1. We have added a Gift Upgrades feature that allows you to gift an account upgrade to another member, just in time for the holiday season. You can see the gift option when going to the Account Upgrades screen, or on any user profile screen.
    Dismiss Notice

The European Project: the future of the EU.

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Hrothbern, Jan 14, 2019 at 3:48 PM.

  1. Hrothbern

    Hrothbern Warlord

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2017
    Messages:
    3,144
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Amsterdam
    Too often all kinds of things are said in other threads where going into to the points raised would derail those threads.
    So hereby a thread where there is room for that.

    I am myself pro-EU, knowing the economical benefits for a small country (NL) from a single market much bigger than the national single market. This does however not mean that I am blind for the negatives.

    My other general feeling is that since the EU got more powerful on the international geopolitical stage from its economical power, especially when the EU became more important with the Euro (2000) as secondary global reserve currency and the EU trade balance became (finally) positive since 2012, that there is an increased geopolitical pressure on the EU with more of misleading news in the international newsmedia. Trump calling us a "foe" not really new, but just topping it off.
    I believe as well that it is not in the geopolitical interests of the super powers, having themselves that very big single market at national scale, to be very amused by the EU setting the example how smaller countries all over the world can unite in trading blocks to mitigate their power.

    We will have in May the 5-yearly election of the EU parliament.
    Which is another reason to start this thread.
    My guess is that many newsmedia will give a good dose of "news" how fragile the EU is, how rightwing populism is eroding the EU, and question why all kinds of reforms are not yet executed.
    Everybody and his dog has apparently some reform in mind, that often only shows for me how little they know about how the EU ticks, what it has achieved and wants to strenghten-consolidate, and what long term strategy the EU has already.

    For the people not intimatelty involved in the developments in the EU:
    The EU is not a federal nation, nor will be it, I guess, while you are still alive !
    My guess is also that the more geopolitical pressure the EU gets, the more political aspects the Union will get to defend its main purpose: that big single market.

    Here a link to a very nice polling overview site that updates for every EU country the polls on the popular vote for the national political parties and plots them in a trendline. With a list below of the graph of all the individual polls: who did the poll and the results.
    Here for example GB with that list of polls: https://pollofpolls.eu/GB
    Here the agregated result for the EU as a whole: https://pollofpolls.eu/EU
    Here a map where you can click on for details and fast swap between countries: https://pollofpolls.eu/map/europe-national
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2019 at 4:01 PM
    yung.carl.jung and Cheetah like this.
  2. Lexicus

    Lexicus Warlord

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2007
    Messages:
    16,532
    Location:
    Sovereign State of the Have-Nots
    For the European project to have any hope of success the current treaties need to be scrapped and replaced with treaties that give national governments policy space to maintain full employment etc. Social welfare and social rights must be at the centerpiece of any project for European integration, and this means sharply curtailing the rights of capital.
     
    Sofista and Kyriakos like this.
  3. Estebonrober

    Estebonrober Chieftain

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2017
    Messages:
    343
    Gender:
    Male
    The overall experience of the EU I think will define this century.
     
  4. Hrothbern

    Hrothbern Warlord

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2017
    Messages:
    3,144
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Amsterdam
    If we succeed in that... we will have become an even bigger example threat for the US-capitalism and the plan-capitalism of China.

    Achieving these goals would BTW be much more simple when either the Tories are removed from the political scene in the UK, or the UK is out of the EU.
    (not that I want the UK out)
    Illustrating that the EU is the common denominater up to average of the member countries.

    The ability for countries to get full employment (<3%) is indeed a key weak point of the current EU.
    To solve that for only Portugal-Spain-Italy-Greece with meaningful jobs, with enough value and productivity to be at the level of the northern EU countries I made a while back a rough estimate of Euro 1,000 Billion needed, 9% of EU-27 GDP.
    And that would only work when that money goes in the right kind of assets and get rightly skilled people (the general level there, but before people are tuned in all the shopfloor maturity of that, you are at least 10 years down the road if there is sufficient best practice sharing). No vanity projects or building roads everywhere like Japan did or shopping malls like Turkey did. etc.
    That money has to reach mostly local and regional companies with specific projects. Not some Big Corporate setting up greenfields. Not enriching local officials and mafia.
    The current cohesion funding is way lower than say 100 Billion per year for these four countries. That most of the current EU funding is going to East EU since they joined (having the lowest GDP per capita) not helpfull as well.
     
