'F*** the EU': U.S. Diplomat Just Keepin' It Real
Victoria Nuland, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, is in a bit of diplomatic trouble. The European Union has sat idly by while its neighbor to the east, Ukraine, has been experiencing mass anti-government protests since late November. During a phone call with the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Ms. Nuland let off some steam by saying, "F*** the EU." Unbeknownst to her, the phone call was tapped, and it seems likely that Russia is the culprit (thus proving once again that everybody spies on everybody).
Now, the EU is upset. Or, at least Angela Merkel, the de facto empress of the EU, is pretending to be. However, what you won't hear in all of the press coverage is that "f*** the EU" is a rather common sentiment, particularly among citizens of the European Union.
Take Germany, for instance. An upstart political party called Alternative for Deutschland (AfD), which favors abandoning the euro and reintroducing the Deutsche mark, received 4.7 percent of the vote in the recent parliamentary election, just shy of the 5 percent threshold required to enter the government. Elsewhere in Europe, Euroskeptic parties are growing. The UK Independence Party (UKIP), which favors leaving the EU, has become so influential that Prime Minister David Cameron insists on holding a referendum in 2017 on whether or not his nation should remain in the institution. Even the French don't like Europe that much anymore.
Additionally, a poll released in May 2013 showed a precipitous drop, from 60 percent to 45 percent, in favorability rataings for the EU among eight core countries (Germany, UK, France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Poland and the Czech Republic). In fact, dissatisfaction with the EU is so great and widespread that The Economist reported that between 16 and 25 percent of the EU Parliament's seats could be won by left- and right-wing Euroskeptic parties in the upcoming election in May. It's difficult to imagine a louder "f*** the EU" statement than that.
Perhaps EU leaders should worry more about the opinion of their own citizens than that of a boorish Yankee.