Monday, May 09, 2005

Using the Holocaust to sell the EU constitution

Wondering why Sharansky's next book is going to be on the importance of the nation-state? Here's why:
A senior European Commissioner marked VE Day yesterday by accusing Eurosceptics of risking a return to the Holocaust by clinging to "nationalistic pride".
Margot Wallstrom, a Swede and the commissioner who must sell the draft constitution to voters, argued that politicians who resisted pooling national sovereignty risked a return to Nazi horrors of the 1930s and 1940s.
Mrs Wallstrom, vice-president of the commission for institutional relations and communications, was speaking in the former Jewish ghetto of Terezin in the Czech Republic.
She blamed the Second World War on "nationalistic pride and greed, and … international rivalry for wealth and power". The EU had replaced such rivalry with an historic agreement to share national sovereignty.
Her fellow commissioners also issued a joint declaration, stating that EU citizens should pay tribute to the dead of the Second World War by voting Yes to the draft constitution for Europe.
The commissioners also gave the EU sole credit for ending the Cold War, making no
mention of the role of Nato and the United States.
To a certain extent, of course, this is what Europeans truly believe: because nationalism was one of the causes of the second World War, it must be quashed. To use the Holocaust to sell the unpopular EU constitution (now in danger of being rejected even in France), however, is rather despicable. It's not just the cynicism and fear-mongering, but the fact that another Holocaust is just as likely to emerge from a centralized system where faceless bureaucracts make decisions without being properly accountable (if carried to its logical conclusion) than from a system of nationalistic democracies.

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