An opinion poll published in Estonia in November 2010 showed that only 34% support the abolition of the Kroon and adoption of the euro and 52% wish to keep the Kroon as their national currency. This is a bigger gap than in the poll published in the summer.
Estonia will adopt the euro on 1st January 2011. This decision was not taken as a result of a national conversation nor via a referendum. Even though, in the EU-accession referendum campaign of 2003, we were told that it was irrelevant of the “no” side to mention the problems of the Euro as this decision would be taken later and was entirely separate. How wonderful to be an EU apparatchik and to be so unaccountable for the promises given.
What do these poll figures tell us? I have to admit that it shows that the vast majority of Estonians are not entirely stupid. Estonia, where Skype was invented, is famous for its internet connections and people are obviously well aware of the crisis in euroland. It also reminds us of the fundamental reason we oppose the EU: not because it is a bunch of people who cannot work the miracle required to make the euro work painlessly, but because it is against the natural character of people in Europe and because it acts to serve its own ambition against the will of the people. What clearer example could we find in all of history of the rulers of a small nation more interested in pleasing an imperial elite (oops, did I really call the guys who run the EU that?) than in serving the clearly expressed will of the people. If it were for their own good, that might be different. But Estonians are no longer stupid peasants and it is difficult to find an argument that the euro will be good for them.
Bruges Group supporters will take a special interest in Estonia. This is not just because of our past admiration of their free market economic policies and those such the flat tax but also because, in the accession referendum, we supported the “no” campaign with human and financial resources. This expression of solidarity was to encourage another mainstream eurosceptic movement to take partnership with our own. And this paid immediate dividends. But, without a referendum, in the face of blatant and total disregard for the desires of the people, in the absence of any democratic consultation, what can a movement brought up in the democratic tradition do? Riot? Estonians are not Greeks.
Is it not the fault of the Estonian eurosceptics and democrats that they did not force there to be a referendum? Maybe that is partly true. They should be stronger. That opinion poll was conducted by a regular opinion poll company but was commissioned by The Tallinn National Club. They are probably the most active eurosceptic organisation at the moment and they are not even a political organisation but a club specialising in national history, culture and such areas of interest. Some of their mainly younger members have mobilised to conduct protests and demonstrations.
While it is good news that Estonians are at least in opposition to their fate, the bad news of this story is that we are not devoting sufficient energy to sustaining an international eurosceptic movement. When the government has no intention whatsoever of listening to the popular voice what incentive can there be to organise if the resulting action does not have the relevance of being set in the context of international political action? That would be as daft as fighting the Red Army occupation when London has accepted the fact of occupation.
David Wilkinson was founder-editor of These Tides magazine and now works with EUDemocrats, the only organisation specifically setting up international eurosceptic projects.