EU expansion

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by Imported, Apr 30, 2004.

  1. Imported

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    SpeedoGuy: There has been some news coverage in the states this week about the expansion of the EU to include a number of former Soviet satellite states.

    This west coast Yankee is interested in hearing the perspectives on this from our LPSG European members. Does this new growth of the EU mean anything new for you? Do you anticipate any significant economic or social repercussions associated with the additions? Does it mean anything new on US/Europe relations?

    SG
     
  2. lacsap1

    lacsap1 New Member

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    [quote author=SpeedoGuy link=board=99;num=1083378481;start=0#0 date=04/30/04 at 19:19:01]There has been some news coverage in the states this week about the expansion of the EU to include a number of former Soviet satellite states.
    [/quote]

    The 10 countries acceding to the EU on 1 May are Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia. The three candidate countries are Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey but still have to work in several fields, like;

    - Agriculture is an important factor in shaping the environment of the 10 acceding countries as well as the three candidate countries. Their farming systems currently have low inputs, low productivity and a rich variety of plant and animal species compared with the EU.

    - When the European Union is enlarged, open borders under the so-called Schengen agreement will still end at Austria. This state of affairs is likely to continue for a few years, at least until 2007 when building up the second phase of the Schengen Information System (Schengen II) will probably be complete. Then, in principle, all 10 newcomers, including four of Austria's immediate neighbours, could join. But the condition is that they are fully prepared, above all, to guard their own external borders to the east. The Schengen agreement currently allows free border-to-border movement in 15 European countries, not all of them members of the European Union.

    - In order to attract foreign investors, new European Union members have sharply reduced corporate taxes, drawing the ire of some western EU states that complain they have been left to pay the bill. Within the union's current 15 members, the average rate is 31-32 percent, despite having fallen sharply in the past few years, according to a recent study by the auditing group KPMG. In the east, Slovakia and Poland led the tax-cut pack, having slashed their rates to 19 percent from 25 and 27 percent respectively. They were left with the option of imitating Ireland, which has been highly successful in attracting investment with its average tax rate of 12.5 percent.


    We will see how thinks will go....
     
  3. Imported

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    Javierdude22: Hi

    I've never been too happy about it. The EU is like an obese woman, slow and carrying too much weight. It takes half a century to get a decision aproved, and well, I wont even mention the debacle regarding getting a EU constitution. I'm not against the EU though, I am against how it is structured, and bringing in 10 new members when the 15 older ones havnt got their business straight doesnt seem like a smart thing to do.

    In my personal opinion, I think 15 was good enough with the structure it has now (free movement of labour, goods, and people). Also the integration of many laws should have remained a 15 member thing. Diversity is great, but it shouldnt cripple the system. I would have been for a free trading zone with the Eastern European countries, but nothing more.

    Yes we Dutchies are scared serious amounts of cheap labour will pour into Holland, something that is being done illegally already with Polish workers on a relatively large scale. We are also the biggest contributor (nominally as well as relatively of course) of the entire EU, perhaps only second to Britain. And you cant even find us on the map!!! BUt we still should only get one vote in the EU while Spain, Poland, and of course France Germany and ENgland want two? I dont think so. I am happy my government made sure that free movement of labour will not be allowed into Holland until at least 2007. Seems like a very right-ist opinion, but were still Holland, this EU -we should feel like Europeans- crap is the biggest bullshit ever spread by any institution. Hardly anyone in the entire EU can name the 25 countries, votes for EU parliament, feels any direct influence from them, knows what they do, nor cares about it. Culturally we feel like Dutchmen, Italians, English, etc not Europeans.

    They should have waited till the ' old ' EU was structured better so it would be a known government institution, with faster decision making, and more agreement. Ths will only slow things more.

    And to be honest, I really hope no new countries will join, especially Bulgaria and Turkey. We have enough Bulgarian maffia in Amsterdam as it is, we have plenty of Turkish people, and we are FULL. Rush hour starts at 6 am and goes on till 11 only for it to start again at 3 till 8 pm. Trains are like sardine cans they carry so many people, we don't have enough houses (I tink were 300,000 short), and since we built on every strip of nature we had, we call our lawn 'nature' and the sparrow 'wildlife'.

    Hooray...we have 10 new members.

    ;)
     
  4. Max

    Max New Member

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    I'm going to give exactly the opposite opinion:

    Yes, it will take a long time for the EU to develop effective and democratic systems to govern itself and cope with the increase to 25 member states and a huge very disparate population.  There is still a 'democratic deficit' in the EU.

    Yes, there are enormous disparities of wealth, and the risk of a lot of economic migration from east to west in the newly expanded Europe.

    Yes, there are legitimate concerns about social security systems being overburdened, etc etc

    Yes, it will take a lot of time before we are all bedded down together.

    BUT  ...

    I for one am ashamed of the churlish stance of much of the press in my own country.  To see former communist countries welcomed into the community is little short of wonderful IMHO.  

