”It is not a student assignment” was the message I got from the Dentist school in Copenhagen. With these words I lost yet another little bit of fate in the system.
For some years due to social circumstances, I have been patient at the Dentist school so new Dentist could train on my teeth. While it provides good learning experiences for the students, it was also the option for me as an ordinary Dane to get my teeth fixed. In Denmark, the burden of being a member of the European Union has hit our country hard.
We Danes entered what we believed was a free market for trade. Not a political union. It is like entering a furniture store in order to buy table and a couple of chairs and not before long the employees of the furniture store are repainting your entire house in colours they like replacing kitchen, bed and even your clothes. When they replace your wife and your toothbrush, you stop and start to think twice about your previous choices.
Besides being poor ruined by a combination of mixed ethnic origins and contagious illness in our family, I also am an information technology specialist who have travelled around Europe the last couple of years. I continue to be amazed by the differences in our culture. I meet fantastic hard working employees in every country I come in. However, I also meet people who work on the terms which exist in their culture. Then the questions arrive:
- Should we stop being Danes, French, English, and Dutch transitioning to be Europeans?
- Should people in France work until they are 68 or 70 as we are going to do in Denmark before we can retire?
- Should people in the Netherland stop having fixed contracts and enter the Danish system where people who have been working for decades in the same firm can be fired without benefits within hours?
No, I do not think so. I respect the cultures in other countries. I travel around Europe as part of my job. I do not need a Union to do that. I do not mind showing my passport. I believe that every citizen in Europe should be proud of their own country, the achievements they earned over generations. I believe that if people in France would like to have a lunch break for 1.5 hours instead of 30 minutes as we have in Denmark, they should have that. If their working hours are longer than we have in Denmark, they should be allowed that. If there retirement age are lower than we have in Denmark, they should be allowed that. Sadly, it is not the fact. The pressure of pushing us away from our nationality forward the common European identity has already resulted in reforms of both our labour market systems, our retirement systems and our social benefit systems.
The European Union is not for us small people. The European Union is not for us who used to have fate in the system. If the European Union should have been a success, the very first issue they should have addressed was that every firm in Europe should pay the same percentage in taxes and no country should be able to provide tax-reduction or tax-discount if they move from one European country to another. Right now, the European Union is not about improving the conditions for all citizens inside the union. It is about resetting systems in every country to the lowest common denominator.
Due to this policy, ordinary Danes like me are hurt. A huge American company moved the invoicing of their Enterprise Resource Planning systems from Denmark to Ireland within Danes saving their firm millions but robbing Denmark of taxes for the same amount. Early retirement was cancelled. Danes used to be able to retire early if hard working conditions had worn them down. They used to be able to stop at age 60. It is no longer a possibility. Because they know that many people suffer from various illnesses they made the offer that they should be guaranteed a job in the public sector when they reached a certain age where the private sector no longer needs them. When the number of people in that situation exceeded what they expected they invented a new term so people could be paid less if they were unemployed. For my part, I do not expect to reach the retirement age. My father died aged 62 and I had two uncles who died aged 59 and age 60.
I have to ask my fellow citizens in other European countries. What are your expectations regarding retirement age? Do you think that your local government will look after you or will they lose focus trying to make a career inside the huge bureaucracy the European Union consist off? I doubt it so much that the next vote I give at an election properly would go to a critical opponent of the European Union. I will not cast my vote on a politician who will give away his own tasks to others. It is like telling me as a voter that I should vote for a person with a dislike for own personal responsibilities.
I am tired at people trying to present themselves as pro-Europe only to discover that they then introduce laws working against the ideas of Europe. Resent laws introduced in Denmark seem to address the so-called free movement of labour inside the Union. If I as a Dane move to Sweden and live there for a year, I have to settle for immigration benefits despite having been a full paying taxpayer for my entire life. The same result I suffer if I accept an offer to work for 12 months abroad for my firm – even if these countries are inside the European Union. It was rules, which was necessary to introduce because it became too expensive to be part of an integrated European labour market.
Again we ordinary citizens see that the non-elected elite at the top of the European Union has put the thumbscrews on our local systems forcing Denmark to make things worse for the ordinary citizens. The worst part is that the laws were put in action by a Danish government who claims to be in favour of free European market.
It is the same in other European countries. Laws makes it worse for ordinary people. Laws prevents mobility. What is then the point of the European Union?
I for my part has lost faith in the European Union. I as a Dane would like to be asked the same question you voters in England are allowed to answer. I envy you. I am very sure that the people in the streets of France would like the same or that matter in any other country.
My only fear is that I at some point lose faith in our Danish system. Already now, my local village is no longer democratically controlled locally. It has become a merger between four villages. They have built a large estate so they could centralize the costly administration costing us taxpayers a lot of money. The money came from reducing the costs of schooling, which made 70 percent of the teachers leaving their jobs. It made city administration second-guess diagnoses ignoring reports from hospitals leaving people like me ruined because we had to contribute for the treatment of our children after having paid more than 50 percent in taxes our entire life.
I am close to lose fate in the Danish system also. I guess what Brexit is really about is whether the voters believe what the local political elite state. Everyone in Europe lack faith in the European project. No doubt about that. However, if we suddenly lack faith in both our local political community and the national parliament also, what would then happen?