Originally Posted by Pennglock
The EU has little integration, but still too much for English tastes as they revealed last week. This is a deep current at the heart of the Anglo/continental divide. Maybe the most apparent example was in the amount of autonomy the English allowed their colonies compared to the continental empires.
Did you even catch what most of the votes were about? They wanted to stop immigration, something impossible to have without the common market. As Fuuma indicated, even though the EU has a parliament it can only act on economic measures, and only a limited set at that (social economic ones are still very much the domain of the nation states).
There is a current backlash toward the european commission, as indicated by Merkel telling Juncker to step down as she sees him as part of the problem. And I have to admit, his brand of power politics is not really advisory on a continent that is dealing with a resurgence of nationalism.
Personally I've been talking about this with friends a lot as there are quite a few things happening at the same time. For one a lot of people are taking the relative economic stability for granted, even though 2008 was tough it was relatively contained to loss of jobs. They reminisce about the good old days of the guilder (in my countries case) but seem to forget that when we were still managing our own currency it was still tied to the deutschmark and subject to harsh swings, my mother still shudders thinking about the 9% mortgage she had to pay in the early nineties.
In addition, in an environment where the usual levers for economic growth have been taken out of the national government hands by the EU(currency devaluation, market protection, direct government intervention in the market) they seemed at a loss about what to do. As a rule they either defaulted to neoliberal flexibilization of the jobs market and promoting free trade in some countries (NL, DE, PL, SP et al) or downright lethargy in terms of the economy (FR, IT). All seem to have forgotten that the bulk of their voters have regular jobs, which are under pressure with these measures. Yet somehow they couldn't find the creativity to give something back to them. Even though I do believe that in macro economic terms the country is best off by these measures, I am advocating a tax cut for the lowest incomes and steadying of welfare, perhaps paid for by raising taxes on the highest incomes and corporate taxes, in unison. (this last bit the commission is looking into by putting a floor on corporate taxes)
They should be getting something in return and should help steady the voters a bit, and hopefully push back the nationalist parties..