By Monica Showalter
The European Union doesn’t look like it’s going to make it through this coronavirus crisis.
Italians, as noted yesterday, are out burning the EU flag and calling for an EU “Italexit,” in the wake of Europe’s failure to help them in their coronavirus distress.
Now France, up until now the noisiest advocate for all the European Union stands for, is moving in that direction, too. And they aren’t in the kind of trouble Italy is.
According to Legal Insurrection:
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire has called on his countrymen to buy domestic products as the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak cripples the European single market. Describing his approach as “economic patriotism,” he urged French supermarkets to ‘stock French products.’
The call didn’t go unheard. Following the minister’s remarks on Tuesday, the trade body representing French supermarkets vowed to stock up shelves exclusively with fruits and vegetables produced within France once the foreign products run out, the newspaper Les Echosreported.
The French move comes at a time when the 27 member European Union single market faces a massive supply chain crisis in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. Many of the EU member states have set up border controls to restrict the export of food and essential medical supplies to neighboring countries.
It’s a big deal, because since when has any Europe Union stalwart ever uttered the word ‘patriotism’ without yelling ‘Hitler’ somewhere in the backwash? Hasn’t patriotism, in EU eyes, been solely the purview of wild eyed racists and right wing zealots, not to be allowed in polite company? That makes France’s move actually pretty hypocritical, as Legal Insurrection notes:
French President Emmanuel Macron has been among the sharpest critics ‘America First’ policy followed by U.S. President Donald Trump. “By pursuing our own interests first, with no regard to others’, we erase the very thing that a nation holds most precious, that which gives it life and makes it great: its moral values,” Macron declared when the U.S. president joined him at the ceremony to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of First World War in November 2018.
The European Union is all about supposedly casting aside selfish interests in the name of global collective goods and forgetting all about where one came from. So now Trump was right all along?
Maybe nations really do act in their national interest, instead of globalism’s after all.
France, as it happens, is in a pretty good position to move toward self-sufficiency as the agricultural big boy of the European Union:
France is the first agricultural power in the European Union. With an agricultural production of 61 billion euros in 2009, it produces 19% of European agricultural goods and has the largest agricultural area.
Since it can, it does. But for EU nations that aren’t France, this won’t go down well. Now that France is pulling up the drawbridge, the rest the European states are likely do the same, bringing on the distant rattle of dominos falling for the EU.
Nations that aren’t as self-sufficient as France are going to step up efforts to get that way. And after that happens, they’re all going to be asking what their European Union membership is good for.
The EU was always an argument about money over patriotism, not all that different from China’s argument that its communist party delivers prosperity so pay no attention to those Mao posters and that socialist absence of freedom.
Europe for sure has said that economics, not patriotism, is what matters. Europe’s money, to take one example, has weird generic images of vaguely European-looking monuments instead of very specific landmarks. That was intentional, a bid to persuade Europe’s denizens that ‘place’ no longer matters in the replacement state of Europe. The EU says this:
On the front of both series of euro banknotes, windows and doorways are shown. They symbolise the European spirit of openness and cooperation. The bridges on the back symbolise communication between the people of Europe and between Europe and the rest of the world.
Like the first series, the new Europa series banknotes show architectural styles from various periods in Europe’s history, but do not show any actual existing monuments or bridges.
Which sounds wretched in light of this French appeal to authentic patriotism now.
Up until now, the only ‘patriotism’ the EU stands for loyalty to globalism and the blue 12-star flag, whose 12 stars, again, don’t stand for anything.
The coronavirus era not only shows that socialism and globalism don’t mix, it also shows that promising prosperity in place of nation and freedom only works so long as there’s actual prosperity. Once there isn’t, the whole thing falls apart, and nations retreat to being nations.
France’s decision may be existentially right for it, just as Trump’s is or America, but it isn’t conducive toward making anyone else want to stay in the European Union. If France does this and leaves others high and dry, they in the end will be left asking what they need the European Union for.