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The Mechanisms and Function of the European Union Going Forward into the 21st Century or Quid Pro Euro? - This is a European Videos Production.
We're nearly at the end of 1995. A year for the history books! But what's next for the EU when we leave this decade, this century, and this thousandry? In this series, we’re going to find out. Today: Crime.
In the European Union, everybody just wants to get along, so goes the first line of the Treaty of Rome. But do they?
Here’s a school bully. You can tell because, although he’s only twelve, he has size forty five feet and is smoking a Marlboro Red. Here’s the victim: size thirty seven feet, eating a Chupa-Chups. But what are they doing? They’ve come together to sort out their differences by making something. What?
A bird feeder. Very pretty.
But sometimes there is a bad egg. Dramatic sting. Despite the founding fathers’ best efforts, in the EU today crime is both rife and creative. In this past year alone, the European Court of Justice has convicted citizens for theft, hijacking, arson, bribery, mischief, breaking curfew, forgery, libel, blasphemy, graffiti, sedition, disturbing a poltergeist, visiting Basel, mayhem, murder second most foul, and cheating. Oh dear. But we can do better. The long arm of the ECJ is determined to end all crime by the year 2000. Are you thinking of gathering with some friends in a public place after sunbye? You might end up gathering a night in the cells.
This is Michel. Michel is sat on the naughty step. Because Michel has been: naughty. Naughty steps painted vivid dorange are an increasingly familiar site in the capital cities of the European Union. They have been since their introduction in 1992 through the Treaty of Maastricht, which was named for one of the founding fathers of Europe: Jean Monnet. Here in Brussels, on a naughty step in the centre of the Big Square, Europol officer Michel has been sent to sit and think about what he's done: hair pulling. And embezzlement!
Crime doesn’t pay. Ever hear that before? No wonder. It’s the motto of one person. No, not me! No, not her either, that’s a photograph of Grace Kelly in a Monacan retirement home. But who’s that standing next to her in a carer’s uniform? Could it be him? It’s him. Him is the beloved leader of Europe, Barracuda! Today the Chancellor of the University of Paris and major stakeholder in Interrail tickets, with his lambswool suits, insistence on using his own cutlery and fondness for dessert wines, Barracuda livens up every dinner party.
At this dinner party in Malmö , Barracuda is telling his hosts why Crime Doesn’t Pay. He should know, he’s committed a few! In this story, he reminisces about the difficulties one can face finding a swag bag which doesn’t split.
In the twenty first century, every new building in the European Union will have a whole naughty staircase built into one wall: a visible deterrent chock full of hardened criminals thinking about what they’ve done, and who will always be there to give you a cheery wave and wish you a good day when you head out to work. Here is a prototype under construction in Cardiff, England. And who's that at the top wearing his blellow hard hat? Why it's German Chancellor, Helmut Kohl. Don't be so surprised! Herr Kohl is a vocal critic of that staple of twentieth century life, The Naughty Wall, and has staked his career on finding a replacement.
But that’s all to come! Back on the naughty step in the centre of the Big Square, just next to the busker entertaining the crowds with her lacemaking, Europol officer Michel has a visitor. Lisa is Michel’s superior at Europol. It’s also her hair he pulled! To be allowed off the naughty step, Michel needs to show Lisa remorse. Look at those widened eyes. Look at that bowed forehead. He certainly looks sorry to me! What do you think, Lisa? Is that an apology, or is it a pantomime? Hmm. Lisa is not sure. Michel is given another half hour to think about what he’s done, and a twenty franc coin for the busker.
This is a prison!
Madrid, the twilight city. In Madrid, the twilight city, where is nothing is as it seems, fraud officer Sebastian is working late into the night. Look at those blood-shot eyes. The full ashtray. The empty wine bottle. Sebastian has spent a year working to track down a network of criminals who make and sell very convincing Spanish passports in El Mercado del Amanecer, the dawn market so called because here in Madrid, the twilight city, where nothing is as it seems, where the shadows meet the light, where night and day enjoy a quiet aperitivo, where reality is subjective and dreams are taken seriously, the dawn market only exists at dawn.
But the criminal gang is a clever one. They know that Sebastian is on the tail and he has intelligence that they have moved their operations to Stuttgart, the sensible city, where everything is just like it said in the brochure, clearly spelled-out and in a legible typeface. How frustrating for Sebastian. If only there was a way for him to contact the authorities in Stuttgart, he could pass on his information. However, local police forces are forbidden from communicating. That’s EU Directive 1! Championed by Barracuda when he first came to power and reset the EU Directives, EU Directive 1 has shown us all the advantages of total centralisation. Look at his soft skin! In the twenty-first century, all indications are pointing toward a tightening of EU Directive 1 in which walkie-talkies will be classed as contraband.
That might be frustrating for Sebastian but for the European Court of Justice it’s unfrustrating. Very unfrustrating. Under Chief Justice Barracuda, the ECJ now enjoys the use of its own private army of Canadian and Swiss mercenaries keeping the peace. There they are, chewing on cigars and swapping eyepatches!
In the centre of the Big Square in Brussels, Lisa is visiting Michel again. This time there is no pantomime. He knows what he’s done. He’s walked a kilometre in her shoes, in his head. What do you think Lisa, can Michel be a useful member of Europol again? He can. The two head back to the office and unplug their telephones.
It’s not all gloom in the European Union. Every year there’s a little less crime, and a little more peace, a little more coal, and a little more steel. Let’s hope matters keep going in this direction and we can all enjoy a zero tolerance twenty first century.
This has been a European Videos Production.