Welcome to the first Debating Europe book of the month! Each month, we pick a different book and interview its author, putting questions and comments to them from our readers on the topic of the book.
Our book of the month for April is “Slippery Slope: Brexit and Europe’s Troubled Future” by Giles Merritt, founder and chairman of our sister think-tank, Friends of Europe. In his book, Merritt argues that Brexit has hastened Europe’s decline, coming at the same time as rapidly-developing economies, particularly in Asia, shift the global balance of power.
To halt the decline, Merritt argues that Europe must take steps to establish a real political union (which includes much greater transparency and democratic control from citizens) and push for a pro-growth agenda, with a massive pan-European investment plan and with the European Central Bank given beefed up powers to promote jobs and growth.
What do our readers think? We asked readers to send in comments and questions for Giles Merritt, and had a fantastic response.
First up, we had a comment sent in from Paul, who thought Merritt’s book advocated a “typical Europhile” solution:
Merritt is a typical Europhile who believes the solution to the EU is more political union, more centralised power, more money, etc. What they all fail to grasp is the main problem with the EU is that it makes no effort to justify (to the general taxpaying public) the powers it has and how it spends the money it is already given…and until it does, it will always be seen as just a profligate, elitist, protectionist club which adds no value to anything it does
How would Giles Merritt respond to that criticism?
You can read the article Merritt refers to on the Friends of Europe website. Next up, we had a comment from Cecilia, arguing that the EU focuses too much of its energy and attention on its most-educated citizens, alienating many people:
Europe should take more care of the ones who aren’t enrolled in university. We’ve made the Erasmus programme to build a new generation of European citizens, but we forget that half of the youngest generations will probably never have access to a degree.
What about the ones who stop their studies before or those who are too old to have the chance to travel with an erasmus programme? I think that we have to take care of them if we want Europe to be closer to its citizens, but I also agree with the book, more Europe is needed.
What would Merritt say to Cecilia’s comment?
Next, we had a comment come from the creatively-monikered Randomguy2017, who took issue with Merritt’s argument that Europe would need to rely on immigration in order to sustain an ageing population. Instead, he suggested an alternative solution:
Return to family values. Increase the birth rates (not via immigration). Less Liberalism. Less Grand Orient values. Less wars. Less abortions, improve the economy for the people (not the elites). Allow free speech of opinions which some may not like.
Would this work as a solution? How would Giles Merritt respond?
Finally, we had a comment from Alexander, who agreed that Europe needs greater investment, but believes that means scrapping EU agreements on debt and deficits. Here’s his comment:
Remove the EuroPlusPact directive to start with. Invest in Europe’s population ensuring them the best possible working conditions and benefits.
We are in Denmark suffering greatly under this directive and EU resistance is growing because it motivates our politicians to cut down on our welfare system and cut down on our flexicurity model.
We feel attacked by the EU due to this directive and we have reached a red line soon which might ignite into heavy EU resistance if ignored and we used to be very pro-EU.
How would Giles Merritt respond?
Does Europe need a stronger political union? How can it deal with an ageing population and keep public debt under control, while still investing in the future and supporting the economy? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!