Qu\’est-ce que c\’est?

Before coming to Europe, I was an admirer of all things european. Effortlessly, I would declare ‘Europe is 50 years ahead of America in terms of morals’ as well as other europhile axioms chanted by rote.

On the tour bus in Brussels, when we reached the EU parliament, a small French girl pointed at a seemingly boring and trite wanna-be glass edifice, punctuating with a ‘Qu’est-ce que c’est?’ Her father struggled—though to be fair, not as much as he would a few minutes later—to find the right answer. He settled with ‘La Commission’ i.e., the European Commission. Mais, non! Upon close inspection, discovering the Babelic and polychromatic placard that declared to the uncaring world that here was the European Parliament, he corrected himself: ‘Ah, c’est le Parlement européen.’

Then the nightmare began, for the response only piqued the girl’s curiosity. To the qu’est-ce que c’est were added Commission, Parliament and other EU terms. I listened to the conversation with a sadistic smirk—I knew he would not be able to explain to her sans doubt what the EU is. But it is no fault of his own, most ‘EU citizens’ would be at a loss to tell you what it is.

So what is the EU? To me, it is a failed european project. A european Marshall Plan that will ultimately follow in the path of Quaero. It is a political project without much cohesion or harmony, i.e., very little political will.

Officially, the EU is a political union that will allow for the free movement of people, capital and … er … I always forget the third part that compliments the EU troika. But in all accounts, the EU amounts to what the Soviet Constitution was: a grandiose humanist wishlist, to put it one way, that never materialized.

Ah yes, the EU is not a troika but a quadrille (what fanciful words my, oh my!) for it is meant to allow for the free movement of people, capital, goods and services.