The Europhiles in Brussels and across the EU will hear nothing of it. Just as they have done for decades, they dismiss the notion of the EU being split up as nothing more than small-minded chauvinism. It is easy, however, to portray your opponents as small-minded. It is much harder to actually prove them wrong. In this case, it might not be possible at all: the Eurosceptics have been proven right time and again since the start of the global financial crisis.
In fact, it turns out that the “small-minded chauvinists” have, in fact, for years and years been the most forward-thinking people in Europe. It was the Eurosceptics who forsaw that expansion of the “European family” (as Europhiles lovingly call it) was going too fast: many new member states were simply not yet ready. The cultural and economic mindsets of Northern, Southern and Eastern Europe were insufficiently aligned to accommodate a grand unification project.
These warnings were ignored, but it turns out they should have been heeded instead. Similarly, the Eurosceptics warned that the institutions of the Union were not democratic enough, and that there was not (yet) enough popular support for the EU among the peoples of Europe. Again, they cautioned, more time was needed. But no – the Europhiles pushed for more centralization, at the expense of national sovereignty and popular democracy. The EU thus became a project of the elite, disliked by the people at large.
The grand misconception of the Europhiles was that they would be able to shape Europe as they wanted: that they could force their utopian ideal on the people without any resistance at all, and everyone would come to love their creation as much as they did. Simply put: the Europhiles behaved like a bunch of arrogant tossers. As a result, they – and everyone else in Europe – are now faced with the results of their hubris. Many countries weren’t ready for a monetary union, and precicely due to that single currency, their economic woes are also ravaging the countries that were ready. The people have come to hate the EU, rather than love it.