Thanks for that, John. Though these are seen by many as tough times, the eu has more on the “done good” side of the ledger than “bad”.
If it is corporatist and neoliberal, it is no more so than its member states. Clearly, if you see these things in black and white terms as “bad”, you will find it in the eu. I’m afraid though leaving the eu will not end neoliberalism and “globalisation” in the uk; indeed britain has been one of the main proponents of pushing the eu away from collectivism and rights protection over the last decades, even though those remain several of its central achievements.
For those of other perspectives, global trade brings a good deal of “good”, raising people out of poverty and generally making things cheaper and better; the eu is one driver of that, focused on bringing that good to the peoples of europe. And don’t forget peace and security, which may sound trite, but this in a continent that spent the previous 100 years without it. And no that wasn’t just nato. Before the common market, tens of millions were killed in wars between germany and france; today they share a currency and don’t even have a border. The euro may have issues and the border occasionally reappear, but it’s quite difficult to imagine those two countrymen annihilating each other. Spain, greece and portugal are stories of democracies which not long ago were dictatorships. Europe’s yugoslavian corner was torn apart by its most vicious war since 1945. Too slow to stop it, europe has since brought healing balm, the major force in creating a civil society and the main motivation for sustained peace, with several successor states already in the club. The eu did not alone change these worlds, but in idea and action it played an important part. Europe and the world are paradigms better for the eu’s existence and would be at least as worse off without it. And all that without mentioning cheap flights (thanks eu for that too) to prague and budapest, previously communist dictatorships, now safe and prosperous democracies.
In the big battle to secure freedom and human rights, protections and order from chaos, transparency against corruption and good governance that bring more prosperity to more people, the eu is not just on the right side but designed with those ends in mind and pursues them as its mission. For all its faults, many inevitable as a futuristic post-national creation wrestling with the mires of the present, the eu is a force for good and needs its champions to keep being so.