The crisis of the European Union is gathering pace, several countries within it face insoluble economic distress, the euro is unlikely to survive this year, a number of banks are technically bankrupt – and what’s been exercising the great men with their hands on destiny?
The chocolate bunny made by the famous Swiss firm of Lindt, that’s what.
It seems that the great men of our beloved EUnion have been examining this chocolate bunny, and they don’t like the way it is wrapped in gold foil and has a red ribbon round its neck. It is not “sufficiently different” from those of other chocolate products. Apparently Lindt has failed to establish the bunny’s “inherent distinctive character”. And the European Court of Justice accordingly issues a fatwa.
Imagine it, writes Pryce-Jones: Grown men, highly paid bureaucrats, have laboured through years of committee meetings, travelling from 27 countries to attend, amassing files with pleas and recommendations for and against. All that energy, spent on determining the suitability, nay, the “sufficient distinctiveness” of the tinfoil wrapping of Swiss chocolate bunnies.
Is it just me, or is anybody else reminded of that image about busy people re-shuffling deckchairs on a famous, but doomed passenger-liner?
Incidentally, Kimball observes all this regulation is done in the name of ‘harmonization’, but notes a similarity to a phenomenon in vogue just before half-time in our last century:
Of course, this is not the first time that Europe has attempted to “harmonize” its laws. Beginning in 1933, there was a concerted effort to “harmonize” not only the laws but also all of social life. The German word for the process was Gleichschaltung. That time the effort came out of Berlin. It almost worked.
Chalk up another similarity between the EUnion and one of the dreadful political systems in Europe in the 20th century. Are we still certain we want to be a part of that?
[small note] For any Dutch reader happening by here, the term Kimball refers to is known in our damp corner of the world as Gelijkschakeling. It’s a fairly direct translation, but the term may jog some uneasy feelings, which would be completely justified. In fact, that would be the point.