Wednesday, March 28, 2007

EU birthday

Reasons to celebrate the birthday of the European Union
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1. Peace among all of its members (no small achievement).
2. Free trade in goods and (largely) free movement of labour among all of its members (again no small achievement).
3. A mechanism to expose and confront corruption when it affects other member states – particularly helpful in the Mediterranean and ex.socialist bloc states, with much needing to be done (still relatively new)
4. The most recent sets of new members are very sceptical of big statist visions for Europe, having lost two generations of their population to the stagnation of the last great vision – imposed by Stalin and his sycophantic lackies. In other words, the weakening of the dominance of France and Germany (very welcome!).
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Reasons to mourn the birthday of the European Union

1. The world’s most highly subsidised and protectionist agricultural and food market, with little sign that it will do anything more than stand still (the biggest travesty in international trade, particularly for NZ).
2. Bureaucratic directives en masse that add compliance costs to EU business (and a reason for higher unemployment on average).
3. Neo-mercantilist style industry support and protectionism that costs Europeans a fortune – witness endless projects that are expensive and uneconomic (e.g. Euronews, Galileo).
4. Desire by the backwards looking protectionists to have a European superstate that denies diversity on many areas of public policy (because the less competitive countries don’t want to admit the failure of their policies – e.g. France, Germany and Italy vs. Poland, UK and the Netherlands) which have nothing to do with trade. This desire is in spite of the democratic desire of citizens of several European states to have nothing to do with the proposed EU constitution.
5. Enormous numbers of well paid jobs for European bureaurats in Brussels who contribute next to nothing.
6. A European Parliament elected by a minority of European voters and barely accountable for its actions because it is remote and unknown – and it knows it.
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I agree with No Right Turn that it brought freedom of travel and trade (within Europe, while raising barriers to trade from outside), but it did NOT bring democracy or human rights to Europe. Besides the UK (lets not mention the countries too gutless to be anything but neutral in one of the decisive wars between good and evil in world history), democracy and human rights were brought by the United States, and indeed the UK in defeating Nazi Germany. Remember democracy and human rights did not exist in some states (Greece, Spain and Portugal) until well into the 1970s, and that came from within, with more pressure from the UK and USA, than from the then far smaller EEC. Furthermore, it was NATO that defended Western European democracy and human rights against forty four years of threatened Soviet imperialist aggression.
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It is far from politically correct to admit it, and I doubt the European Union will mention it, but European democracy and human rights have everything to do with the UK/USA winning World War 2 (the Soviet Union winning enslaved the other half of Europe), and NATO (and France) deterring Soviet aggression. In the east, that deterrent and the Helsinki Agreement planted seeds that saw the downfall of (almost all) Soviet backed tyranny.
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Finally, it is woefully incorrect to say that the European Union ended war in Europe. I think there are hundreds of thousands in the Balkans who would disagree. The European Union and its predecessors were about peace among themselves, but Europe is far from a peaceful continent – and frankly the European Union disgraced itself over the Balkan situation. However, that is a story for another day.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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