  5. Phrossack

    Phrossack Armored Fish and Armored Men

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2008
    Messages:
    5,034
    It will fall apart from many weaknesses: it's too strong for the liking og many people within it, spurring accusations of "tyranny" and "dictatorship," but it can't just crush dissent like an actual tyrannical dictatorship like the USSR could, or China can.

    Unlike China or the US, there's no real shared identity, which throws out the possibility of that kind of unity further.

    But mainly, there's no consensus within the EU of what the organization is supposed to do. Some want a federation, others want nothing more than some free trade agreements here and there. Some want open borders, others don't. There's no agreement there.

    Ultimately it'll fall apart into its component states, with most of them going hard-right reactionary for a few decades, each country too small and weak to resist China, the US, and Russia imposing their will, but too independent to work together.
     
  6. innonimatu

    innonimatu Warlord

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2006
    Messages:
    10,112
    Only as much as the overall experience of Austria-Hungary defined the 20th century. Though I do not mean that will be little. It was the malcontents of the end of that empire that built the current one and set the intellectual foundations (think Austrian School) for the current dystopia.

    I don't think the tories have had any relevant influence on the EU's policy over the past 20 years. The fundamental thrust of that policy was done through the Euro, and they opted out of it. I can blame the Tories for many evils, but the Euro was a fraco-german project, against the wishes of the british.

    This is entirely unnecessary. People were not leaving by the tens of thousands after the democratic regime started in Portugal, and the country was dirty pool. There was a sense of development, a better future to be had, and that by itself was enough to keep people busy building it. Countries should develop by themselves, not through transfers, "charity" from abroad. Even this day that failed to work in former East Germany. By contrast Slovakia, which refused to do what was done to East Germany, mass privatizations and dismantlement of "inefficient industries" overnight, has been steadily progressing. Without anywhere near the "transfers" that East Germany's territory received.

    More, I'll argue that these transfers are always counter-productive, as they foster corruption in the territories they target, get misallocated and lead to the misallocation of the local resources. Finally, they neither allow people to have satisfaction in building their own future (they're "taking funds" and doing what they are told to do"), not prevent others (the suppliers of those funds) from feeling and acting superior even if such transfers are mandated.

    As a wealthy county, you want to help another country develop and "catch up", you can simply unilaterally open your market to its goods or allow it to use the "intellectual property" of your corporatist. What, won't do that without getting others things in exchange? Yeah, I knew that altruism was in short supply in international politics. The idea that the EU will in any possible future actually give meaningful support for the poorer areas to "catch up" is false, it just won't happen, ever. Those who what to catch up must fork for it, and the best they can demand and get is a level playing fields. They don't even have that currently: monetary policy is not decided by them, trade policy of the block as a whole is not decided by them or according o their interests: screw those southern textiles, we want to export machinery to China, and now know that we are very virtuous because it is our industry that holds up the trade surplus of the EU...
     
    Sofista likes this.
  7. brennan

    brennan Argumentative Brit

    Joined:
    May 12, 2005
    Messages:
    8,684
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Worthing, Southern England
    Our countries will be healthier imo when we drop the idea that employment is necessary for a good life. Work sharing and part-time work should become easier.

    It is a travesty of our species that no labour-saving device ever saved a labourer a minutes work, we should learn to embrace our increased productivity in better ways than creating millions of non-jobs delivering pizza etc. etc.
     
  8. Hrothbern

    Hrothbern Warlord

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2017
    Messages:
    3,144
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Amsterdam
    creating millions of non-jobs delivering pizza etc. etc
    yes... that is fake economy.
    That's why I said meaningful jobs
    And why would wage levels for a decent living be based on 40 hour work weeks ?
     
  9. innonimatu

    innonimatu Warlord

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2006
    Messages:
    10,112
    Russia will be lucky to hang on to its historical zone of influence, it is now fighting for Ukraine, one zone that has been russian for centuries., where arguably Russian civilization started (the Kievan rus). No fear of the russian bogeyman.
    China is in for a lot of trouble, possibly even civil war. It may turn out that Tienanmen only postponed a political turmoil that will still arrive the moment its economic growth falters. Which has arrived.
    The US looks set to remain the one superpower, but if Europe survived being pushed around and split between the USA and the USSR during the cold war, and still improve the lives of its population, it can do so again.

    An European Empire is not necessary. The theory for it was that to escape the ills of some bogeyman foreign empire one should create those ills at home by turning it into an empire with all that it involves. Utterly insane.

