The European Project: the future of the EU.

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Hrothbern, Jan 14, 2019.

  1. mitsho

    mitsho Deity

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    Yes, that's what I wrote, if you read further on :). It's the best thing we got, as the English Brexiteers just have shown us spectacularly. I can imagine an alternative history where other nations would have taken up the British proposal and created a more neo-liberal Europe with less regulation and less consumer and employee protections. But I still believe in a European way as opposed to an American or Chinese System and maybe that's more the question: Where you put the alternative geographically.
     
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  2. ori

    ori Repair Guy Super Moderator

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    EU government heads agreed on a new personell roster - and frankly it seems to be build on how to alienate as many voters as possible and ensure further EU sceptic party successes going forward. Yeah getting the IMF head into the ECB is so going to endear the Euro to everyone and getting our defense secretary to head the commission while she is embroiled in one of the most serious corruption scandals in recent memory (well ever since the Schröder team obviously ;)) is a clear signal to everyone what the EU collectively thinks about corruption...
     
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  3. Hrothbern

    Hrothbern Deity

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    I think that Merkel has not a good understanding of the sentiments of the political class in East Europe and how that interacts with the general opinions of the people in East Europe !

    "her" EPP proved to be out of control for her, while everybody expected of her to be their spokesperson.
    That the economics of some East European countries depends strongly on the German economy and foreign investments to export to Germany, does not mean that the politics of these countries accepts everything from Germany (or the EU).
    That misunderstanding of Merkel messed up the whole process to find the new EU crew from the start.

    Ursula von der Leyen a loyal Merkel-CDU-EPP caretaker and yes... embroiled in corruption scandals besides her underperforming in her Minister of Defense position.
    But do mind that Germany is much more "corrupt" than you would expect of such a developed ("northern") country. Think not only on the Deutsche Bank but also about the regional banks, the regional utility companies. The Big German Corporate in foreign countries.

    I think the big losers in this new crew are the Social-Democrats, the (social-liberal-leftish) Greens and the left Greens.
    But they have together only 270 of the 751 MEP seats, and have not many PM's representing them between the 28 PM's. Relatively to voters % even less PM's.


    EDIT
    Here... already now (!)... an article describing the quick fix character of the choices made.
    https://www.politico.eu/article/sur...onsequences-in-race-to-choose-new-eu-leaders/
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2019
  4. mitsho

    mitsho Deity

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    The lack of Eastern Europeans in that proposal was surprising to me as well. Von der Leyen, well, the new parliament will certainly be more interesting than the last and that can only be a good thing. Democracy rules after all :)
     
  5. Lexicus

    Lexicus Deity

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    Also demonstrates how seriously to take the EU bleating about corruption in Southern Europe....
     
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  6. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Creator

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    There simply is no more systemically (or rather existentially) corrupt state than Germany, with state-sponsored companies literally only functioning out of a culture of bribing foreign officials to get deals far beyond their worth.
     
  7. Lexicus

    Lexicus Deity

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    The US is more corrupt than Germany imo.

    My post of course wasn't to deny the existence of corruption in southern europe, but the corruption existing at the heart of the EU institutions and in the city of London makes the southern Europeans look like amateurs.
     
  8. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Creator

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    Maybe, but it doesn't have to, so likely it isn't. Difference of size relative to your market.
     
  9. Yeekim

    Yeekim Moderator Moderator

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    Don't underestimate the South... like I recently overestimated risks of kidney transplants. :p
     
  10. Lexicus

    Lexicus Deity

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    I mean, it's different kinds of corruption. My understanding is that most of the corruption in south Europe is "greasing the wheels" petty corruption where you pay low-level officials relatively small bribes, OR it is patronage-type corruption that is actually a way of stabilizing politics. The systemic corruption of the entire political system of the EU as well as the UK, US, Germany etc. makes these things look very insignificant. I've spoken on this before but one example of the sort of thing I'm talking about is, you hear a lot about corrupt African kleptocrats taking money out of their countries and hiding it abroad...where do you think they are hiding it abroad? Why is the corruption in the US and UK that allows that African money to be parked in real estate in London, Miami, Manhattan not talked about?

    It is the same thing with southern Europe...you have corrupt politicians using the institutions of international capitalism, including the EU, to facilitate their corruption and then the politicians in the "core" EU countries pretend that Southern Europe suffers because Southern Europe is corrupt.
     
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  11. Yeekim

    Yeekim Moderator Moderator

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    Money laundering is an extremely hot issue in EU - both politically and in everyday life. Considerable resources are diverted to fight it, not even considering the accompanying administrative burden this fight inflicts on ordinary businesses.
    It is also extremely difficult to fight. It is difficult even where we are talking about money obtained by "traditional" criminal methods.
    Magnitudes more though if we are talking about money obtained by people who can, if need be, get the highest court of their country to unanimously rule they are squeaky clean.
    How are you going to stop that African kleptocrat from buying overpriced London real estate, other than putting up a total business embargo against everyone from that particular nation - a "solution" which, I suspect, would be immediately decried as hugely racist?
     
