While the people of the Arab world are rising up and calling for self-determination and democracy, Europe is sinking into despotism. Its democratic traditions are being eroded and destroyed, its citizens harassed and patronised. The power that the people have delegated to their representatives has clandestinely moved on, has withdrawn to an inaccessible place that no human eye has ever seen. Who is really in charge? Where do all the strings come together, and who is gripping them in their hands, and for what purpose? No one really knows. Laws and regulations are passed, but the inhabitants of the old world no longer understand their wording. One might almost think that a race of aliens had landed quietly on earth and taken over Europe first, perhaps because its members thrive there. It is the land of the technocrats.
Hans-Magnus Enzesberger's essay will be published in English by Sea Gull.
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In Die Zeit, former member of the Swiss government Moritz Leuenbergerexplains why the pamphlet by Hans Magnus Enzensberger is "a goldmine of quotes for tirades against the bureaucracy" and will give ammunition to the Swiss anti-capitalists, even though the German essayist also praises the peace and progress that the Union has brought to its citizens. Leuenberger also states that the lack of democracy in the EU denounced by Enzensberger holds true for all countries, both in and outside the Union. And at no point, he stresses, does Enzensberger call for the dissolution of the Union. Quite the contrary: Enzensberger admits that in Brussels there is indeed a critical and enlightened discourse vis-à-vis the EU. And it is precisely this self-criticism that feeds the hopes for a better future for the Union: "Those who love the EU criticise it, as does Hans Magnus Enzensberger," he concludes.