The European Union (EU) was born from the dream of a united Europe that could challenge the communist threat emanating from the then Soviet Union. Even though it started as the European Economic Community, the idea had risen from the goal of forming an ideological union.
When the United States emerged as a superpower in the Cold War era, her European allies, a strong “Christian union” with joint borders, seemed like the perfect candidate to play the part of a shield against the communist threat. Surely, the group was never called a Christian union and no one admitted that it had a Christian background or ideology, but it is true that there is no Muslim country in the European Union, except for Mayotte Island, a small Muslim land in Africa that European Union had to admit in 2014, as it was officially annexed by France.
Turkey has been a member of the Customs Union and has been waiting for well-nigh 50 years to be accepted as a member to the EU but to no avail. This further confirms this unacknowledged Christian Club status of the European Union.
Even though the European Union acts like a Christian alliance, the changes in the union after the Cold War era are far more important. Many speculate that a new cold war is approaching with Russia’s latest Crimea move; this, however, is not the case.
The European Union continues to cooperate with Russia especially with regards to the natural gas trade and will not jeopardize its relations with Russia due to sensitive trade dependence. However, it is true that there have been some changes in the EU, especially after the start of the economic crisis. Countries that were hit hardest by the recession like Greece, Greek Cyprus, Portugal and Spain eventually became a liability for the wealthy economy of the EU and strong members like Germany, France and the United Kingdom found themselves in a position to deal with the financial liability of these countries. It was Great Britain that had to bear the brunt of the blow, as it hadn’t changed its currency to the Euro and was more naturally isolated than the others being an island.
Germany and France saw this alarming trend and suggested dividing the EU into three, which would create a first-tier Europe that would include France and make Germany the center; a second-tier Europe including the Baltic States and the Balkans and a third-tier Europe with Spain and Italy inside. According to this plan, first-tier Europe would continue to grow without dealing with the problems of the financially suffering countries, while the others would be governed by the first-tier Europe; in other words, the Anglo-French colonial model seen in African countries would be applied to Europe. In this way, the rich countries wouldn’t have to deal with the financially struggling countries and help them out of their ordeal.
The plan didn’t work. The EU wants to be a superpower, but considers financially struggling countries as “weak links.” Great Britain thinks that being a member of the EU is hurting her both economically and sociologically and is strongly considering a referendum for departure; surely the EU wouldn’t want to lose an important member such as the Great Britain, especially during these difficult times. It should also be noted that the UK has plans not only to get closer with Russia, but with also Muslim countries in order to boost its economy.
The EU could have turned into a beautiful and special union that fortified the decent, sophisticated, liberal and democratic nature of Europe and that grew stronger by friendly ties within itself. However, capitalist mindset is hurting this union, one that is based on purely financial concerns. This “union of the powerful” does not refrain from occasionally resorting to ruthless methods toward weaker members when there is a conflict of interests, showing the horrible and sinister face of hyper-capitalism. This approach hurts not only the ones on the receiving end of it, but the ones doing it as well.
Unions can be strong and stable only when they are based on mutual trust and friendship. When they are founded on that basis, the stronger members will not see weaker ones as weak links, but rather as a dear friend that needs a helping hand. When this happens, unions become stronger both financially and sociologically, and there will be no room for conflict and unrest.
This is the perspective the EU needs. When countries adopt this point of view, this union, which is crucial in keeping countries together, can transform into a beautiful union of peace. Surely, to do that the EU should seek to help financially troubled members and shed its image of an exclusively “Christian Club.”
An economically strong and democratic Muslim country such as Turkey would be a great asset, not only to the European Union but also would help facilitate the economic, cultural power and warmth of the Islamic world, transfer to Europe. It would also help the EU shed its “Christian Club” image.
It is crucial that important unions like the European Union base their foundations on friendship rather than financial interests. Such a mindset of friendship will always bring happiness to the world.
- The writer has authored more than 300 books translated into 73 languages on politics, religion and science.
He tweets @harun_yahya