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What Sort of Europe Should We Aspire to?


ruserious

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Jan 3, 2011
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The European Coal and Steel Community of 1951 and the European Economic Community of 1958 brought peace to Europe. War between the great powers has been described as 'unthinkable'. This is a fantastic legacy to leave behind and very few associate it with any negativity.

The single market under the European Economic Area has allowed Irish exporters to excell and offers the Irish economy a huge potential marketplace. This is a huge benefit to Irish and European business and to citizens.

However, I do not like the idea of a 'political union'. I do not want to be part of the United States of Europe as I do not see how it can benefit us anymore than the EEA already does. I like being Irish. Yes, we are European too, but I like having the chance to offer political allegiance to our small state, and not a pan-European conglomerate.

Coming through the State's education curriculum in the noughties, it was often imposed on us how the EU was the be all and end all. But these last few years, we have seen how the EU treats citizens of particular countries. There is a sense of bitterness amongst the youth. Prior to the 2008-present crisis, Ireland was one of the most pro-europe countries in the EU, but today, there is a general sense of anger at the EU fueled no doubt by an Irish government eager to find a scape goat while she introduces tough budgets.

I think we need a debate on where the EU is going. This crisis signals a general push towards creating an ever closer union. A cynic might conclude that certain economic elements were fostered to achieve this end-goal.

The drive to assign Westphalia to the dustbin in waves of globalisation has also seen the resurrection of regionalism such as in Catalonia, Scotland and South Tyrol. Could this endanger the future of a USE?

To sum up, I approve of some sort of economic agreements and free movement of people. I also think there could be an European agreement to share embassey's abroad. But I am against the idea of a USE for arguments outlined.

Please outline your preferred vision for the future in Europe and let's try be civil.

Rus.
 

patfitzbally

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Dec 11, 2011
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there should be simply a "free trade area" where business/trade can flourish without tariff or political/national favour.the Brussels or strabourg elites should be dismantled.
 

Analyzer

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Feb 14, 2011
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Let's ask the Greeks.

I reckon they have far more relevant comments to make that fat plutocrats like Suds and Donkeylaffs.
 

ruserious

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there should be simply a "free trade area" where business/trade can flourish without tariff or political/national favour.the Brussels or strabourg elites should be dismantled.
Would you not include services so by definition of your reply?
 

Shqiptar

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Mar 18, 2012
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There's too much emphasis on political and economic union. Europe is a cultural construct and that's what we should have focused on. We should celebrate Europeanness and gradually grow together that way - if that's what happens.

More power should reside at the national level and every country should vote on whether or not any power is surrendered upwards. It should be flexible. If some country opts out of a particular initiative, it should be no big deal. The initiative should be designed specifically to allow that.
 

wilting

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Feb 22, 2008
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I struggled with my views on European integration for years, culminating with a focus in my university education.

I went from anti-integration for nationalist reasons, to a kind of euro nationalist (what I thought was federalist at the time), to intergovernmentalist (ie generally similar to ruserious), before finally settling at what I consider actual federalism.

The first thing I would say that calling a potential federal European Union a 'United States of Europe' is not helpful; it implies certain things about American political structures and American power which would be unlikely to apply or be relevant in this context.

The pure and simple reason I am a Federalist is for the sake of democracy. Like it or not, a certain amount of international economic and political integration is inevitable (precisely how much or in what form, well, a long debate). The economic and political forces pushing and pulling integration aren't going to just go away because they don't fit with the ideology of nationalism used to legitimize the old order.

When power is transferred to a supranational level, without reflective change in our democracy, then real democracy declines. Member State Governments have a self interest in good governance in order to be elected, so though they might not like giving up powers they will do so when they believe it is necessary for good governance. However, it is not in the self interest of those Governments for the supranational institutions to be directly elected, as that would challenge their dominance as the legitimate carriers of the democratic torch. Hence the intergovernmental institutions of the Union are largely bureaucratic in nature.

Furthermore, the presumption of intergovernmental governance can be problematic, as the pursuit of monetary union without fiscal union has shown.

A federal union means a democratic union and a better governed union.

I would like us to somewhat move past our close association of national identity with political jurisdiction, it is not the historical absolute that it is often portrayed. I would like political institutions to be to a certain extent 'culturally secular,' with national cultural concerns the remit of apolitical institutions. Our political focus should be pure and simply be on liberal democratic good governance, at say a local, regional and continental level.

Essentially I believe we should build our democratic institutions to reflect the realities of where decision making would be most effective. The presumption should be for governance to be as local as possible, but that should not prevent decisions being made at the level that gives the best results, and that decision making should be democratic.

I've written much, much longer posts on this in the past that I can direct anyone to if they so wish.
 
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Kev408

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Feb 26, 2006
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Let's ask the Greeks.

I reckon they have far more relevant comments to make that fat plutocrats like Suds and Donkeylaffs.
The names you've given politicians are so unrelated to them that I really don't know who you're talking about.
 

Lempo

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Just recently there was a great drive towards the general principle of subsidiarity:

Under the principle of subsidiarity, in areas which do not fall within its exclusive competence, the Union shall act only if and in so far as the objectives of the proposed action cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States, either at central level or at regional and local level, but can rather, by reason of the scale or effects of the proposed action, be better achieved at Union level.
Now, suddenly, the different people and nations of Europe should decide about policies and budgetary issues on very centralized level. I do not get it.
 

