Tuesday, December 16, 2003
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Where does the EU go from here?
What's the fallout from the collapse of the EU constitutional negotiations this weekend? Depends on who you ask. In terms of the constitution itself, the Economist thinks this can only be a good thing:
Unfortunately, some of the leading EU members have shorter tempers than Moravcsik would have liked, according to the Financial Times:
However, the FT also reports that these kind of tactics will have some blowback in Paris:
It looks like a great example of too much, too fast. I don't know if the failure of the constitution is a good thing in the long-run for the EU or a bad thing but it seems the EU has a long way to go to demostrate they can make their current institutions work. Maybe a new Constitution would have helped, but from what I have read that was far from certain.
It will be very interesting to see how expansion affects the EU. I think the process could have some bumps that might be very unsettling to some members. I really hope they are able to make it work, because the EU is really a grand experiment to see if we can move beyond the way relations between nations have been shaped for the last several centuries. What they are trying is incredibly difficult and it is remarkable to me that so much has been accomplished without a symbolic leader of the movement.
In this time of global uncertainty it is nice to know that internally Europe is relatively stable. It would be a complete shame if that were to change.posted by: Rich on 12.16.03 at 11:06 AM [permalink]
I predicted the EU would fail, but even as cynical as I am, I never thought it would collapse this fast and this thoroughly.
I hope people saved their passports and currency. They'll be needing them again soon.posted by: erp on 12.16.03 at 11:06 AM [permalink]
What else can you expect from such young countries? Most European nations are not fortunate to have a established constitution and stable governmental history. They are the new kids on the block while we are the elder statesmen. Aren’t Great Britain and Switzerland about the only exceptions? The Europeans therefore have a lot of catching up to do. Look how long it took to unify the fifty distinctive political entities comprising the United States. Alaska and Hawaii became states only in 1959.
This is one of the central reasons why I find it so laughable when some Americans foolishly contend that we must essentially hand the role of leadership over to the French. Why place adolescents in roles requiring experience and mature wisdom? Have the French even outgrown their diapers.posted by: David Thomson on 12.16.03 at 11:06 AM [permalink]
Insert ubiquitous France bashing comments he....oops, too late.posted by: Waffle on 12.16.03 at 11:06 AM [permalink]
Isn't it strange that Germany uses its population size and its contribution to the Union Budget in typical Capitalist style, to get more voting power in a Socialist Union?posted by: Barry on 12.16.03 at 11:06 AM [permalink]
“Insert ubiquitous France bashing comments he....oops, too late.”
French “bashing” is currently a regrettable moral and pragmatic necessity. The leaders of this immature and childish country often make policy decisions not based on reasonableness and logic---but merely as a way of giving the middle finger to the United States. Thus, the French must pay a severe price before we forgive them. Their faces have to rubbed into the mud. Reconciliation should not come cheaply.
Americans are easily guilt tripped and inclined to think that there might be some validity whenever another country allegedly disagrees with us. But let’s get something straight: Jacques Chirac did not really find fault with our arguments over Iraq. Rational thought had little to do with his decision making; Chirac should indeed not be given credit for good intentions.
Please also note that Howard Dean only a few years ago agreed with me! He now feels an incumbent need to be embraced by the liberal establishment. Sadly, Dean is obviously more than willing to put his wet finger into the air and see which way the wind blows.posted by: David Thomson on 12.16.03 at 11:06 AM [permalink]
You assessment that "these kind of tactics will have some blowback in Paris" does not reflect the prevailing mood in France.
1- The leader of the opposition criticizes the President. Le Monde which has always disliked does the same, as usual.
2- Much of the press coverage was no that negative saying that no deal was better than a bad deal (the current difficulties regarding voting rights originating in a bad deal accepted by France and Germany during the Nice Summit).
3- The French people like nothing better that criticizing their country and their rulers: you really need a confrontation with some repulsive foreign leaders (like say Rumsfeld, GW Bush) to create a temporary national quasi-unanimity.
4- The fact that Germany with twice the population of Poland demands more voting rights in the EU seems quite legitimate in my opinion.
5- I don't remember a time when the European Union was not said to be in crisis.
I have increased my short position on the EU.posted by: Robert Schwartz on 12.16.03 at 11:06 AM [permalink]
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