THE BLOG
15/02/2016 05:49 GMT | Updated 11/02/2017 05:12 GMT

The EU's Status as Europe's Peacekeeper Is an Insulting Myth

Achieving ever-closer-union, as it foreshadowed, has been the driving force behind the gradual (and often forceful) assimilation of law, currency and culture across the European continent. To many, it seemed a wonderful way of enhancing international cooperation, and promoting both peace and unity.

The initial clause, found on page 2 of 1957's Treaty of Rome, sets a pretty clear precedent.

Achieving ever-closer-union, as it foreshadowed, has been the driving force behind the gradual (and often forceful) assimilation of law, currency and culture across the European continent. To many, it seemed a wonderful way of enhancing international cooperation, and promoting both peace and unity.

In 2010, then president of the European Commission Herman Van Rompuy claimed quite audaciously that the European Union is "the biggest peacemaking institution ever created in human history". A wildly inaccurate statement which, to my dismay, many have believed. The EU's status as Europe's 'peacekeeper' is not only actively misleading; it is also disingenuous and insulting to those adversely affected by its governance.

In 2015 alone, European Union policies directly contributed towards the devastating effects of mass migration, soaring unemployment and homelessness in Greece, intervention over who could govern in Portugal, November's Paris atrocities and disgraceful sexual assaults in Cologne. If Angela Merkel deserved TIME's 'Person of the Year', then I'd hate to see what one of her bad years would look like.

Back in April, Islamic State representatives warned the European Union quite sternly that any mass displacement of Middle Eastern refugees to the continent would inevitably include jihadist fighters, seeking a path into Europe under the guise of 'asylum seeker' status. As we have seen subsequently, a naive and foolish policy of opening up the doors to just about anybody has not worked.

Checks on who has arrived and assessments of their needs have not been adequately carried out, gun sales are through the roof in Austria, women in Stockholm and Cologne are afraid to leave the house on their own, and all of this has erupted as a result of a deliberate ploy on the part of European Union officials to attempt to help everybody. Though I have no doubt that positive intentions were there, I do think that the impossibility of helping everybody in need is glaring. I also do not necessarily think that kindness and compassion need always be shown by throwing money at people.

Perhaps the biggest internal failure within the EU is the now obvious point that one size doesn't fit all. Whereas once, enhanced cooperation and intertwined economies were helpful, we now face a situation where the political interests of member states are incompatible, (as seen with contested fishing quotas and controls over immigration) and new, more intra-EU conflicts are starting to emerge.

Squabbling and unrest has also been a key feature of European life at local level in recent months. Anti TTIP marches, angry PEGIDA rallies and violent protests in Athens over belt-tightening austerity measures have been all too representative of EU incompetence and perhaps a result of the ever-widening gap between citizen and commission. European Union politicians are not on the ground, they refuse to acknowledge links between the Common Asylum Policy and multicultural tension and they made no effort to speak to flood victims in England.

Domestic stress is only exacerbated by the unacceptable distance between the EU and its citizens. With the displacement of national sovereignty and the sheer power enshrined within the Commission, European citizens now feel further away from their governing politicians than ever before, and the voices of ordinary people are shrinking by the day.

International failures must also be considered deeply. In 2013, European Union officials proposed a European Association Agreement (EAA), for signature between Ukraine and the EU. Its purpose was to enhance trade and other political links between the two parties, and while this may have been seen as a positive step, the agreement totally ignored Russian economic interests enshrined in the Eurasian Customs Union (ECU).

The shafting of Russia's sphere of influence was as aggressive, expansionist and confrontational as Vladimir Putin's Russia is often accused of being. As Prof. Richard Sakwa reveals in his magnificent book 'Frontline Ukraine' (a must-read for anybody interested in Russia, Crimea and the Ukraine crisis), the European Union spent close to half a billion Euros on the promotion of western-aligned democracy in Ukraine.

Though this may sound like a nice gesture, it was a decision which in fact proved to be particularly provocative, and one which had noticeable long-term ramifications. To exploit the internal tribalism of a country torn from one ethnic group to the next, and to attempt to entice the monist Ukrainian nationalists to incite hatred against their country's pro-Russian, pluralist communities seems to me to be an act of extraordinary spite.

NATO's role in preserving peace in Europe must, too, be flagged up. A necessary military buffer to Soviet aggression was a rational attempt at bolstering solidarity. Its prominence during the Cold War ensured the safety of millions, and protected both political stability and the economic status of western capitalism.

Peace in Europe, while it lasted, was not a symptom of the creation of the European Union; rather it was merely coincidentally aligned. Mr Van Rompuy and his army of europhiles would do well to remember this.