Shqiptar

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The names you've given politicians are so unrelated to them that I really don't know who you're talking about.
Peter Sutherland and Charlie McGreevy?
 

stopdoingstuff

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Feb 26, 2011
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A decentralized free trade area, membership of the Euro not compulsory, defence and foreign policy being solely a matter for nation states, direct taxation remaining the exclusive competence of nation states, EU budget capped at current level as % of GDP less to-be-discontinued CAP, right to nation states to unilaterally repatriate any powers it sees fit......bascially a condeferation that co-operated on the odd big thing.
 

tipp revolution

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Feb 16, 2011
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Burn the euro it has burnt us
 

wilting

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Feb 22, 2008
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Now, suddenly, the different people and nations of Europe should decide about policies and budgetary issues on very centralized level. I do not get it.
It comes down to whether you think more decision making regarding budgets etc needs to be made at a Union level for better results or not. If you do, then subsidiarity is overridden for good governance, if not ... well then.

Its important to understand that while the Union is generally portrayed as a top-down elite type organisation, in practice a lot of what it does is as a result of legal rulings, business lobbying and economic/political crises. The Union is largely reactive in nature, I suppose like Member State institutions themselves, it is a changing thing. This is why the argument for a 'decentralized free trade area', more EFTA like organization fall flat. The form of the Union has been a response to conditions, it is the result of sovereign member states entering a free trade area, not the opposite of it.

Having said all that one alternative I like to propose is for some or all Eurozone Member States to form a new Federal State which was itself a member of the Union, allowing the Union itself to be streamlined somewhat, would solve a lot of problems.
 

Shqiptar

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When power is transferred to a supranational level, without reflective change in our democracy, then real democracy declines. Member State Governments have a self interest in good governance in order to be elected, so though they might not like giving up powers they will do so when they believe it is necessary for good governance. However, it is not in the self interest of those Governments for the supranational institutions to be directly elected, as that would challenge their dominance as the legitimate carriers of the democratic torch. Hence the intergovernmental institutions of the Union are largely bureaucratic in nature.
I'm going to focus on this bit since one problem jumps out at me straight away. A supranational institution should be directly elected IMHO but before that, the citizenry of each country should be given the opportunity to decide if they want the related powers that at that point reside at the national level be surrendered upwards to the supranational body.

Setting up this body for the entire EU27 and making it directly elected in an aren't-we-all-great sort of way is not democratic. Doing that presents the citizenry with two options only: voting in elections for this new body (whether they support its creation or not) or opting out.

People have the right to decide whether or not their country partakes in each supranational body.
 

Lempo

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Furthermore, the presumption of intergovernmental governance can be problematic, as the pursuit of monetary union without fiscal union has shown.

A federal union means a democratic union and a better governed union.

I would like us to somewhat move past our close association of national identity with political jurisdiction, it is not the historical absolute that it is often portrayed. I would like political institutions to be to a certain extent 'culturally secular,' with national cultural concerns the remit of apolitical institutions. Our political focus should be pure and simply be on liberal democratic good governance.
The policies would still be executed in each of states more or less by officials of that state who come from that specific (administrative) culture. How would the brown envelope culture that in some places has long traditions be done away? How would officials suddenly stop favouring members of their own families in cultures where that is sort of a social expectation? How would the discrepancy between tax paying willingness of different peoples be addressed with?

How stupid would those people who have matters in those things better than EU average have to be to go along?
 

wilting

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Feb 22, 2008
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Shqipter:

Generally speaking I agree, in practice this is rather difficult however due to the fluid nature of events. You write a constitution or a treaty, you get the consensus to get it through, then things happen and messy bits get stuck on etc etc. The Member State Governments, as our elected representatives, decide what happens in the Union, as TDs decide what happens in the Dail. If the courts approve, if a referendum passes when it is required etc etc.

I wasn't making a specific proposal there about how to build institutions - merely making a statement about the fundamental nature of the democracy deficit.

Lempo:

I'm not entirely sure what you mean. Political corruption is not an area I know a lot about so I can't speak specifically. Those with better run institutions have an interest in other member states operating better, for their own economic and political gain, and so do those with less well run institutions. Obviously if you build a common institution you build it to be as good as you can, and to mitigate potential problems. So I guess the answer to your question is 'try to do a good job.'
 
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Shqiptar

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Shqipter:

Generally speaking I agree, in practice this is rather difficult however due to the fluid nature of events. You write a constitution or a treaty, you get the consensus to get it through, then things happen and messy bits get stuck on etc etc. The Member State Governments, as our elected representatives, decide what happens in the Union, as TDs decide what happens in the Dail. If the courts approve, if a referendum passes when it is required etc etc.

I wasn't making a specific proposal there about how to build institutions - merely making a statement about the fundamental nature of the democracy deficit.
Okay. I just see a Union growing further and further away from its citizens. It's got to a point where governments are too scared to ask their own people because they'll know they'll get a resounding "no". They're leaving the pitch wide open to extremist nationalist groups who will always be ready to combine general xenophobia and disenchantment with Brussels.
 

stopdoingstuff

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Feb 26, 2011
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A nice summary from former Soviet dissident and current UKIP member Vladimir Konstantinovich Bukovsky.
[video=youtube;-KIc7jLx8RA]http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=-KIc7jLx8RA[/video]
 
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