    It is worth celebrating ... and may it not be too long before others are welcomed too.  Not forgetting Romania (well represented here on lpsg by our good friend Raal Lexx  :)  )

    Max

    London
     
  5. johnstone1985

    johnstone1985 New Member

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    Here Here Max!

    I strongly agree with Max.

    I'm also going to add that many of these eastern countries will see a lot of much needed investment.

    Many from the west are buying up land, property, businesses in the east like it's going out of fashion, due to cheap costs and even cheaper labour (and sadly I see this as a form of exploitation), but there will be a lot of European Funding pumped into these countries (sadly to the expense of the west), but it's a price I'm willing to pay!

    Sadly when it comes to gaining out of the whole expansion of the EU, it doesn't come down to countires, it comes down to individuals. My left wing views are coming into play again because it's the rich that will benefit and the poor that will pay the price.
     
  6. Imported

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    Javierdude22: I feel compelled to react on the euforia regarding former communist countries joining the EU. Yes, considering our geographical European past, it is quite something that only little more than a decade ago we were on opposite sides of the fence, and that we have now thje opportunity to join forces.

    However, that is a rhetoric I'm hearing a bit too often, also in the opinion magazines, as if that annulls any objection to the entry of these ten. The wall has been torn down 15 years ago, but we seem to relive it as though it was still there, a bit dramatically.

    I consider myself to be a leftist on inside politics but more centre on anything foreign, bad maybe but true. In the past two years I have grown more used to the EU, at least for the potential it could have, not the way it is executed now. I welcome more cooperacion with eachother, on as many grounds as possible, but it needs to be done right.

    Right now we are seriously disagreeing on foreign policy, a pivotal issue in the EU, the EU constitution, the European Commission, Agricultural reform, the Stability Pact, the future EU budget, and let's not forget about Turkey. I nwon't even mention how continous policy on the EU economy is failing at the moment. Liberal countries (I mean economy wise) like the Netherlands are being held back by chicken shits in France and Germany who are scared of any kind of reform (which will be inevitable in the future) because of votes and strikes. Those damn French will strike over anything, but dammit, just do it. They however press their stance on most of Europe, so we don't reform either.

    A lot of the issues will prove manageable though, I am hopefull for that, I just don't think it is wise to postpone them or deal with them with an even larger group.

    I agree with John that the new members could use some serious investment, but that is not just something that depdends on the EU, it also depends on their attractiveness and others willing to invest. They say we will reap the benefits as well, but who is we? Consumers? I doubt that.

    If consumers would benefit directly as well, than the little economics I have had would imagine foodprices dropping sharply. I mean after all, Poland has more farmers than the EU put together, producing all sorts of goods much cheaper right? Wrong. I bet we'll see a dime or two being knocked off a few vegetables and meats, while Unilever and Ahold, and whatever other supermarket chain in Europe report record profits. Lets see if thatll get us more jobs.

    I guess I've figured out my objection as I write this. The only ones that benefit directly from this are companies. Economic law then says thatll get us more jobs. Maybe, but how many? And will that help justify a loss in jobs because of inmigration, will it justify cultural shifts, higher crime, slower legislature etc. I guess we'll see, not much we can do now. These are not per se complaints I have, apart from the cultural shifts thing, but they áre complaints many Dutch, Belgians, Danish etc have.

    A question I do have for the people on the board is: where do we stop?
    After Romania and Bulagria? After the Balkan? After Turkey? Or, as the Economist dared to say, after Russia?. That dumbass writer should be fired.

    I am kinda surprised and sad to see not very many people on the board have an opinion on this. I am really interested in this topic, and really interested in hearing views of fellow Europeans, and also very much the view of our felloow Americans on this. What do you think of the European views, happiness, complaints.

    Come on!

    Javier
     
  7. Max

    Max New Member

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    Javier ... and I thought we Brits were meant to be the hard-bitten Eurosceptics!
     
  8. Ralexx

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    Just a little comment : « former Soviet satellites » is a awfully wrong formula to describe 11 countries whose history extends on 2400 years. It's like I would say : « Washington DC, the capital of the former British colonies in North America ». See what I mean ? ;)

    I couldn&#39;t say that the European Union is « expanding » (for someone&#39;s « disadvantage », even though the US and Russia feel vexed) ; Europe is just reuniting - a slow process that not everyone discerns. Wounds always heal in pain ; Europe&#39;s pain is the so called "euro-scepticism", a Molièresque disease for simpletons... <_<

    Javier, pleeeeease &#33; You could freely mention Roumania on the list of the "most detested", I&#39;m not a nationalist - and, besides, I know it&#39;s true. I know the endless reticence Roumanians - as well as Bulgarians, for instance - confront with often in the EU, but once more I have to notice that you put arch-general and arch-stereotypical information above proper analysis. To illustrate : in the same arch-general and arch-stereotypical way as Bulgarians are here depicted as Mafia connected, the Dutch are ALWAYS seen as gay/paedophile and drug-addicted, the British are ALWAYS ravaging a city after a football match, the Russians are ALWAYS drunk, Italians are ALWAYS pizza-eating mafiosi, etc. :wacko:
    I ALWAYS dislike arch-general and arch-stereotypical information just because is so damn f**king cheap &#33;&#33;&#33;&#33;&#33;&#33;

    I used to be very upset to see ignorant Europeans who couldn&#39;t even point their own country on the map (not to mention being able to make some valid comments on a foreign country) ; now I couldn&#39;t care less &#33;&#33;&#33; After all, it&#39;s not my ignorance. But, damn, ignorance is a choice. This makes it the 8th cardinal sin, as much as I&#39;m concerned. I can find excuses/explanations to a crime, to an adultery, but never to ignorance.
     
