The Liberating Power of Brexit

The referendum of June 23, 2016 regarding Britain’s remaining in or exit from the European Union (EU), through its subversive BREXIT result undoubtedly shook the dominant British and European political and economical system.

The British, taken as a whole, are not the people of a protectorate who might have a slave mentality. They are the proud people of a great country that in the past has been an empire and today is one of the world's largest economies. The British, who are also the winners of two world wars, have developed a highly dignified attitude and behavior. So, it is understandable that the British citizens who endured with unprecedented fortitude and bravery the fierce bombardments of the Nazi air force in World War II, would not be able to accept, against any short-term negative economic impacts arising from the BREXIT, German domination and leadership in the EU.

Thus, the incredible surprise of the German political leaders and far away standing bureaucrats in Brussels coming from this amazing, liberating for ordinary people result, on that promising and sunny dawn of June 24, 2016, does not comply in any way with any historical knowledge and thorough data analysis.

Germany's assiduous effort to put under its complete control the European people and once again the continent –this time not through the use of military weapons as in the past, but the use of economic ones-, presents a similar ignorance of history characteristics. It is obvious that the Germans, who cannot control in any way their great political and economic power, are completely ignorant of history, and so now, find themselves -by mathematical determinism- on the verge of a new defeat that will come through the imminent unraveling of the EU.

The EU, which in 1993 through the Maastricht treaty replaced the until then EEC, is basically by default an unnatural and defective political and economic union of states with different political, legal, economic, military and cultural levels, but as well a union of people who feel like strangers to each other, without any mutual or brotherly feelings of solidarity Thus, the grandiose pronouncements and unrealistic visions for a democratic and prosperous from end to end EU could not but be bitterly ruled out.

Germany, taking advantage of the impacts of the crisis erupting in September 2008 through the grandiose collapse of the banks (Lehman Brothers), and invoking -of course- the Maastricht Stability Pact and the need for reform packages so that the negative effects of the crisis could be confronted, has been implementing since then, with exaggerated dominance, a kind of economic totalitarianism, mostly against the weak Member States of the European periphery.

The anti-grass roots economic plans of the strictest neoliberal austerity imposed by Berlin have indeed leveled the societies of the southern European countries. In Greece, which is certainly the most typical example of the pilot implementation of these incredibly absurd and economically irrational policies, unemployment has increased dramatically to 26.8 percent of the workforce, while 36 percent of the Greek population lives below the poverty line. In Italy, 24.4 percent of the population is facing the risk of poverty and social exclusion. In Spain, 22.2 percent of households live below the poverty line and more than one in three children, 2.6 million, are facing the risk of poverty and social exclusion. In Portugal, one in four children lives below the poverty line and a total of about two million people, 20 percent of its population, live amid poverty and destitution.

At the same time, Germany has clearly received unprecedented economic benefits. Its extreme profits arise from the transfer of investors’ money to “low risk” German bonds due to the crisis plaguing the eurozone. Especially after 2009, yields on German bonds have reached the bottom of the barrel, while in some cases (eg 5-year German bonds) reached negative interest rates. That means that Germany not only does not pay to borrow, but on the contrary, investors, given the insecurity in the euro zone, pay it in order to safeguard their money. Thus, in five years (2010-2015), Germany managed to save a total of EUR 100 billion, equivalent to 3 percent of its GDP, precisely because of the dramatic reduction in borrowing costs.

It is obvious that the EU, and surely the extremely neoliberal Eurozone, operates in the interests of the hegemonic and dominant Germany at the expense of other Member States and mainly at the expense of the southern European countries. The extremely high trade surpluses achieved by Germany (for example, in 2013 it had a trade surplus of 200 billion thus remaining a highly competitive state) are certainly due to the great German economic machine but at the same time are scandalously increased by the unfair eurozone monetary system.

Germany for the first time in many years, apart from its economic boom, has become a first rate international player, given that its political leadership has found itself in a key position thus being able to represent the other European countries without being asked to. So the exit of Great Britain- the first military power, a permanent member of the UN Security Council and the country with the third largest contribution to the EU budget- from the EU, represents a fatal blow to the international status of the EU and first of all to the status of Germany.

Likewise, EU institutions and decision-making processes lack democratic legitimacy and they are distant and inaccessible to the ordinary European citizen. Thus, a deep democratic deficit directly opposing the founding treaties of the EU grossly violating the original declaratory core of values, is clearly visible. The people of Europe exert absolutely no direct influence on the important EU decision-making institutions, i.e the European Council with its strong centralized role and the European Commission with its highly bureaucratic and technocratic nature, while these institutions have absolutely no accountability to the citizens. On the other hand, the directly elected European Parliament, which is based in Strasbourg, possesses no sufficient powers and continues to be a weak link.

In conclusion, the European Union, which has been reduced to a type of German colony, despite the illusions cultivated by certain political circles, is not willing to change or improve, or even to acquire a democratic, social role. Thus comes the great time for the enslaved countries within the European Union and the euro zone to follow the shining example of Great Britain and the proud British people, to break their steel shackles and become liberated, looking forward with greater hope and optimism.

Isidoros Karderinis was born in Athens in 1967. He is a novelist, poet and economist with postgraduate studies in the tourism economy. Articles of his have been published in newspapers, magazines and on websites worldwide. His novels and three of his poetry books have been published in the USA and Great Britain.

Isidoros Karderinis

14 July 2016 20:08