    If brexit is successful then others will follow soon, and the UK, treated antagonistically by the rump EU, will help along. If not then popular protests will only increase across Europe, yet another referendum ignored. Those countries that avoided the Euro have by now cemented their refusal to join. The french project of using a larger Europe as cannot fodder for their reconquest of Africa is not going anywhere, no appetite for an EU military. And German industry, when (not if) it gets kicked out of the US and chinese markets, will cannibalize the EU's so much that the social fabric of that block will break. I don't know how the dominoes will fall, hope it will at least be peaceful, but it might not be.

    People have always needed and still will need to feel that they are doing something useful. Their social worth, if they are capable of working, derives from that. And there is plenty to be done.
     
  10. Hrothbern

    Hrothbern Warlord

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2017
    Messages:
    3,144
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Amsterdam
    The feeling of being European is much bigger than you think.
    And more so even with the younger generation Europeans.
    Much damage for that feeling is coming from national politicians blaming the EU to do things they would otherwise had to do and explain, account for, themselves.

    The hard-right reactionary forces will I think as well be an issue.
    Polling "favorable on EU" shows clearly that people identifying themselves as "left" are way more positive than people on the political "right".
     
    Marla_Singer, uppi and Cheetah like this.
  11. innonimatu

    innonimatu Warlord

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2006
    Messages:
    10,112
    The indoctrinated, through social media, Erasmus, the many sources of pro-EU propaganda? Sure, there are those but they are fewer and less determinant if this fester enough to get violent that you may believe. Most get over it when they are of an age to build a family and discover they can't really sustain one... those figure out that the promise of a better future in "Europe" has been a lie all along.
     
  12. Phrossack

    Phrossack Armored Fish and Armored Men

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2008
    Messages:
    5,034
    The young rarely vote as much as the old. The far right has absolute control over Hungary and Poland, a lot of power in Romania, is strong in France, Italy, and Britain, and is gaining ground in Germany. The EU now serves as a convenient scapegoat for any and all problems faced by their countries. Once it falls they'll have to find new scapegoats, but no European project of any kind can survive the combination of lack of shared identity, scapegoating, and lack of shared goals.
     
  13. innonimatu

    innonimatu Warlord

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2006
    Messages:
    10,112
    It is not just that, it is also that the young accumulate experience and change. Disillusionment, which the EU has been quite adept at breeding. And unfortunately it has been successful in (falsely...) associating "social liberal" and "left-wing economic" with the EU, meaning that when disillusionment hits these people turn right-wing. That is what has been feeding the right-wing in certain countries (Italy, Spain, and to some degree France, at the least).
    Hungary or Poland are cases that deserve their own analysis. In neither country did the right rise on scapegoating the EU. Hungary may have had fears of german control (amply justified), and Hungary the immigration thing. The EU featured late and not very prominently in those.
    In any case it is obvious that Europe is far more diverse that the would-be architects of the "constitutional treaty", the federation/empire, would suffer to force through their project. They have been unable to end that diversity despite their efforts to legislate it into being. It is not just quaint regional customs, it is whole ways of life, attachments to people outside the borders of the EU, local political rivalries... The weight of history.
     
  14. Hrothbern

    Hrothbern Warlord

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2017
    Messages:
    3,144
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Amsterdam
    Growth in East European countries is coming from freedom (from the USSR), from no loner money extraction (by the USSR), from in general broad masses of well educated people, from very low wages and salaries when they started trading with the EU (before and after they joined the EU).
    Add on top the big foreign investments in for example (you mentioned it) Slovakia. Slovakia has 50% more robots per 10,000 employees in automotive than the UK, and is nr 3 in the EU after Germany and France. The UK is nr 10. => that means high value jobs for the Slovakian employees and easily outcompeting the UK for automotive. The only disadvantage: it is Big Corporate investment money. But otherwise it would have been Big Corporate money in the UK.
    You do not want "charity" and do prefer Big Corporate money ???
    You are afraid that "charitty" money ends up in the corrupt pockets and are not afraid that this happens with Big Corporate because they are "better" ???
    And that "charity" is no charity, it is building up in well discussed projects our new EU members. A very long term investment indeed. That's why it's called Cohesion. You would be surprised how much of such projects are for example building sewer systems where they were not. Building up clean drinking water infra. Are you too nationalistic proud for that ???

    Spoiler diagram robots per 10,000 :
    Schermopname (2285).png
     
  15. Cheetah

    Cheetah Chieftain

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2002
    Messages:
    7,475
    Location:
    Norway
    Being that I'm outside the EU itself, but still within the EEA and several other EU-projects, I'm not completely happy with the situation, but it's alright.

