Are these really EU failures?

I sent this letter to the editor of the Daily Telegraph today.

Dear Editor,

You list “a democratic deficit, economic stagnation and chronic failure over mass migration” as the failures of the EU (Telegraph View, 10 Dec). But are they?

“Democratic deficit” trips nicely off the tongue. But it would beggar belief that 28 democracies would voluntarily submit themselves to a tyranny. And indeed the adoption of EU legislation requires the approval of the elected European Parliament and of the EU Council, composed of ministers accountable to national parliaments. It is this latter aspect that could and should be improved. In the Nordic countries any minister going to a meeting in Brussels has to get clearance beforehand from their national parliament of the position they intend to take. There is nothing stopping us in Britain from doing likewise. It can be done without needing to negotiate with anyone else.

Economic stagnation persists in many countries, inside and outside the EU, just as others inside and outside are doing well. This is no surprise, as the key tools for economic management are national. Blaming the EU for national failures is an old tradition. Where the EU can make a difference is through deepening the single market, replacing divergent regulatory standards with common ones to cut red tape, harnessing its R&D capacity and using its clout in trade negotiations to prise open new markets for our exports — all potential positives.

On mass migration, the flight of so many refugees from Syria and economic migrants from Africa would not come to a halt if the EU were dissolved or if we left it. Whether we like it or not, this is a common challenge facing European countries. The EU provides a framework to try to coordinate our response. It does not guarantee that we will manage to do so, but it is disingenuous to blame the EU for the failures of its members.

Yours sincerely,
Richard Corbett MEP