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The European flag…

Iceland announced on the 12th of March 2015 that the country renounced its candidacy for membership of the European Union, for they believe membership would not be in the best interest of the country. I can imagine more governments of countries  already being member of the EU looking enviously at this, as for members there is no ready procedure to step out of this union, and many countries don’t give the impression to be wholeheartedly inside the EU.

What started as an idealistic dream has turned into a monster. If only Hitler would have known, he could have ruled all of Europe without shedding a single drop of blood. Honestly I believe we would have been off far worse in that case, but now it is not paradise either.

Corruption is omnipresent, as usual when politicians have the power. Europe did not grow up as a safe and peaceful haven for its inhabitants, where their rights are protected and the weakest are helped out of the depths of their misery. Europe became the safe haven for the rich and the multinationals, as a result of the classic story of laws made by the one percent for the one percent. The people’s only purpose is to generate taxes, and these should be maximized by every means. “The State is an institution of theft where at large tax is just a system where politicians and bureaucrats steal money from their citizens to squander it in the most disgraceful manner” (Mary Rothbart).

Sheep, goats and cows freely grazing in our village. ©yannbastiaans

As Godfrey Bloom (former member European Parliament for the UK Independence Party of Nigel Farage – a party which I do not support for they are too extremist in my opinion, but a clock that doesn’t work shows the right time twice a day) said during a speech in the European Parliament during a debate about tax evasion by EU citizens, “the politicians sit here pontificating about halting tax evasion by its citizens, while everybody knows that the biggest tax evaders are the members of the European Parliament.” If you’re in need of a good laugh just watch his intervention on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IOrnTfJOjpU . But he had a point.

While people are still starving of hunger and cold inside the EU, people’s rights (gay people, transgenders, the Roma, etc..) are trodden upon in different countries, the rich are allowed to evade their taxes, multinationals are officially exempted of taxes in many European countries, our parliamentarians proudly announce they have voted a new law for the phone chargers all using the same connector. Well, instead of having 7 different chargers in my drawer at home, I will now have 7 identical ones. What a progress we made! 😜

The previous example sounds like a joke, but sadly it is no joke. If I wrote a book instead of a blog I could numerous ridiculous examples – enough to fill a whole chapter – of the work of our European parliament. They allocated for themselves tax exemptions not available to any other European citizen, and they move every month back and forth from Brussels to Strasbourg because countries deem their ‘honor’ and ‘prestige’ to be of more value than the many millions of taxpayers’ money wasted to move the whole circus every month from one country to another.

Hungry (by char-coal)

Here in Bulgaria I wanted to start a private project, funded by my money. Since I learnt that some two years ago a shepherd froze to death under a bridge during winter, while an old lonely woman starved at home for lack of food (and warmth), both here in the small village where I live, I vowed that this would not happen again. So I contacted the mayor to ask him if he could assign me a spacious room in the municipality building where many rooms are unused. I wanted to install a wood stove and buy wood to heat that room. I would find some women in the village willing to cook soup every day, and the small bakery would deliver bread. Every day soup and bread would be distributed to all people wanting to spend a few hours together in a warm place during a few hours. That would not be a solution but much more I cannot achieve on my own. In addition I would support a local business (the bakery), and a few women would have an income during the winter months making soup. Everybody would be a winner in the equation. The mayor was very interested, and got even more interested when I told him that I did not seek publicity so he could make it look like the municipality was running the project, and with elections coming shortly that would have been a victory at the ballot for him. But then came his question who was going to supply the food? Local women? That was officially unacceptable! Due to European laws, all food served to citizens, even when donated, has to be prepared in a kitchen approved by the health ministry for hygienic standards. So the municipality could not take part in such a program, unless I bought the soup at an officially approved kitchen. My conclusion is: the EU rather sees its citizens die of hunger and cold, than run the risk of having a food poisoning due to neglected hygienic standards in the kitchen of those women who also use it cook their daily food for their families. Can anybody explain this to me?

The countryside with no fences, where flocks freely graze ©yannbastiaans

Again, in Bulgaria: fences are rare over here. Not in the cities and villages, where every house has a fence or wall to protect their vegetable garden from the free grazing cows, horses, sheep and goats.  But once outside the conglomeration, there are no fences. There is no barbed wire. Land owners and farmers do not protect their property just for the sake of “this is mine”. Everybody is free to go wherever he wants. My astonishment was great when I drove around the countryside with my motorcycle, exploring the region. I almost fell from my bike when I saw a big plot of lush green grass, contrasting with the surrounding open fields that are dryer and traditionally used by the shepherd to let their flocks graze at leisure. I took a closer look and saw there were a bunch of cows grazing in that green field, and that field was fenced off by barbed wire. In the distance I discerned a white panel, and I drove over to read what was written on it. It said: “project of the European Union”. So some barbed wire manufacturer, probably Bekaert, persuaded a few politicians that it would be good for Bulgaria if that country were pushed by the EU to a more ‘civilized’ way of farming by sponsoring barbed wire? Now at least they can get rid of all those shepherds, the jobs of 6 shepherds can be taken over by less than one fulltime job, which really is an advancement in a region that suffers an unemployment rate of around 40%.

Europe also messes with the traditional life of its citizens. Income is very low here in Bulgaria. Most people have their own vegetable garden and keep their own animals, like poultry and goats. The vegetables are processed and stored in jars in the basement to survive winter, and the animals are slaughtered when the need for meat arises. Conform to European directives the killing of animals on private property by individuals is no longer allowed, but should be performed in an official abattoir. Beside the observation there are almost no butcheries in the countryside and thus people are confronted with a transport problem, this will cost so much to the locals here who already have the greatest difficulties surviving on their low wages. Any European parliamentarians left with some minimal touch with reality?

The distant mountains near Kotel (BG)

The Bulgarian countryside, free access for all. ©yannbastiaans

Over the years I slowly lost my faith in the European Union, where I was one of the first and foremost defenders of the European idea at the very beginning. Now I am just disillusioned and disgusted at what the politicians have done with that ideal.

Love, Yann ❤️