I am looking forward to Great Britain’s referendum on whether to they stay in the European Union. It’s the first that a nation will vote whether they believe that being outside of the EU is better than being a member. When the Czech Republic applied for membership 20 years ago and even ten years later when we entered the EU, the notion that somebody would want to leave this “great” union seemed crazy. I do not know if The EU changed dramatically or just people’s opinion changed (probably a little bit of both) but the truth is that not only Britain is considering leaving.
The European Union seems like a great partnership of countries that in the not so distant past were at war with each other often. The EU certainly had something to do with the current 70 year peace on the continent. It brought countries together and brought down trade barriers. Some might say that this could have happened without the EU (and that is certainly true) but it is easy to say this in hindsight.
The evolution of the EU has been problematic in my eyes. I fully understand the benefits but more and more negatives are surfacing. Having no tariffs between members and not having border controls while travelling is awesome. But on the other hand we cannot set up special trade condition with non members and we have to rely on Greece and Italy for EU’s border security.
Furthermore the transfer of power from state to EU government is unsettling. Countries cannot set their own VAT taxes, have to obey by (sometimes absurd) regulations and have to beg EU for money for projects. The union wants to promote renewable energy so it is now subsidized and the Czech Republic is full of solar panels even though it is not an ideal location for this. I would not say, that the EU has a noticeable effect on the everyday live of regular citizens, but I do not like the trend.
If a referendum was held in the Czech Republic I would vote to leave. I feel that the country would be better off alone. I believe the Czech people can govern themselves better than politicians from various places in Europe. They are better equipped to handles the problems of the Czech Republic because they know the country. If possible I would leave the trade agreements in place that would enable Czech companies to buy and sell without barriers in the EU and hopefully this will be achievable.
But I am glad that the UK is having a referendum first. The is a lot of fear mongering going on on both sides and I would really like to find out if UK leaves the EU what the effects will be to the economy and other sectors. I know that the UK is a completely different country to the Czech Republic but if I see that a civilized exit is possible it will make me more confident about leaving. I do not feel that the EU is capable of changing to a union that is capable of change therefore a #CZExit might be the only solution.