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The Scallop Wars

The twentieth century saw destruction on a scale incomprehensible to anyone. No man, past or present, could ever fully understand the horrors of what occurred. The concentration camps, gulags, genocides, starvation, and utter, brutal, terrible wars that raged like a plague destroyed humanity. In particular, European countries realized something. These atrocities were so great that they could not permit this to happen again. The EU was erected as a structure to prevent what for the past millennium had been a war every eight years. One can point out the past failures of this superstructure, but, as a Cyprian friend recently told me, it is the (perceived) singular bastion of hope for Europe.

The failures occurring in the recent past of the EU somehow failed to topple the tower. However, I strongly believe the ivory tower of justice residing in Brussels is finally beginning the truly fray. This decay can be seen as parties who want their country to leave the EU are gaining power in politics. UKIP and Sweden Democrats are at the forefront of these movements. The mass unregulated migration into Europe has caused serious issues in Sweden and a large schism to form between the EU and states like Poland and Hungary, which have refused migrants.

The place where one can witness the degradation of the EU on a microscale is in its growing ineptitude dealing with disputes between member nations. The area of water in between England and France holds a variety of oceanic wildlife. Off the coast of France is a huge breeding ground for scallops. The area, while closer to the French side, is technically in international waters. The English allow any fisherman with a boat smaller than 15 meters to collect scallops year-round and larger boats from May to October. The French, on the other hand, have a ban on all scalloping from May 15th to October 1st. Up until recently, a silent agreement had been made that prohibited small, British fishing vessels from collecting scallops in the off-season.

But all that changed in late August. English fishing vessels started to infiltrate the scalloping zone, collecting an excessive amount of scallops. This greatly angered the French, and fishermen took it upon themselves to right the wrong. A contingent of 35 French boats appeared in early September about 12 nautical miles off the Normandy coast. They faced five brave English vessels, none deserving the description of anything more than a dingy. The larger French vessels launched an assault on the English ships. With the use of rocks, smoke bombs, and even ramming, the French drove away the English. However, their attempts were in vain. The English spread throughout the area, making it impossible for the French to deter all of them.

The French agricultural minister, Stephane Travert, grew in ire with the rest of his countrymen. Thankfully, Travert also happens to have the authority to place the French navy on standby, “ready to intervene in case of clashes.”

The war came to a temporary armistice, with the English pledging to not scallop in the area in return for financial compensation. Both countries promised to meet in Paris, the city where all useful and working agreements are signed. However, the huge bureaucracies of the French and English governments’ agricultural sector failed after an entire week to reach any kind of agreement. English fishermen grew tired and started to probe the waters again. The scallop war is escalating, and the governments seem to be losing control. How long until someone actually gets hurt in this inane “war”?

This entire situation is utterly ridiculous. This is simply another opportunity to demonstrate the failure of the European Union. This tiny dispute appears easily solvable. Both countries are currently under the economic purview of the EU. A simple arrangement in the EU’s governing structure would rectify the entire situation, preventing any further developments. Despite this, no agreement has been reached on the scallop wars. One would imagine that the supreme governing body of the land would step in and address the situation, but to Brussels bureaucrats there are apparently more pressing issues.

This “war” has been going on for almost a month at this point with no intervention from the EU. During this time, the EU has passed several bills including ones that restrict the spread of news via a centrally controlled copyright system. Many, like those in England’s UKIP party, speculate this is to prevent more countries from leaving the EU. Article 13 will be used to club anyone who dissents. Parties who want their countries to leave the EU (Sweden Democrats, Irexit, Law and Justice, etc.) will have their ability to spread their message several restricted. Others, like the EU’s Junker, call this a ploy by far-right parties to institute a reign of populism.

“Wars” over easily solvable disputes will continue to grow in number the more their basic causes are left unattended. Dealing with international economic agreements is supposed to be the EU’s bread and butter. The neglect of the EU’s economic duties to its constituents caused a pseudo-war, although an easy agreement between England and France could have been reached.

The natural course of everything is to degrade into chaos. Philosophically as well as scientifically this is an irrefutable truth of everything. For the creations of humans, this still holds true. The fraying at the edges of the European Union have spread like wildfire. From Brexit to Swedish terror attacks and scallop wars, it's clear something has started to collapse. The law of entropy is kicking into high gear for the EU, it would be wise to pay attention.

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