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I would be less concerned about inequalities between member states - which as Fitzgerald shows, have been reducing (Greece excepted) - than growing inequalities within member states, particularly between metropolitan and rural areas, between young and old, and between different occupational groups. All of these issues are still primarily in the policy domain of member state governments, and hence of national elites. Thus personal, wealth and corporate taxation, social welfare, housing, education and health are very largely national competencies.

The EU can serve as a convenient bogeyman for national elites to deflect attention from their own policy failures - hence Brexit - but it would be to fall into the nationalist myth of the big bad Brussels bureaucracy to ascribe the primary blame to the EU. If anything, EU competencies in the areas of competition, agriculture, and regional development have served to reduce such regional/class inequalities by breaking up local oligopolies and introducing competition from other national or international oligopolies - euphemistically referred to as costs of transition - and providing opportunities for the more entrepreneurially minded to seek markets elsewhere.

Of course this has also furthered the cause of globalisation, but the EU has at least attempted to mitigate the monopolistic tendencies of global corporates, something national elites (particularly of smaller states) are completely unable to do. So my suggestion is that we need stronger governance of global corporates by the Commission allied to the transfer of more competencies for health, education, social welfare, infrastructure, energy and taxation from national elites to the EU - both to promote common and more equal standards and services, and to effect economies of scale - as in the case of pharmaceutical procurement.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 31st, 2018 at 11:38:29 AM EST
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