European Union and Europe are two different things, EFTA is forward-looking

by Dr phil Winfried Pogorzelski

In Europe, a linguistic and thus political bad habit has developed: Everywhere journalists, politicians, professionals, most of the citizens themselves don’t differentiate between “Europe” and the “European Union (EU)”. However, every student correctly learns: Europe is a continent consisting of 46 sovereign states whose territories, whole or partly, belong to the continent of Europe. The EU is a political, economic alliance of just 28, soon only 27 European states. Its institutions and officials have far-reaching powers (economic, financial and military policy) which severely restrict the sovereignty of the member states. Only the members of the European Parliament, which does not even have the right to initiate legislation, are directly elected every five years by the citizens of the Union.
EU-critical statements are increasingly being dismissed as “anti-European”. For example, SP National Councillor CÚdric Wermuth, states in the “Aargauer Zeitung” of 27 August: “The development [which means more liberalism, nationalism, refugee hostility and the dismantling of the public service, W.P.] is a drama for pro-Europeans. “But what exactly should a pro-European be? A Social Democrat of the type of Mr Wermuth or SP Switzerland? Anyone who does not share these views is simply “against Europe”? Certainly not! What kind of Europe do “Europeans” really want – or better – should they want?
A Europe of nation states, which are severely restricted in their sovereignty, of total free trade, of complete freedom of movement, of involvement in the NATO military alliance, which is dominated by the USA – apparently also not! Not even all EU states, their parties and their citizens agree on the current fundamental issues: the current developments in Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Austria and Italy emphatically underline this.
More differentiation is required: The careless incorporation of the term Europe by politicians of various stripes is factually wrong and is propagandistic. It obviously serves its own interests. This type of politicisation leaves behind what has made Europe a model of success and a worldwide model: the promotion of national sovereignty, democracy, the rule of law, pluralism, liberalism and peace.
An alternative that has worked well for decades, but of which hardly anyone speaks today, is the EFTA (founded in 1960). Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland have joined forces to form a free trade organisation, thus proving that there are other ways of doing things than the uncritical supporters of the undemocratic bureaucracy moloch, the EU, are constantly trying to make believe: These states are and will remain sovereign and democratic, Switzerland even direct democratic. They use free trade among themselves for their economic progress in order to secure prosperity and independence on behalf of their citizens.
In this way, they retain the individual freedom to conclude trade agreements or to give them up again. In this way they preserve and cultivate Europe’s achievements, which cannot be overestimated. This is always better than just being a small part of a great power (with very limited opportunities for participation), for better or for worse, to be involved in the risky global poker of power, a great power that is increasingly unstable in itself and continues to be undemocratic and centralist.     •
(Translation Current Concerns)