Top menu

If the EU didn’t exist, we would have to invent it

A serious attempt at democracy, in the sense of being able to influence the decisions that affect our lives, can only be done through solidarity with those in the European Union. Interview with Mary Kaldor

Rosemary Bechler(RB): We were lucky enough to catch your contribution to the BREXIT debate in a meeting at the TUC and more recently in the DiEM25 launch panel discussion at the LSE – as a long-standing contributor to openDemocracy on European matters, what do you feel your role should be in this national debate?

Mary Kaldor(MK):  I suppose what I think is that the dominant debate is a very Establishment debate. Both the people who want Brexit and the people who want to stay in are making very conservative arguments.  Michael Chessum had a nice piece in openDemocracy making that point.

And they are arguing about what it means economically for the elite. (Actually Brexit are saying more about social justice than the Remain contingent!)

I feel that there is a really important, progressive, emancipatory case for Europe that is not being made in the mainstream debate. That, I feel, is what it is most important to do. And the problem is that the left are very ambivalent about the European Union because it is so neoliberal, and so what we need is to put together a really enthusiastic left case for the European Union.

RB: But can we only really do that by talking about Another Europe being possible?

MK: Yes, though I think we have to understand that the existing European Union is a funny mixture. That was the argument you heard me put at the TUC, and it is evident, for example, in relation to security. The European Union was established as a peace project. For the first twenty years of its existence it did emphasis social justice. It was brought together through economic cooperation, and that involved the agricultural policy – which is actually a social policy for farmers – the regional funds, which was really a social support for poorer regions, and so forth.

Read more