.
The Greece debt problem is looming once again.
And now, the Netherlands is thinking of leaving the Eurozone.
Clearly, the EU’s problems are adding up.
According to Reuters, the Dutch Parliament is planning to discuss their “relationship” with the Euro.
Keep in mind that the Euro refers only to the shared currency, not the union itself. The Netherlands could leave the Eurozone, without leaving the European Union. They would simply revert back to their own currency, and regain control over their monetary policy (interest rates, money creation, etc.).
Some in the Netherlands are concerned by the low interest rate policy of the European Central Bank (ECB). This penalizes Dutch savers, which is a particular concern in a country with many pensioners dependent on the growth of their savings accounts.
Death by a thousand cuts
On its own, the news that the Netherlands is discussing leaving the Eurozone is not a big problem for the EU. But given the context mentioned above, it amounts to a continued erosion of the EU’s strength, unity, and credibility.
Each country that talks about leaving or weakening the EU makes it seem more reasonable and acceptable to question the EU itself. With growing security problems, a stagnant and failing economy in many countries (unemployment in southern Europe has been near Great Depression levels), and a breakdown in security, the EU no longer seems able to deliver results.
And then, there’s the loss of national sovereignty. EU membership comes with costs, requiring countries to submit themselves to a distant bureaucracy, losing the ability to set their own monetary policy or control their own borders. It’s tough to see what a country really is if it has no borders and no control over their money supply.
That’s why the weakening, or even break-up of the EU should not be seen as a disaster. Europe can be a peaceful place on the basis of strong national identities, combined with a respect for the Western values that have led to tremendous prosperity and technological achievement. That is a much stronger foundation on which to build a peaceful future, especially compared to the current failing EU bureaucracy.
Time will tell what the Netherlands decides, but the way things are going, nobody should be surprised if EU member states continue to reclaim their sovereignty and independence.
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