The Progressive Mask of the Imperialist EU

There is a tendency among left-wingers–particularly youth–to idolize the European Union as a liberal utopia. Bernie Sanders’ remarks about Denmark in a 2016 Democratic Primary Debate is one example. But there are many others. Young left-wingers, who rightly feel abandoned and let down by their government, see Brussels as an example of how the world should be. More open borders, more socialized systems, and (seemingly) less bigotry. Less military spending and more efficient public transportation. Better education systems and more advanced infrastructure. It is true that the US could use much of this. Yet those who claim that northern European societies are free of the bigotry and social hierarchies that plague America are either misinformed or privileged. Lower incidents of racism in these countries are a result of ethnic homogeneity, not an accepting or liberal society.

The idea that the European Union is progressive as an institution–and the western European countries, in particular, that dominate it–is problematic. The privileged, peaceful position that Europe finds itself in today is largely a result of its history of colonialism. Western European empires plundered the wealth of Asian, African, Middle Eastern, and “New World” colonies to secure their economic dominance. When rival powers appeared–such as in China or Iran–Europe worked to undermine them, via neo-colonialism or opium. Little has changed over the centuries in this regard.

In Libya, the situation was the same. When Muammar Qaddafi launched waves of terror in the 1980s, there was no action or desire to remove him. When he proposed a pan-African economic system thirty years later, Brussels (and Paris, mainly) rushed to encourage the United States to depose him. The result is that Qaddafi is dead, and his country is little more than a slave market for Black Africans. ISIS and future dictators are battling over the scraps of land that are inhabitable. The country also serves as a port for migrants to head to the EU.

Emmanuel Macron, the French President and a political charlatan, has scolded Italy’s ultra-nationalist government over its policy towards migrants. Humiliatingly for him, France was caught dumping refugees over the Italian border in the dead of night. Denmark, the country praised for its liberalism, has proposed sending “racial undesirables” to a remote island off of its coast. Meanwhile, in light of the economic situation in Greece, anti-Greek stereotypes and sentiment have increased in Germany. Berlin, London, and Paris have offered little economic respite to the poorer, southern European countries despite them being instrumental in absorbing migrants and refugees. Even though they can’t afford to take in this wave, and even though it was Angela Merkel who invited them in, cash-strapped Greece, Spain and Italy must pay the price with little assistance from the north. Those refugees and migrants who do make it north must face thinly-veiled racism or hate crimes. The “we can do this” and “welcome, refugees” sentiment of Germany, France, Belgium, and other countries are artificial masks to cover up their legacy of bigotry. However, the mask of progressivism is coming undone and exposing the racist face of northwestern Europe that minorities have long known to be true.

The European Union has been exposed as a bigoted body in other ways. Why did Turkey–which, pre-AKP, was semi-democratic–fail to secure EU membership? Why was Turkish Cyprus refused entry into the EU even without the Annan Plan’s approval? For all their talk of being humanitarian and accepting, and for all their complaints about American racism, the higher-ups in Brussels still couldn’t stomach the thought of Muslim-majority, brown societies becoming an integral part of Europe. As a result, Turkey has shifted away towards illiberal authoritarianism and religious extremism. The EU’s racism and sole admission of the Republic of Cyprus is still felt today in the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TNRC). The TRNC greatly desires to be part of the “European project” and fears an outright Turkish annexation. It is, by all measures, a democratic society. Yet it is still under an economic blockade by Brussels.

Meanwhile, Jews in Europe feel more endangered than at any time since the Holocaust. France’s refusal to recognize a series of  murders of Jews as anti-Semitic hate crimes is testament to this. Racism against Black people in Europe has also increased. And Brussels’ desire for a “united Spain” and “One Iraq” has led to the deterioration of the indigenous rights of the Catalan and Kurdish peoples. Despite claiming to support the United Nations, diplomacy, self-determination, and human rights, the EU instead cherry-picks which ones it wants to support. When it comes to minorities, such as Jews, Black people, Kurds, Catalans, and others, the EU couldn’t care less. It uses southern Europeans for cheap labor in London, Paris, Berlin, and other privileged northern countries, yet fails to help them in their own states. This is by design–to keep “periphery states” of the EU weak and reliant on the policies and assistance of the wealthier Western powers.

Brussels talks the talk when it comes to respecting minority rights. However, the EU main powers refuses to recognize the aboriginal traditions and human rights of minority and indigenous peoples. As such, the institution of the EU gets the privilege among young people of being praised for vocal support for “human rights” and progressivism, while being ignored for its violations of human rights and double standards. Those who claim that the EU is the “last beacon of freedom” in the era of Donald Trump are either gravely mistaken or very privileged. Rather, it is an institution that has resurrected the British, French, Belgian, and German empires under the guise of progressivism and inclusion. All the while, it sows chaos in southern Europe, Africa, and the Middle East to keep independence-minded nations weak & divided while blaming Washington for all of the world’s problems.

About the Author
Dmitri Shufutinsky is a freelance reporter with the Jewish News Syndicate, and a Junior Research Fellow with ISGAP. He made aliyah to Kibbutz Erez through Garin Tzabar in 2019, and served as a Lone Soldier in the IDF. Dmitri is an ardent Zionist and a supporter of indigenous rights, autonomy, solidarity, and sovereignty. He currently lives in Hadera, and a graduate of Arcadia University's Masters program in International Peace & Conflict Resolution.
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