British and EU flags flying Ye Pingfan/ Xinhua via Zuma Wire

Een steeds hechtere unie of een gezamenlijke markt?

BERLIJN – Wat er op het spel staat in het komende referendum in Groot-Brittannië of lid te blijven van de Europese Unie betreft de hele natuur van de EU zelf. Groot-Brittannië wil een ander Europa dan de EU momenteel vertegenwoordigd. Zijn voorkeur is een Europa dat in essentie alleen maar uit een gezamenlijke markt betstaat. Zelfs alhoewel Engeland lang in staat is geweest om buiten de euro en veel andere zaken te blijven (en daarmee op geen enkele manier is gedwongen om deel te nemen in het proces van het verdiepen van de Europese politieke unie), is dit de ideologische essentie van de controverse.

Het is een vraag die het Engelse ‘Brexit’-debat overstijgt. De groeiende macht van euro-sceptische krachten in veel lidstaten van de EU heeft dezelfde kwestie voor het hele continent opgeworpen, waar velen geloven dat het doel van een politieke unie de burgers van die lidstaten teveel belast en niet nagevolgd zou moeten worden.

Net zoals de Britten vragen veel continentale Europeanen zich af of transnationale regulering door Brusselse instituties en een politieke unie eigenlijk wel nodig zijn. Zou een los samenwerkingsverband van soevereine natiestaten die de harde economische kern van een continentale gezamenlijke markt delen – kortom het Britse model – niet voldoende zijn? Waarom zouden we ons vermoeien met al die gecompliceerde integratie met een Schengenakkoord, monetaire unie, en EU-regelgeving, die uiteindelijk niet goed werken en alleen maar de mondiale concurrentiepositie van de lidstaten verslechteren?

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