  9. Imported

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    Javierdude22: I am not sure what to do with your post.

    I may have misunderstood my own posts, but I think they contain a few rather general objections to the EU as a body of government, and no arch-general remarks about countries as such, besides my arch-typical comment on Bulgarian maffia.

    I actually have no problem at all with the nation states as such who have joined the EU on May 1st. Well, come to think of it, I do have a problem with Slovakia for the human rights position they take. The way they deal with the Roma Gypsies in their country is appalling, and the EU should have pressed more to correct that. This is one objection I will have as well if (and when) Roumania joins. The discrimination towards Roma Gyspies is a problem. Turkey is a problem to me because of human rights issues, their VERY different culture, their proximity to war territories, and the inequality between rich and poor at the moment.

    I hope these comments weren&#39;t to arch-general, arch-stereotypical or arch-(fill in blank)&#33; They are my personal objections, and ones shared by a large part of the current EU population. If the EU like many Europhiles would rather disregard the objections, instead of dealing with them or expplaining them, than it will be an empty institution with maybe a voter turnout below the 20%&#33;

    Javier
     
  10. lacsap1

    lacsap1 New Member

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    Maybe so, but the thing is that in general the stereotyped examples given are mostly correct.
     
  11. SpeedoGuy

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    Raa:

    Thanks for your reply.



    I can see your point. My statement was not meant to trivialize the histories of the individual new members of the EU but some of them recently were former Soviet satellite states. So, I disagree that my description is "awfully wrong." I recognize that European history goes back a long way so the former communist block characterization describes only a short segment of recent history.

    <!--QuoteBegin-Ralexx
    @Jun 9 2004, 10:04 AM

    I couldn&#39;t say that the European Union is « expanding » (for someone&#39;s « disadvantage », even though the US and Russia feel vexed) ; Europe is just reuniting - a slow process that not everyone discerns. Wounds always heal in pain ; Europe&#39;s pain is the so called "euro-scepticism", a Molièresque disease for simpletons...  <_<
    [/quote]

    As for the EU expanding, I think we may be splitting hairs on definitions here. Of course, physical Europe is not expanding but the EU as a governing/administrative/economic body is gaining new members. Its bigger than it was before, so that&#39;s expansion. At least, that&#39;s what I meant to say.

    As for Europe re-uniting, was there a time when Europe ever was united more than it is now? I&#39;m interested to know.

    Finally, I share your distaste for arch-general national stereotypes and I&#39;d like to add my own. I&#39;m disappointed every time I hear Americans described as ignorant and closed minded. America is a big country filled with lots of different types of people, ignorant and inquisitive. I ask all open minded people not to judge us all by the behavior of those who are fun to dislike.

    Thanks

    SG
     
  12. Imported

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    Javierdude22:
    I do apologize about that SG, cause you&#39;re right. I know I&#39;ve not been very political in my remarks sometimes, be it out of frustration, but still not good.

    Yesterday we had the EU elections in Holland. I&#39;m so proud of my -can&#39;t-find-thát-one-on-the-map- lil&#39;country. Our voter turnout jumped 10% compared to 4 years ago (from 30% to app. 40%). That is very good I think, especially since there&#39;s no escaping the EU and it&#39;s legislation, so one whould better vote.

    Anti-Europe parties, the first time they entered elections, didn&#39;t gain any seats. Apparently either Holland is very pro-European, the antis stayed home out of disbelief in the EU system, or maybe we Dutch don&#39;t very much like it but learned to deal with it. Anywayz, not too many big shifts if we compare right with left.
     
  13. SpeedoGuy

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    No offense taken, Jav. I generally admire your writing and share many of your frustrations about the way things are going because I believe the U.S. could behave better than it has been. I am somewhat embarrassed by the global temper tantrum we have been displaying. Why do I care? I want the U.S. to be respected and remembered for more than just its military and economic might.

    About the EU parliamentary elections: I followed the story on the BBC during the day Thursday (trying to get away from the never-ending Reagan saga) and the commentators confirmed that the Dutch had turned out in greater numbers than anticipated.

    I share your view on voting and participation in government. There are many things that annoy me about government. The antics of politicians sometimes cause me to wonder about the basic sanity of human beings. But one thing I don&#39;t do is just to give up and not vote. Not a chance.

    Are you back in Europe or are you still in South America?

    SG
     
  14. Imported

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    Javierdude22:
     
  15. jonb

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    Well, there was the Pax Romana. And the Crusades.
     
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