A strange feeling overcame me last week in Brussels. I felt, for the first time, repulsed by all for which the EU stands. Until now I had, admittedly unthinkingly, laboured under the illusion that, whatever its failings as an institution, the EU is part of the fabric of liberal western democracies. I had always known that, in itself, it is not democratic. However, I had not properly recognised that it is actually anti-democratic. Yes, it makes a big song and dance about the importance of democracy, even taking steps to sanction member states that are not acting “democratically”, but do not be fooled by this. It is on an inexorable path towards stripping its member states of self-determination and concentrating power in its own hands. Far from being part of the fabric of liberal western democracies, it is a threat to that fabric. It was this realisation that sickened me. There are many examples of its anti-democratic behaviour, but none could be better than the great lengths to which it has gone to coerce its members into remaining within its net. The euro was created and launched primarily for this purpose. This was not properly appreciated back in 1999, but the Greeks and Italians (amongst others) are now acutely aware of how that currency has worked to trap them in the EU against their will. And, of course, most recently, even though the UK is thankfully not part of the currency, the EU has gone into overdrive in its attempts to frustrate Brexit, the biggest democratic mandate ever given to a British government. Coupled with its anti-democratic power grab is a move towards creating its own fighting force. Contrary to all protestations that it does not seek an army, the draft budget for the 2021/27 period includes a staggering €34 billion for the establishment of a 10,000-strong force, taking steps to protect EU interests (including the European way of life – whatever that is) and weapons development, both cyber and conventional. Moreover, via the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) that it established in December 2017, it has created a European-wide joint military capability under EU command. There can be no doubt that, given the EU’s increasingly anti-US rhetoric, PESCO stands as an eventual replacement for NATO. Alongside its drive to strip its member states of self-determination, its anti-democratic behaviour and the creation of its own fighting force, is Guy Verhofstadt’s recent declaration that the EU is on its way to becoming an Empire. In view of all of the above, should we ever succeed in Brexiting, we must be suspicious and vigilant of EU actions. The UK should certainly not be signing up to PESCO, which Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration would have done. Indeed, we should be circumspect about any form of joint security or information sharing with the EU. It is quite possible that, in a post-Brexit world, the UK would find itself having to challenge the anti-democratic EU in more than just trade and commerce. There is no doubt that the UK is firmly part of the fabric of liberal western democracies – let’s keep it that way.