01:41 GMT +322 October 2019
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    The Union Jack (bottom) and the European Union flag are seen flying, at the border of Gibraltar with Spain, in the British overseas territory of Gibraltar, historically claimed by Spain, June 27, 2016, after Britain voted to leave the European Union in the EU Brexit referendum

    After Brexit 'It's Hard to Find Anyone in Europe Who Supports' EU

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    Leaders from Germany, France and Italy met on Monday to discuss a re-launch for the European Union idea, following Britain’s vote to exit the bloc. Filmmaker and journalist John Pilger discussed with Radio Sputnik’s Brian Becker what fate awaits the EU.

    Speaking on Radio Sputnik’s Loud & Clear program, Pilger declared that Brexit is the last nail in the coffin of the EU. “It’s very hard to find anyone in Europe who supports” the bloc, he said, referring to surveys conducted across the EU in the aftermath of the UK referendum.

    “With democracy being sidelined in so many institutions in Brussels, I think many people in Europe will be feeling that it is time for their countries do what Britain did.”

    Many Europeans are deeply dissatisfied with Brussels’ “unnecessary” austerity policies that impoverish countries like Italy or Spain, he suggested. Italy’s rate of unemployment is nearing that of Greece, a country in a seemingly permanent state of financial crisis. Spain and Portugal are experiencing a roughly 40 percent unemployment rate for graduates, he claimed.

    “The idea that there should be a very autocratic neo-liberal economy dominating over all the countries in Europe is just absurd,” he said.

    Poor foreign policy judgement on the part of Brussels is another source of anxiety. Guided by Washington, the EU administration failed to appropriately respond to the unfolding civil war in Syria and other Western-instigated Middle Eastern violence, resulting in millions of refugees heading into Europe. Brussels has supported the US hard line on Russia, participating in harsh sanctions placed on Moscow. Unfortunately, the many small businesses in Europe that are aligned with Russia suffer the most.

    The EU badly needs a “united voice” to remain integrated, Pilger said, adding that the existing model of the bloc leads to separation and inequality.

    “One of the reasons that British economy appears to do well is that companies here, instead of investing in equipment and proper contracts with long-term work forces, simply ship cheap labor from Eastern Europe.”

    The former Warsaw pact states on the EU’s eastern flank have become a source of cheap labor for core Europe, Pilger said. At the same time, “great benefit in the EU accrues to powerful central banks and the economies of Germany and France.”

    The current system has created a “first and second class EU” and the inequality cannot be sustained, he opined.

    “Under this [system] everyone gets exploited. The workers who come here may be grateful for the work but they still are very exploited under zero-wage contracts and people who are denied any security and employment.”

    If the policies of Brussels are not significantly altered, and resources are not allocated to those in need, united Europe is “doomed,” he said.

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    Tags:
    European Union, disintegration, Brexit, crisis, Francois Hollande, Matteo Renzi, Angela Merkel, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom, Germany
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