OPINION

Putting the cart before the horse

The European Union project, as we know it, has been imposed from the top down: Political and economic leaders, trade unionists, intellectuals and bureaucrats have always reached agreement under intense pressure to fulfill the European ideal. But, in reality, the EU is nothing more than a network of compromises which, now and again, makes mature decisions. The gulf between those who backed the ratification of the European Constitution and those who opposed it is indicative of the differing levels of absorption of the EU’s «acquis communautaire» by the various member states… Seeking overwhelming public approval of the European treaty is clearly a case of putting the cart before the horse – especially when its citizens were not consulted about the Union’s absorption of 12 new member states (the 10 new members, plus Bulgaria and Romania); when the Maastricht Treaty imposed a common currency without first harmonizing tax and funding systems; and when European leaders say «yes» to Turkey’s EU accession without even being aware of the Union’s borders and its future structure… But when nothing goes as originally promised and the Union seems to have lost direction, it is only logical for the people to feel disappointment and insecurity and reject further change…