The European Union is finally starting to look like a country or at least some sort of country-like (patrioid?) sovereign entity. It has its own rather ugly currency and the rudiments of an army. It already has enough in the way of police powers to severely punish British grocers who sell non-metric bananas. And it seems to have found some way to tax citizens of its constituent soon-to-be-former countries to pay for all this. I think it is time to begin pondering where it will all end.
I have no professional training in astrology, augury, or extispicy (love that word!), and no Jamaican blood (though Miss Cleo may not, either), but here's my prediction:
The European Union will break up before the century is out, probably with several decades to spare. The end will most likely be bloody. Even decadent western Europeans will not tolerate central rule by unelected and mindlessly intrusive bureaucrats forever, especially when they look around the world and see other countries prospering in freedom while they wallow in centralized stagnation. (I hope that these other countries will include the U.S., though that remains to be seen. Bush's steel tariff decision is not a good sign.) Nor do I think it likely that the new rulers will ever allow any country that joins to leave the union. With the problem of paying for all those pensions, even allowing individuals to leave is not to be counted on, at least so long as they are young and productive. Thanks to gun control, among other factors, the demise of the E.U. seems likely to be as long and drawn out as that of the U.S.S.R. or Yugoslavia, and the results just as messy. My crystal ball is hazy, but I think I see French and Italian refugees fleeing to post-Mullah Iran and post-Saddam Iraq, perhaps even as far as post-Fidel Cuba. All three seem better long-term bets for political and economic success than the E.U.: if nothing else, they are likely to have learned from the mistakes (to put it politely) of their current rulers. If England stays out of the E.U., which remains to be seen, will it be Europe's Taiwan, providing a cruel example of freedom for enslaved continentals from just over the horizon? Of course, I hope I am wrong, and that the E.U. will eventually break up as smoothly and politely as Czechoslovakia. But that doesn't seem likely. That it will break up within the next generation or two seems certain.
P.S. I've been mulling over this question for several years. I suppose I should have published my prediction at the new millennium, but I didn't have a blog then.Posted by Dr. Weevil at March 09, 2002 10:10 PM