This excellent article giving a Spanish point of view by Víctor Santana Lorenzo was first published, in Spanish, on the website Libertario. You can read it in the versión original here. But here’s my rough and ready translation:
Those selfish Brits, they want it all. They want to take advantage of only what’s in their own interests. They do not understand the European project. Where is their solidarity?
We hear this sort of thing from politicians all over the continent trying to defend a project they do not understand and which they see as nothing more than an endless source of money. The truth, however, is that the European Union is an endless source of regulation and control over our lives. That’s how the British feel, and this is how we should feel, too.
“Brexit” is a demand made by British society, a demand by a people who are accustomed to choosing their own politicians; who want to know their politicians and demand reasons for their decisions. Elsewhere in Europe we are used to the opposite. The demands are made upon us, while our politicians have not yet understood that although they work for someone, that ‘someone’ is not big business, but the people.
The reality is that the 60 million people in the UK have the power to help us, the 440 million citizens of Europe, get rid of the abuses of unelected politicians whom we cannot dismiss. It is they who can mark a new course in Europe. It is they who are telling us to wake up, because one day we will find that the only democracy we have left is to vote every 4, 5 or 7 years.
We have had years and years of problems in the European Union. Referendums have been ignored, voices unheeded and governments overthrown without recourse to the ballot box. These are the perfect breeding grounds in which people begin to realise that in Brussels the only thing that matters is Brussels: the system.
I often hear that the British wish to leave the EU because they want to exclude immigrants or because they are unwilling to accept the arrival of Spanish, French, Romanian and Estonian workers into their country. They want to leave because these people take advantage of their welfare system without having contributed to it. They want to leave because they care little for being told by the European Commission how to spend their own money. But the reality is something more profound. A country with the oldest and most stable democracy in the world sees her rights and freedoms being eroded by a gigantic bureaucratic machine. Furthermore, the British observe with astonishment how the economy of every continent of the world is growing, except the one to which they are yoked.
It is these two principles, democratic and economic, which have moved to our neighbours across the Channel to say, “Enough, it’s our turn to speak.”
The Democratic Community
Imagine living in a country where no one knows the Prime Minister nor the rest of his cabinet; in a country where politicians cannot be dismissed by the electorate and are immune to public opinion! Imagine a country where only unelected officials can propose laws to parliament and then from their own pulpit of moral authority ask the people to make sacrifices they are unwilling to make themselves. Would we want to live in such a country? Or should we want to dismantle the system and change it?
Brexit is this: the will to change a system with which the citizens are unhappy. It is the attempt by Britain to regain sovereignty, for its parliament to again be independent and not to blindly approve what the people have neither been asked, nor want.
And in the end it all boils down to this: to be able to hire and fire our representatives.
An economic crisis that never ends
Europe is the only continent of the world that is not growing. Our economy is at the same level as it was in 2008; EU GDP represents only 17% of the world economy, and falling; free trade agreements with countries with booming economies languish on the shelves of the Commission; and every day more and more European legislation regulates and dulls the vitality of our businesses, especially small and medium-sized businesses that have no ability to influence decision-making through expensive lobbying.
The UK referendum will not change the EU, because everything has already changed. The European Union can never return to what it used to be. Now the decision is about which road we should follow: the Union of them, that of France and Germany and the Commission; or the Union of us, the people of Europe?
The UK will be heard in their referendum. If a country can be heard, why not the rest of us?