Mye tyder på at britene kan bli katalysator for en EU-skepsis som nå går høyt i flere medlemsland. Og kommisjonen gjør alt for å hive bensin på bålet, ved å dra medlemsland for EU-domstolen og insistere på minst mulig nasjonal selvråderett.
Dalibor Rohac skriver at mens svaret på alle problemer hittil har vært fordypning og tettere integrasjon, har det for første gang oppstått usikkerhet om det er svaret på dagens krise. Denne tvilen er i første rekke britenes fortjeneste.
For the first time in years, it seems that the British are willing to have an open discussion about the costs and benefits of EU membership, without running the risk of being labeled as political extremists.
While so far this shift has been mostly a British occurrence, it does not have to remain one — indeed, it should not. For many countries in Europe, the costs of being part of the EU are very salient — particularly for those that are part of the eurozone and are expected to contribute toward the bailouts of less–than–solvent countries on the eurozone’s periphery.
Neither should this shift be only, or predominantly, about a binary choice between being a part of the EU versus leaving it. While many small, open economies on the European continent might benefit from the common market, there ought to be space for an open–ended debate about the EU’s governance and its dysfunctions.
Instead of having such a debate, Europeans were long fed the mantra of ever–closer union. It was assumed that the EU’s problems would be solved by deeper integration and tighter policy coordination. The monetary union was a part of that process, as was the growing body of EU directives, regulating everything from privacy issues to mobile–phone roaming charges. At the onset of the crisis, a banking and fiscal union were proposed as fixes to the macroeconomic imbalances that were becoming apparent in the eurozone’s periphery.
The coming out of Nigel Lawson, former chancellor of the exchequer, seems to be a game–changer. Writing about leaving the European Union, the Tory peer concluded that “the economic gains would substantially outweigh the costs.” Lord Lawson was soon followed by two Cabinet ministers — Education Secretary Michael Gove and Defense Secretary Philip Hammond — who also indicated that they would favor Britain’s exit.
Finally, writing in Financial Times, columnist Wolfgang Munchau acknowledged that “[a] departure need not be a disaster if the terms are negotiated with skill” — a statement that only weeks ago would look out of place on the opinion pages of a newspaper that had traditionally embraced the euro and European integration with fervent enthusiasm.
Det som har blokkert for en diskusjon om EU har vært at motstanden har vært henvist til ytterkanten. Folk som ønsket å tilhøre det gode selskap kunne ikke bli slått i hartkorn med Sannfinnene eller Nasjonal Front. Etableringen av Alternativ liste i Tyskland viser at denne karantenetiden er over. EU-motstanden er modnet og når videre. At establishement forsøker å brennmerke motstanderne som de mest ytterliggående, vil på et eller annet tidspunkt slå tilbake.