    I myself am a convinced European Federalist, though I fully understand that it might take time to get there. Which is okay. Social democracies work by reforms and evolve steadily, but slowly.

    My best friends are married to an Austrian and a Lithuanian. My last long-term relationship was with a Dutch girl. My last New Years Eves I celebrated with European friends in Germany, Austria, and Norway. I work with and am friends with people from Poland, Germany, France, Ireland, Italy, Bulgaria, Slovenia and Hungary.

    We're at the same time both our nationalities, and Europeans. We like the European Union. We know that without he European Union we will be pushed around by the US, by Russia and by China. We're not going anywhere and we're not giving up on our home. We will work to keep it.

    Is everything perfect with the EU? Of course not.

    My biggest personal gripe is the Euro and the lack of a financial union to properly back it and redistribute wealth between the member states. It needs to be fixed or dropped. (Curiously enough, the Euro is one of the most popular parts of the EU, as it's a concrete and tangible example of what the EU has done for us.)

    Another gripe is how the agricultural subsidies are done. But that is actually a WTO problem which Norway and any other WTO member state face as well, not any fault of the EU as such.

    Other complaints is how the EU Parliament doesn't have enough power vs the Commission, how corruption could be handled even better, how corporate profits are taxed, or how the external borders and migrants are managed. But all those problems stem from the member states themselves, their national politicians and their unwillingness to cooperate or to grant the EU the powers necessary to deal with it. As a strongly liberal socialdemocrat, it also annoys me how right-leaning the EU Parliament is, but that's a symptom of the right-leaning voters, and merely reflect what we all can see in our national parliaments.

    We do have a shared European identity. Our common history, and our common European culture. We share the values of liberalism, of socialdemocracy, of support for the welfare state, of rejection of torture and the death penalty, of support for the rule of law, and of secularism.

    Nothing will be scrapped, but there will be reforms. There always have been reforms. The Euro will be fixed somehow (or dropped in a controlled manner). We're already relatively quite good in Worker's Rights and protections, but can always do better. We got the GDPR to protect our privacy. We're gonna get a a Right to Repair at some point. There are forces working to fix the weaknesses with Corporate Tax Avoidance. We're working on increasing coordination of Social Security systems.

    Several member states have way too high unemployment. Nobody is denying that, though I'll easily admit that many actors could step up to do more to help with the problem.

    The reactionaries and the racists and the nationalists and the fascists have been predicting the downfall of the European Union ever since the Coal and Steel Union, all the time they have been working to sabotage and destroy it. They have been wrong so far, and they will continue to be wrong. Not all of my friends are federalists, but all of them appreciate the European Union. And we're not the only ones. There are hundreds of millions of of us, and though our opponents are louder, we're not going to give up.

    We are Europeans. No matter how much the nay-sayers deny our existence.

    Spoiler European membership support :




    Spoiler Eurozone support :
     
    klar_heiland, mitsho and Hrothbern like this.
  16. innonimatu

    innonimatu Warlord

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2006
    Messages:
    10,112
    Robot numbers are very funny, but they address none of the substance of what I wrote. Are you claiming that it was the EU budget that paid for all those robots? No, you said it was "big corporate". They sold most of Skoda, that was the price to be paid for new investment. It wasn't an act of charity by Volkswagen, if they hadn't bought it a competitor might, and producing in Slovakia was appealing. This is an example of a country leveraging on its own resources to develop (including attracting foreign investment).
    As you should know, the strategy applied across East Germany was much more extinguishing industries rather than investing in them.

    Corruption arise especially in the rent-seeking, legally protected sectors. The natural monopolies. Utilities are one of those, and I would have zero private money in them. Car making is not one of those. And guess where all the EU financing went? To local industrial competitors of the core countries? No, that would be "state aid", bad bad bad! It went to infrastructure projects, as partial financing. The partial portion is very important...

    I wouldn't be surprised about sewer building partly financed with EU support, I've seen it done. Amazingly, we weren't drowning in **** prior to those projects. It wasn't a priority, you know? In my country managed to built municipal water supply systems during the 70s in all the country, no need for the EU. And that while we were accommodating half a million refugees and the economic double shocks of decolonization and the oil shocks. You know what the cohesion funds were mostly used for: highways. Some useful, sure. But all eventually built in "public-private partnerships", where bank consortia competed to built new highways parallel to the existing ones, and get state-guaranteed return on "managing" them. Very modern. And now I'm supposed to be gratefully pay through my taxes these investor rents for the useless extra highways for the next decades. Same thing in Spain. Thanks for all the charity, oh wealthy european better ones!

