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Analysis

If whole world was like EU, it would be far far better

by Hugo Dixon | 17.06.2019

If you want to know how good the EU is, look at the rest of the world. Sure, it’s messy and some of its leaders such as Hungary’s Viktor Orban aren’t great. But countries work together and respect one another, rather than fight and bully each other.

The EU is a club of nations based on values: freedom, the rule of law, democracy, equality, non-discrimination and respect for human rights. It also looks after its members.

That marks a huge contrast to the world as a whole – where might is right. The big guys bully the little ones. If they can’t get their way, they sometimes resort to violence. The little guys suck up to the big ones to get their protection.

This has always been the case – and used to be so in Europe too before the creation of the EU. The bad old days of dog-eats-dog could return if the EU collapses.

Sure, we have the United Nations to keep world peace. But any of the five permanent members of its security council – including China and Russia – can veto anything they don’t like. As a result, the UN is incredibly weak. Pity any country that has to depend on its protection.

Sure, we have the World Trade Organisation to ensure fair play in trade. But it never did much to open up services, which accounts for 80% of the UK economy. What’s more, Donald Trump is undermining it – so much so that even Liam Fox, our trade secretary, has twigged that it’s facing an “existential crisis”.

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Sure, we have NATO to protect us against Vladimir Putin. But Trump is undermining that too. Even if America had a different president, it would be turning its attention to China. So Europe will have to do more to defend itself.

Yes, the EU has its troubles. But look beyond its frontiers: it is an oasis of peace and prosperity in a dangerous world. Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria. There is dictatorship, strife or war in pretty much every direction.

Compare Poland to Ukraine. They are next to one another. Both were part of the Soviet empire. Poland joined the EU and is peaceful and prosperous. Neighbouring Ukraine is Putin’s plaything – and poor.

If we pull out of the EU, there won’t be a third world war. But we will miss it as a force for peace. As the borders go up, violence could easily return to Northern Ireland.

More generally, we will no longer be a leading member of the EU, one of the world’s most powerful clubs. Without the protection of our gang – a gang based on mutual respect – we will be vulnerable to bullies.

So let’s stay at Europe’s top table.

Let’s stand up for ourselves. Let’s stand up for others. Let’s stand up to bullies.

That’s why we are supporting the massive pro-European March for Change on July 20. Sign up and give generously.

Edited by Luke Lythgoe

One Response to “If whole world was like EU, it would be far far better”

  • Dear Hugo,

    When the Brexit misadventure is over and we can all breathe a sigh of relief, I truly hope that you will continue to write succinct articles like this one. The article is an inspiration to take the method of the EU out to the rest of the world. As you rightly say, the world would be a far, far better place.

    I think that a wider application of the EU’s method to other parts of the world would be the good that emerges from these dark days

    John McClintock