A letter from Australia to the European Union.
We read in the news this week that you might soon find yourselves one country short. It sounds like a nasty business, Brexit, especially after all you’ve been through together. But from all accounts, Britain’s heart is not really in it any more, and they’re not even listening to common sense. Perhaps it’s best to let them call it quits.
In the meantime, we hope we’re not being too forward asking that if a spare seat at the EU table happens to become available, could Australia have a crack at it?
Yeah, we know what you’re thinking – what’s to gain from letting the Land Down Under join your club. You probably haven’t even heard that much from us since we had you over for the Olympics in 2000 (remember how great that was? Anyway). If any of you have been out our way, you’ll appreciate that we’re on the literal opposite side of the globe from you, which hardly makes us neighbours.
Well first of all, we’d like to remind you of our runner-up status in this year’s Eurovision. Remember when you rocked up there and thought “what the bloody hell is Australia doing in Eurovision”? And that was the second year we competed. And we nearly won it. Europe is ready to accept us. No one else appreciates your annual festival of power ballads and key changes quite like us. Even if you knock this request for EU membership on the head, we guarantee you’ll be seeing us in Kiev next year.
It’s more than just Eurovision though. You should see us during the Tour de France – a month whereby Australian workplace productivity takes a significant dive, thanks to nights of sleep deprivation. Did you know too, Melbourne’s Greek population is the largest outside of Athens (I think I read that somewhere). Thanks to our Italian immigrants, we know what constitutes a good espresso (amongst many other things). You see what we’re saying? We’re not just a former Brit colony – have a look and you’ll see no shortage of Dutch, Irish, and Maltese kicking around. With Britain leaving the EU, what better way to replace an English-speaking nation with one that feels a little more familiar? You’ll find that when it comes to Nonnas, we speak the same language as you.
There’s mutual benefits to having us on board the EU, mind you. There’s our mutual exchange program for backpackers, which means you’ll find grassroots-level support for an EU membership if it leads to an easier transit through borders. Nobody likes waiting to have their passport scanned after spending more than a day inside an Airbus (which, by the way, did you know we fly?). The line at Sydney Airport goes out the door sometimes. We reckon an Aussie membership to the EU will sort this out for us both.
What about our Asia-Pacific neighbours, we hear you ask? Well, ASEAN has missed its chance with us, and the Pacific Island Forum doesn’t mind us throwing our hat in your ring – hell, New Caledonia has a foot in both camps already. And, just quietly, we reckon the wider Asian region will be OK with it. For one thing, our island continent is staying right here, so all our shared trade and security interests remain as they were. We’re also the beneficiaries of decades of Asia-Pacific immigration, and that doesn’t look like it’ll be slowing anytime soon. It’s pretty bloody fantastic they’re here, because they’ll tie us to the region for generations to come. Australia becoming an EU state just makes us a gateway for the respective Asian and European markets. All win-win, mate.
The Commonwealth? Yeah, we know what you’re thinking, and we’re all over it. Our British ex-pats either moved here for the weather, or to escape so-called EU tyranny, so a Brexit should lead to a couple of them returning home grateful. For the rest of us, we figured out we don’t even have to give up our Governor General or Queen’s Birthday Long Weekend, either. Did you know one of our own is married to the future King of Denmark? Swap in his portrait at the RSL Halls, and replace the Union Jack with a Danish red-and-white cross on our flag, and I doubt most Aussies will notice the difference.
Whilst we’re talking, would it be worth our while adopting the Euro down the track? Don’t get us wrong, we love our Aussie Dollar, but it’s a pain in the arse to get a decent exchange on it at the Travelex, and it doesn’t stand up to much punishment. Chinese markets go down, the Aussie Dollar drops. The US Dollar rallies, the Aussie dollar drops. The same goes for the Aussie markets in general, really – a bit of economic insulation with the EU might even do us good. Yeah, yeah – we heard about the state of affairs with Greece, but if anyone’s going to have hard words with them, leave Germany out and send us in – we’ve got Greek relatives, after all. I don’t think too many Aussies will be bothered about the change in notes and coins, so long as you let us put our native animals on some of them. It’ll all be sweet.
Don’t get to thinking this is all going to be one-way traffic from our end, mind. We’re not coming to the EU to just free load. Our relative isolation from Europe makes us your neutral go-to for arbitration between member states. Latvia and Estonia are having a tiff? We’ll sort them out – to be honest, we’re not really sure which is which, so you can’t accuse us of playing favourites. The EU is all about standardising things across Europe, and who better to do it than us?
A bit of regulation would do us some good, too. Your organisation cops a bit of criticism for micro-management, but truth be told, we could benefit from standardising some things between our own states. Four different major football codes, for starters. We can’t even keep north and south Tasmania on the same track some times. And do you think a country of 24 million has a common system of beer glasses between each state? It’s a joke, is what it is.
In closing, it’d be a bloody exciting opportunity for you to let us in, and transition the EU from strictly continental boundaries to become a more global power. We’re pretty enthusiastic about the potential of Australia if it had a chair at the EU. We could do with a little more publicity in the world. We don’t get much thoroughfare traffic out our way, you see.
Just whatever you do, don’t give that spare seat away to New Zealand, yeah? They might try and seduce you with their landscape finery and earthy good looks, but forget about them – you’ve already got a Norway.