    So if we had a vote and people were not institutionally trapped, it was likely that it'd soon be the EU-21? And this at a time when the economy is supposed to be just fine? Nice, thanks for leaving me more optimistic.
     
  17. Hrothbern

    Hrothbern Warlord

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2017
    Messages:
    3,144
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Amsterdam
    The AFD is not really gaining ground anymore in Germany. And those voters were always there. Just needed a party to vote on. That's imo what happened. And the immigrants the tipping point to vote on such a new party.
    International news is imo pretty bad on European populism.
    The main problem the same as someone who gambles a little bit in shares.
    Every time it goes wrong quiet, and every time it worked, telling the whole world.
    I did the same as school kid with written exams of the kind you get every few weeks or so: I only told my mother the good news.
    Populist rightwing in NL is atm much higher than the international newsmedia report. And when they will discover that and start reporting on it in April (a regional election), they will only be interested because of the EU election a month later.
    BUT in the EU the populists have no chance at all to influence the EU policy. The risk and the responsibility is in the individual member countries.

    I agree with you that the far right in Poland, Hungary, Romania is strong.
    We had there long time communist regimes a la the USSR. The opposite situation with Greece, Spain, Portugal where the were rightwing juntas up to mid 70ies and leftwing took over. Those former USSR satellites, happy with finally being a nation again (fresh genuine nationalism), also culturally differing in tolerance for minorities. A real big cultural gap. A nasty cocktail.
    Those governments have (many of) their politicians embracing corruption. Like Romania. No wonder you get reactions. Real bad that so many of these politicians are in leftwing parties.
    Is the EU to blame for that ? imo absolutely not.
    Do we need EU imposed better anti-corruption laws ? imo absolutely. Corruption in a EU member country is a big risk for a reliable stable partnership adding value to the EU, protecting the low income people of that country. Romanian politicians need to be set as example. I have no mercy there for those politicians. They are criminals. A fair trial and conviction.
    As I said: the EU needs to become more politically profiled. Just trading does not counter political cohesion damage from some populist rightwing or some corrupt nepotist countries.
    The lack of "shared goals" ? There are many shared goals, but they do not get newsmedia attention. The EU is not political selling its achievements as EU, which is a big political mistake. The EU does not really own its own brand !

    But no need for federal powers. Forget BTW about the EU becoming a federation. It is not really supported. It comes up all the time in international non-EU newsmedia.
    And if Macron wants that federal EU (why is that idiot talking about something that has no backing ?), he can make his federation with Spain, Portugal, Greece, Italy. Five former empires together with a rural economy with France the most industrialised one (and except Greece all much more in favor of majority voting to replace veto voting). Varoufakis is also talking about such a "club". I doubt France will enjoy such a club. And if the South EU countries break out to individual nations ? I think that Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece are better off outside the monetary union.
    Germany and the Hanseatic/Nordic countries will anyway not join a Federation. That is imo completely unimaginable for the next decades.
     
    yung.carl.jung likes this.
  18. Hrothbern

    Hrothbern Warlord

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2017
    Messages:
    3,144
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Amsterdam
    Have you ever been in East Europe ?
    Have you ever seen the manufacturing halls from the communist time ?
    Their machinery, hopelessly outdated, with craftmen a master in repairing the repairs from the repairs ?
    Their office furniture giving you the impression that the clock turned backward to pre WW2 and the 50ies ?
    When your car is a total loss you scrap it.
    I have visited BTW the old Skoda site in Plzen several times. A disaster.

    => The money from the EU is and has been exactly doing what a government does as flanking infra investments. Creating the infra for companies for their greenfields and brownfields (existing obsolete halls) to make it more attractive to invest. The money for the roads to connect industrial areas to clusters, and those countries with the West.
    The trading security of the single market of the EU, lowering the risks of those Big Corporate investments, making them worthwhile. The Big Corporate companies fuelling the little family owned old companies with orders, enough for them to hook on and buy new equipment.
    And it worked good enough considering the means available.
    What you do with your remarks is disowning the constructive efforts done and achievements made by the EU...
     
  19. Patine

    Patine Warlord

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2011
    Messages:
    2,392
    I hate to say it, but both Napoleon and Hitler both also came close to politically unifying Europe (albeit, by different approaches). But, like the EU, the "stiff upper lip" of the British and the refusal of the "Russian bear" to cooperate heralded the ends of their unification schemes too. :p

    Sorry, couldn't resist.
     
    Hrothbern likes this.
  20. Patine

    Patine Warlord

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2011
    Messages:
    2,392

Share This Page