Why did European Commission President JosÚ Manuel Barroso decide against praising the performance of European athletes at London's Olympic games? His silence speaks volumes about the state of the EU
"Didn't we do well?" said the European Commission's press spokesman. It was a deliberately provocative statement made at the commission's midday briefing shortly after the closing ceremony. The European Union had won more Olympic medals by far than any other nation, the spokesman pointed out. "Winning 82 gold medals and more than 280 medals in total, the EU's sportsmen and sportswomen performed outstandingly," said the commission president in a press release. It was his "dream", he continued, to see EU member state teams "carry the flag of the EU alongside their own national flag as a symbol of our unity". The president was Romano Prodi, and he was talking after the Athens games of 2004.
The contrast could not be greater between Prodi's euphoria and the conspicuous silence of current president JosÚ Manuel Barroso. Spokesman Frederic Vincent confirmed to PublicServiceEurope.com
that Barroso has made no comment on the London games. "I don't recall any comments following previous games by the president of the commission," Vincent said, "and I'm sure the president like millions of people around the EU have enjoyed the games of London which were very well organised and a lot of fun and an achievement all around."
In Barroso's absence, it was left to cheerleaders such as Amelia Andersdotter, the European Parliament's youngest member, to fly the flag for Brussels. "EU kicks ass in fight for medals at #olympics2012," Andersdotter wrote on Twitter. She attached a chart
showing that the EU had won twice as many golds in London as the United States – 92 compared to 46 – and three times as many medals, 306 compared to 104. When you compare the populations of Europe, the US and China, the conclusion can only be that Europe dominates the sporting world.
Why did Barroso decide not to sing Europe's praises? Why did he not follow in Prodi's footsteps either following the Beijing games? One possibility is that he is afraid of a backlash. Prodi's comments were met with fury in the United Kingdom. How can this unelected bureaucrat claim credit for the achievements of our athletes, the sceptic press there thundered? Given the rise of Euroscepticism across the 27-member bloc, a similarly provocative outburst today would no doubt ensure the commission president reams of negative coverage.
Back in 2004, the year of the Athens games, the EU hierarchy was convinced that it was on a path towards the creation of a United States of Europe. With the single market and the common currency seemingly consolidated, all that was left to impress upon the minds of EU citizens were the trappings of a true nation state: an anthem, Beethoven's Ode to Joy. A motto, United in Diversity. A day of celebration, Europe Day on May 9. And a flag of 12 golden stars on a blue background. All these symbols already existed, though most were and remain unfamiliar to a vast majority of the EU's 500 million inhabitants.
Prodi was preparing the ground ahead of what he thought would be the adoption of the European constitution, a text that would enshrine the EU symbols. But as we know, the plan went pear-shaped. The constitution was rejected and the symbols dropped, much to the annoyance of the European Parliament and the bloc's more pro-European nations. In keeping his head down about the EU's performance in London, Barroso is personifying the new, timid Europe that has emerged since the rejection. A few politicians, such as Andersdotter or the parliament's Alliance of Liberals and Democrats leader Guy Verhofstadt, are still keeping the flame of pooled sovereignty alive. But in today's union, not even the commission president will be seen holding the flame, not even for a moment. It is more evidence that the EU has lost its raison d'etre.
Where is the voice of the people in this - those who want their sovereignty restored, who reject EU lies and the corruption of the machine? Do you dare publish a rebuttal? The EU's raison d'etre was to be a trading community, not a corrupt superstate. Or so we were told in the UK, when my parents voted to stay in it. We were lied to then and ever since. The forthcoming breakup of the euro, and the massive economic damage it's already done is plain to see. It shows clearly how disastrous it is for politicians to accrete power to themselves to rule the people, rather than carry out their democratic will.
Here in the UK - we had a stable, efficient and accountable democracy. Now we have EU lies, taxation and corruption on a massive scale. We want our country back now and we want rid of those in Brussels who get fat on the backs of hard working honest people across Europe.
If our politicians don't restore sovereignty and democracy soon and end this regime, it will probably fall apart through much bloodshed. The EU hasn't prevented war in Europe, it's merely prepared the ground for the next one.
Countries exist because the people want them, because they're prepared to fight for them and die for them if necessary. Look at recent history. Almost without exception, it's about the creation of smaller states and the breakup of larger entities in favour of smaller ones. The few exceptions usually involve imposed, despotic anti-democratic rule, for example in Tibet.
Contrast that with the breakup of the Soviet bloc, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, even Sudan and South Sudan. Where, anywhere on the planet, do the people themselves actually want larger states? The EU was never anything other than control-freakery. It has passed its sell-by-date and needs to be consigned to the dustbin of history - alongside the Ottoman empire, the Third Reich, the pan-Arabian state, the Soviet Union and all the rest.