“Power resides where men believe it resides. It’s a trick, a shadow on the wall.” Varys of Lys
So now we know. Now we know for certain that when the chips are down, Brussels has neither the authority nor the inclination to act when it really matters. Right across the continent, borders are going up and countries are looking to their own institutions for answers and action to combat the Coronavirus threat.
The current crisis has finally exposed the myth of European solidarity for the dangerous fair-weather fantasy it always has been. As Italy and Spain struggle to cope with the spiralling crisis, their calls for medical and financial aid from Brussels have effectively come to naught. Despite decades of tall talk about being stronger together, this crisis has revealed that the EU’s obsession with ever closer union was only ever driven by a pathological lust for raw political power. When the chance finally arrives to put these lofty ideals into action, both Brussels and EU member states are nowhere to be found. Platitudes about solidarity lie trampled in the dust as countries pull up the drawbridge and leave the stragglers to fend for themselves in a display of self-interest that will not soon be forgotten by Italy, Spain and many others across the continent.
In fairness, it’s only natural for nations to look to their own security in a situation like this, and it would be foolish to criticise them for acting in the best interests of their citizens. Still, it’s very telling that in times of real crisis, the most enduring and efficient power structure remains the much maligned nation state, not the EU, the UN, the WHO or any of globalism’s impotent alphabet institutions.
This is the the point of no return for the EU. Periphery nations are now in no doubt that the concept of European solidarity is little more than a virtue signalling camouflage for centralised control and they will never trust Brussels again. This has been a wake-up call of both epic and tragic proportions, but nations and peoples across the continent can now be certain that the European political class has no real interest in them or their well-being.
Although it’s hard to see a brighter tomorrow right now, we can all take comfort from knowing that this pandemic will eventually pass; herd immunity will strengthen, treatments will become more effective and some bright spark will eventually come up with a safe and effective vaccine. However, whilst the human and economic costs can eventually be reconciled, the catastrophic loss of trust between the EU and its members will never be recovered.
By the time this is all over, both the people and politicians of Europe will no longer believe that Brussels wields any true authority. Whereas the EU could expect obedience before the pandemic, in future it will be ignored, as will any fines and sanctions imposed by the Eurocrats as Brussels impotently stamps its feet and shouts at an empty auditorium.
Once upon a time the nations of Europe believed that power resided in Brussels; today that belief is shattered, and with it any semblance of obedience to its self-appointed political class. That may be cold comfort to those who have suffered and lost throughout this tragic and preventable episode, but the silver lining will be a continent of newly invigorated and interconnected nation states. Yes, the sickness will be a great trial, but the patient will emerge stronger, fitter and more self-confident than ever before.
Europe is finally waking up to the fact that it never really needed Brussels in the first place, and just like that, the illusion of power evaporates.