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Delito de Opinião


Adolfo Mesquita Nunes, 22.06.16

A 15 de Maio de 1992, em Haia, Margaret Thatcher sintetizava, num discurso intitulado de 'Europe’s Political Architecture', os seus principais receios sobre a moeda única e registava a forma como esses receios, as suas dúvidas, que lhe pareciam gritantes, não mereciam, no espaço público europeu, muito mais do que desdém, como se não merecessem atenção, como se fossem umas ideias antiquadas de uma provinciana (chegou a dizer-se que ela queria voltar ao Século XIX).

Aqui ficam, de novo, para que possamos dar-lhes a atenção que então não mereceram. E que pelo menos nos sirvam de lição, não tanto sobre o euro, mas sobre a forma como muitas vezes lidamos, no debate público, com as ideias com que não concordamos (o discurso integral pode ser lido aqui).   

If the European Community proceeds in the direction which the majority of Member State Governments and the Commission seem to want they will create a structure which brings insecurity, unemployment, national resentment and ethnic conflict.

Insecurity — because Europe's protectionism will strain and possibly sever that link with the United States on which the security of the continent ultimately depends.

Unemployment — because the pursuit of policies of regulation will increase costs, and price European workers out of jobs.

National resentment — because a single currency and a single centralised economic policy, which will come with it, will leave the electorate of a country angry and powerless to change its conditions .

Ethnic conflict — because not only will the wealthy European countries be faced with waves of immigration from the South and from the East.

Also within Europe itself, the effect of a single currency and regulation of wages and social costs will have one of two consequences.

Either there will have to be a massive transfer of money from one country to another, which will not in practice be affordable.

Or there there will be massive migration from the less successful to the more successful countries.

Yet if the future we are being offered contains so very many risks and so few real benefits, why it may be asked is it proving all but irresistible ?

The answer is simple.

It is that in almost every European country there has been a refusal to debate the issues which really matter.

And little can matter more than whether the ancient, historic nations of Europe are to have their political institutions and their very identities transformed by stealth into something neither wished nor understood by their electorates.

Yet so much is it the touchstone of respectability to accept this ever closer union, now interpreted as a federal destiny, that to question is to invite affected disbelief or even ridicule.

This silent understanding — this Euro-snobbism — between politicians, bureaucracies, academics, journalists and businessmen is destructive of honest debate.

So John Major deserves high praise for ensuring at Maastricht that we would not have either a Single Currency or the absurd provisions of the Social Chapter forced upon us: our industry, workforce, and national prosperity will benefit as a result.

Indeed, as long as we in Britain now firmly control our spending and reduce our deficit, we will be poised to surge ahead in Europe.

For our taxes are low: our inflation is down: our debt is manageable: our reduced regulations are favourable to business.

We take comfort from the fact that both our Prime Minister and our Foreign Secretary have spoken out sharply against the forces of bureaucracy and federalism.

Our choice is clear: Either we exercise democratic control of Europe through co-operation between national governments and parliaments which have legitimacy, experience and closeness to the people.

Or, we transfer decisions to a remote multi-lingual parliament, accountable to no real European public opinion and thus increasingly subordinate to a powerful bureaucracy.

No amount of misleading language about pooling sovereignty can change that.

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