Chatham House's Report: Europeans do not support the plans of the Liberal Elite


The most serious contradictions between the high and low classes have beenhighlighted inthe latest report of Chatham House - an influential British Royal Institute of International Affairs - on the prospects of the European Union.

Elites and public see the future of Europein different ways. This has been revealed in the latest report of Chatham House -the Royal Institute of International Relations - on the prospects of the European Union. These conclusions are based on a survey conducted from December 2016 to February 2017 in ten EU countries - Austria, Belgium, Britain, Hungary, Germany, Greece, Spain, Italy, Poland and France.  10,000 ordinary EU citizens and over 1,800 representatives of the establishment at the local, regional, national and all-European levels took part in it.

An influential British think tank has confirmed something that thoughtful Europeans and foreign observers have not doubted about before: European elites and lower classes live in different worlds and imagine their future differently. The more liberal elite are more optimistic, and the more conservative people are less. And there are few things that unite them.

A few values left

Firstly, it is necessary to understand the common European identity and the responsibility of the richer countries of the union that should help the poorer ones. This is exactly what half of Europeans think. 77 percent of the elite think the same. Only one in five Europeans strongly disagrees with this. This fact gave a reason to the authors of the study to recall that the EU "must continue to be based on solidarity." A certain discontent in this regard, especially among ordinary citizens, is evoked by the fact that the European identitypushes the national identity in many aspects to the background.

The differences are much greater

However, the differences between the high and low classes are significantly greater.

First of all, the elite appreciate the advantages of integration of their countries in the EU. Over 70 percent of the representatives of the establishment believe that they personally have benefited from this. And only 34 percent of the respondents among ordinary citizens think the same. And another 54 percent of respondents are convinced that they lived better two decades ago when the EU was smaller.

Most representatives of the privileged group of population think very optimistically about such an important issue as the attitude towards migration: migrants are good, they are enrichingthe culture and do not have a noticeable effect on the level of crime. Ordinary citizens think quite differently: migrants are undesirable, there is no use from them, especially for the national culture, they only bring problems.
Moreover, ordinary Europeans feel and see that those who love migrants have forgotten about them, and this issue cannot be sorted out only by the democracy that exists formally in the EU. Only8 percent of the European lower classes are sure that politicians are interested in the opinion of ordinary citizens.

The study also confirmed another empirically documented fact: the high class is  mostly liberal, the lower ones are conservative. And this, according to the authors of the report, can have a much greater impact on the future of the EU than the difference of opinions on economic policy issues can do, and "the political problems arising from this gap are likely to remain for many years."

The elite itself does not know what to do with the EU

According to Chatham House analysts, a very disturbing symptom is that even the European elite have got confused by the issue of the prospects for the EU: should the status quo be maintained, or should more or less integration be achieved? Thus, 28 percent of citizens from the privileged group of population support the status quo, 37 percent believe that the EU should gain more powers over member states, and 31 percent of citizens believe that they should be less. Now it is clear that the concept of the "multi-speed Europe",which is firmly established in Brussels today, is a reflection of this turmoil that exists in the minds of the European elite.

This is what causes serious fears: the elite have a lot of ways to get the public to do it and think the way they want. And then they themselves do not really know what to do and what is the purpose.

Meanwhile, the public regards more pessimistically the problem of an uncertain situation in the EU. For example, 55% of ordinary citizens are convinced that at least one more country will inevitably leave the EU after Britain. 43 percent of the elite think so. The authors of the report say that" it is necessary  to have a political leadership that is capable to formulate a long-term vision that will satisfy both the majority of the privileged citizens and the public."

This will be very difficult, because the difference of opinions between the high and lowon this issue classis very high. For example, 62 percent of the elite believe that Germany plays a positive role in the EU, and 48 percent of respondents among ordinary citizens think so.

Unsolved problem

In short, the Chatham House study shows that Europe is at a crossroads and there are no ready and generally accepted recipes at the elite-level that explain what to do next. And it also confirms the distance that still exists between the high and low classes in modern Europe. Previously, they differed not only in their income, but also, above all, their moral and cultural appearance, manners and clothing. Now the low and high classes differ only in income, letting the high one travel in more expensive cars, constantly moving around the world and living in prestigious areas, as well as having a high educational level. It actually shows what kind of relations the Europeans have with the world economy. And there are only two versions here: "locals" or "globalists". And almost all the costs of globalization go to the first one, and all the advantages goto the last one.

Therefore, they all have their own "truth". Representatives of the elite are usually liberal and cosmopolitan, they actively advocate for European integration and globalism. Because, wherever they locate at the moment, their place of business is actually the whole world. The time passed when the elite in European countries was national, demonstrated a paternalistic attitude to their peoples, carried outa policy in the public interest.

Now everything is different - their "state" is the whole world. And everything, as you know, means nothing. Therefore, in the case of the new Dunkirk, the British rich men will no longer go to save ordinary British soldiers on their yachtsand under the fire of the Luftwaffe from the Nazi captivity, which shocked the Soviet ambassador in London, Ivan Maisky, in 1940. Now, the British and other aristocracy have mostly concentrated on the banks, and they are ready to do anything for the sake of profits and interest and let their common people justenjoy football and beer.  They and "globalists" are not interested in their ordinary compatriots, but they concentrate more on the representatives of other cultures that matchto their status from other countries. Investments from India and China, "Islamic banking" became more interesting for them. "Nomads" themselves are not against mass migration, and they hopeto turn "refugees" and their numerous offspring from the users of social benefits into a low-wage labor force and never come cross them in their practical life.

"Locals" also have their own "truth":ordinary employees are not paid much in public catering, in shops, offices and factories. “Locals” really have to compete with “new arrivals" in the labor market and it is impossible to avoid their customs and wicked habits even in leisure  time, as they live in the same areas, and even on the same staircase. And exactly the same situation in most of the leading European countries - Hungary and Poland - is a happy exception.

Therefore, it is impossible to solve the problem of the split of the European high and low classes and it is not only European problem. This problem exists within the current socio-economic system.