Why BRAVE NEW EUROPE?
Expertise with a radical face
When the European integration project was being constructed during the Cold War it was easy enough to present it as a bulwark of peace, cooperation and democracy, preventing wars between Western European nations and as protection against the competing Soviet Block on Europe’s eastern borders. As it became the European Union its goal appeared to be prosperity and justice for all its citizens.
In the eighties the then European Economic Community transformed itself, adopting the fashionable ideas of Friedrich Hayek, the Austrian thinker who preached that the market was the best defence against totalitarianism, and that laissez-faire economics wasn’t enough: governments should intervene actively to keep markets open and free.
The architects of the European project, helped by the tailwinds of rising corporate lobbying, have taken Hayek’s advice. To short-cut a long, complex and painful story, neo-liberalism has been, as Larry Elliott noted in Britain’s Guardian newspaper, “hardwired into the European project.”
Beneath a veneer of social democracy European institutions have been captured by large, monopolising multinational corporations and banks. Most national governments, and those steering the EU supertanker, have not been perceptive enough or fleet-footed enough to counter that trend and ensure those institutions serve the public good. Corruption also did its part.
Luxembourg, one of the original founders of the European project, became a vast dirty-money centre and tax haven, a “death star” of financial secrecy, under the protective umbrella of a man who first became its finance minister in 1989, then served as Prime Minister from 1995-2013. In November 2014, amid the “Luxleaks” scandal revealing how Luxembourg was selling itself as a gigantic tax-cheat factory for the world’s multinational corporations, this man, Jean-Claude Juncker, took office as President of the European Commission.
The European neo-liberal juggernaut remains firmly on the same course, while its leaders tinker at the edges. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which was being negotiated in secret, would have immensely boosted the power of multinational firms while curbing social protections, financial regulations, the democratic authority of elected governments. TTIP has been stopped for now – not because European governments or politicians had realised how destructive it would be for Europeans, but because Donald Trump opposes multilateral trade agreements.
The result has been rising inequality and the prospect of recurring political and economic crises. The Brexit vote suggests that the European project could be heading towards total collapse. Something is in the wind. We can all feel it.
We have set up BRAVE NEW EUROPE to fight for a radically different Europe. While we support the principle of European integration and co-operation, we oppose the neo-liberal turn it has taken.
While many excellent critics have pointed to the problems, their voices are fragmented and diluted around different countries and even at home they struggle to get their voices heard in the mainstream media, which is so often owned or dominated by billionaires, multinational corporations and the political establishments in their host countries. Many national media conglomerates have also enjoyed advantages through the same financial and market liberalisation that is delivering such harm to the people of Europe, and to the environment too. Many of the noisiest critics of Europe are now coming from the racist far-right, and some right-wing European governments are already developing totalitarian tendency. Europe’s bloody history reminds us of the dangers such voices can pose.
Yet there is no dedicated pan-European platform where well-informed critics with a progressive agenda can share experiences and build a common movement for radical change. Until now. This is what BRAVE NEW EUROPE seeks to provide, in order to reclaim a democratic, sustainable, and just EU.
At the time of writing, we have already secured agreement from around 120 experts, including some very eminent names, to contribute articles and materials.
We will offer original articles, podcasts, cross-postings and book reviews, and a regular supply of links to relevant articles from other media, in different countries. In time, we will bring you penetrating investigative journalism. Our platform will operate in English but we will try to bring relevant foreign-language news and analysis to you in a digestible format, within our resources and abilities.
Our motto is “expertise with a radical face.”
Here’s to a Brave New Europe.
We begin with almost no funding. We have secured an initial grant of 9,000 Euros from the GLS Foundation in Germany, which hardly touches the sides, and we are currently applying for more. We will fully disclose all our funding sources. We do not charge to access the website: this information should be available to everyone. But we ask those of you with a secure income who believe in our goals to contribute, not just for your own use of BRAVE NEW EUROPE, but also out of solidarity with those who cannot afford to donate. (https://braveneweurope.com/donate).
We are also offering readers a chance to become part of BRAVE NEW EUROPE by purchasing a share in the EDM European Democratic Media Cooperative, which is non-profit, that financially supports this website. To do this, please go to https://edm-europe.org/join/
Mathew D. Rose – Investigative Journalist specialised in Organised Political Crime, Blogger.
Ruediger Rossig – Investigative Journalist, Balkan Expert
Nick Shaxson – Investigative Journalist, Author of “Treasure Islands”
David Shirreff – Former finance and business journalist at The Economist, Author of “Break up the Banks!” – and a Playwright