1. Many thanks for the invitation to participate in the Vienna Com.Sult Congress, I am always glad to be here. We all should express our gratitude to David Ungar-Klein for continuing to organize and to organize so successfully this gathering for so many years.
2. The question raised by the organizers as a title of this session “More or less Europe?” can´t be easily answered. It can´t be done without further specification. I am not sure whether the organizers really have in mind Europe or they make a common, and very often repeated mistake by using the term Europe but having in mind one special, undoubtedly only temporary way of organising European continent, the current European Union.
Or, perhaps, it is not a mistake. It may be an intention to mix up Europe and the EU by considering the EU to be the eternal embodiment of Europe. Especially now, after Brexit, it is evident that it is not tenable.
3. I don´t identify Europe and the EU. The EU was born as late as in 1992 when the Maastricht Treaty transformed the EC, the European Community, into the European Union. This transformation was – in my understanding – a tragic mistake we are paying a heavy price for. The two main post-EC projects – the euro, the European common currency, and the Schengen, the elimination of borders – proved to be naive, unprepared and Europe destabilizing. We are experiencing a visible fiasco of both of them. Both will finally lead to the European disintegration.
4. The British referendum on leaving or remaining in the EU was relevant and of utmost importance for all of us in Europe. It was not about immigration. The dominant reason for the majority of Brits voting Leave was their conviction that decisions about the UK should be taken in the UK. It represented a radical rejection of the faulty project of undemocratic, excessively centralistic and dirigistic, unnecessarily unified, harmonized and standardized European Union.
To change the status quo in Europe was inevitable and long overdue. Many of us, therefore, considered the Brexit vote as a breakthrough or – at least – as an important step in that direction. As I said, it was not about immigration. The vote was about freedom (against the tyranny of political correctness), about democracy (against post-democracy), about sovereignty (against multinationalism and global governance), about economic prosperity (against long-term stagnation and relative decline), about traditional cultural and civilizational values and life-styles (against their denial). It was an attempt of ordinary people to become again part of politics without being exluded as low informed and uneducated.
5. To conclude, we need more Europe when we have in mind our values, culture, traditions, customs, habits, life-styles and behavioural patterns which have been visibly undermined and injured by the progressivistic civilizational and cultural doctrines which emerged in the 1960s and gained a destructive and devastating momentum in the last twenty years.
We need less EU, less centralistic dirigisme, less post-democracy, less constructivistic unification of the continent.
We have to return to the old concept of Europe as a family of free and democratic nations brought together by one Judeo-Christian civilization and the Greek-Roman culture.
Václav Klaus, Introductory note at the panel “More of less Europe?”, the Vienna Com.Sult Congress, House of Industries, Vienna, January 17, 2017.