We all know that EU’s eventual dream is to become a country. It deliberately takes on the clothing of statehood – a flag, an anthem, a parliament, its own courts, Euro-embassies, a President, a military serving with EU badges and so on.
The project may be beset by political and economic problems of its own making, and it may lack a demos, but it is still dead set on that dream, the logical conclusion of ever closer union.
For that reason we should always be watchful of people treating the EU like a nation state.
Some may do it deliberately, hoping to further the project, while others may do it inadvertently – drawn to do so by Brussels’ tendency to ape the way real national governments behave.
I’m sure Simon Jack, the Today Programme’s business presenter, fell into the latter category this morning when discussing the putative Free Trade Agreement between the USA and the EU.
Interviewing a German banker about the trade talks, he said:
“I get the impression that there aren’t a huge amount of import tariffs between the two countries, are there?”
It may well have been an innocent error brought on by the early hour, but that’s a huge political gift to the EU.
By behaving like a country, negotiating trade deals on our behalf in this instance, it has long hoped to be treated like one and eventually accepted as one.
It’s the political equivalent of the Jungle Book’s King Louie, an orangutan set on becoming human:
“I wanna be a man, man-cub
And stroll right into town
To be just like all the other men
I’m tired of monkeying around
I’ll ape your man-nerisms
We’ll be a set of twins
Hey, no one will know where the man-cub ends
And the or-rang-u-tan begins”
Equating the EU to an actual country like the USA is an explicitly political statement – the fruit of a political campaign to make the EU what it is not.
The BBC, committed by Charter to political balance (as well as the duty to inform), should not be handing Brussels a status it desires but does not deserve. Given the evidence of outright BBC bias – on immigration, say, or the generous billing the Corporation gave to Nissan’s alarmism last week – Auntie should be more careful how it enters such an important debate.