Brussels has long operated on the promise not that it would be democratic itself but that it would protect democracy. The “Black Sunday” European elections of 25 May saw anti-immigrant parties all over Northern Europe and France gain through stoking fears of EU economic migrants from eastern members states. The tactic was cynical and deliberately misleading.
Yet, the problems of enlargement lie elsewhere. They lie in the limited powers of an increasingly unwieldy European Parliament and in the
diminished responsibility and influence of British, French and German national governments.
When Europe started enlarging eastwards it may have been expected that new countries would adopt the social welfaremodel cherished
in Continental Europe and Scandinavia. In fact the opposite happened and the EU economy is fast descending into eastern-style oligarchy, with all the democratic and social problems that this brings. The Eurosceptic election victories in Northern Europe were a damning indictment of the EU’s poor democratic health, but so was the fact that Eastern Europeans largely stayed at home.