The EU and Eurozone are catastrophic. Of course, sanity prevailed and the UK never joined the Eurozone, but the EU itself is still catastrophic.
Britain should leave the EU as quickly as possible, for the following reasons:
(1) to protect the UK’s economic and political sovereignty;The UK should follow the example of Norway and Switzerland: neither Norway nor Switzerland is a member state of the European Union, but both are part of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).
(2) to protect its democracy;
(3) to protect its welfare state and social services;
(4) to have some hope for a Post Keynesian-style or MMT-style economic policy in the future;
(5) to take control of its borders and immigration policy, because the EU open borders policy is disastrous – disastrous for the welfare state, the working class, the real wage, the employment prospects of the British people and its very social cohesion.
Britain can have liberalised trade with the EU by joining the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) or by bilateral trade agreements, and obtain any necessary extra labour by controlled immigration, not open borders mass immigration.
In fact, the EU itself is already in deep crisis. Schengen is already effectively dead, because Merkel killed it.
What will happen this year as another million or more migrants come flooding into the EU?
The Germans are due for a federal election in late 2017 and the French will elect a new president between April and May 2017, and those election cycles will be dominated by the consequences of as many as 2 million new migrants in Europe. If we add to this the possibility of an economic downturn in Europe in 2016 and 2017, things could get very ugly indeed in Europe. What happens as the population is subjected to another savage round of austerity? What happens as neoliberal labour market deregulation is ramped up as the only neoclassical solution to integrating 1 million or more migrants into the labour market? Unless an historic volte face happens, the mainstream left will continue to defend the EU and mass immigration and probably discredit itself for years on end.
The population will be driven to the populist right and far right, and the mainstream right will quickly realise that any further support for the EU, open borders and mass immigration will be political suicide.
I was also struck by an article published late last year about Syriza and the migrant crisis.
If true, I was not aware of the details here:
Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, “Some Tips for the Long-Distance Traveller,” London Review of Books 37.19, 8 October, 2015: 39–41.According to this article, the government in office in Greece before Syriza had a “turn back the boats” policy from Turkey which stopped the flood of migrants, but when Syriza came into office they reversed this, and threw open the door to the EU. Merkel made the mistake of then opening the door to Germany and Western Europe.
And now we see the consequences of this! If true, what poetic justice indeed that the EU, after having smashed democracy in Greece in 2015, may well be hit by an existential crisis set off this year by the chain reaction of events from this one action of its victim Greece.
When the history of this period is written, it may well be said of Alexis Tsipras that he made a decision that caused the collapse of the EU.