  12. Hrothbern

    Hrothbern Deity

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    I understand the SPD (Social Democrats) in Germany is furious about the choice for Ursula von der Leyen.
    That Merkel herself abstained from voting in the final vote does not help: her coalition (with the SPD) has gotten a severe blow because she accepted von der Leyen.
    The SPD made a clause in the coalition agreement with the CDU that they would evaluate with Xmass whether to stay in the coalition.
    First wait and see whether von der Leyen will get a majority in two weeks from the EU Parliament.

    Schermopname (3172).png

    Google translate:
    Victory of Orbán & Co. They have prevented Timmermans standing for the rule of law. The heads of government are outsmarting, the top candidate process is dead. #Leyen is the weakest minister here. That seems to be enough to become Commissioner.

    https://twitter.com/MartinSchulz
     
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  13. ori

    ori Repair Guy Super Moderator

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    That SPD are "furious" is just some of them (notably those not or only marginally involved in government) fishing for a reason, any reason really, to end this coalition - it just is so blatantly obvious that I have absolutely no idea why they even bother fishing for one - just end it already, no need for flimsy excuses.

    Schulz especially who just weeks ago tried to get back into the drivers seat by running multiple attacks on the then party leader prior to the EU elections only to not step up when leadership in parliament and the party got vacant is frankly irrelevant by now.

    That said he is right: von der Leyen was seriously weakened and was until two days ago clearly on her way to irrelevance - though calling her the weakest secretary is pushing it - both the CSU and the SPD have some pretty serious contender for that government spot right now.
     
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  14. innonimatu

    innonimatu Deity

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    The increasing complexity of the world requires, in some instances at least (I could argue many) rolling it back. Cutting the gordian knot is a solution. Not everyone believes in the inevitable and glorious march of progress. I find it ironic that many estonians sought to escape from under the thumb of an empire to willingly throw themselves under another shortly after. Every argument made for being a province of the EU could have been made to defend remaining a province of the USSR back then...

    Capabilities depend more on people than anything else. To give them up is to lose know-how, which is very hard to build.

    I'm more concerned with pharmaceuticals than vehicle testing. As for which countries inside the EU can do it easily, the EU's own report states that "After September 2015 Germany, France, the UK, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the Netherlands undertook additional tests beyond the NEDC test, and used the outcomes of these complementary tests to search for the potential use of prohibited defeat devices (Finland will start tests next year)." Others I am sure could do it of they wished. They have not, and they had not during the decade prior, because it was more comfortable to let the EU play with its regulations and not raise waves. Absent the EU's centralized role in policy-making, I believe they would have. I also strongly suspect, but cannot prove to you here with published documentation, that the reason these and other states were so set against the push for more stringent regulations was that people from those countries taking part in the process (because Brussels hasn't imposed a dictatorship yet) knew those regulations, and the whole process, was phony. But upsetting the Brussels apple cart takes some balls, is not conductive to career building...

    In any case not having vehicle testing at all would hardly be worse than the testing theater the EU acted for years: my point is that the testing allegedly done in the EU (that everyone felt safe about) was a fiction. For over 10 years the European Commission bureaucracy knew about the tests being fake. They commissioned research into it that showed emissions up to 15 times what was measured in the lab. And they carried on to make their "more stringent standards" based on the very same lab testing that was providing phony data. They cannot be trusted. What heads rolled inside the EU bureaucracy over this? None that I know of. These people were playing around with legal fictions while ignoring the plain, demonstrated reality. And the only thing that brought them to even admit it was another country outside the EU raising a fuss.

    The same institutions that produced this shameful disaster then had the gall to write into their report things such as this:
    So member states are supposed to be evil because they opposed the crazy new regulations that could not be met and were not being met? :rolleyes: But the bureaucracy driving the process, those must always be right. The view from Brussels is always that they do not serve the member states, the member states exist to serve and obey the will of the bureaucracy in control of the Commission! And I say in control of the commission because that is the way they act. Who does most of the drafting of the new legislation? With whom exactly do the lobbyists talk?

    What failure does the commission bureaucracy admits for itself? Why, not having managed to override the state's objections to its new legislation of stricter emissions limits faster!
    The arrogance of these people! What are the odds of someone managing to kick them around until they got into their thick heads that they are servants of the states that make up the EU? Zero. Not only they cannot be trusted, they are never punished and they never learn. And that is why the EU as a whole must go. Experience has shown it to be impossible to fix from the inside.

    For standards you do have a point that most are written by the main countries and picked and chosen by others because of their influence over trade and manufacturing. But the EU is entirely unnecessary for agreements to be reached between countries for that purpose, of for countries to by itself pick standards their larger neighbors made. And they will get more of a choice of a choice on it than a small country will get in terms of influencing the standard the EU imposes on its member countries. And they will be critical of any new regulations, and resistant to adopt them if they clash with the local reality.
     
  15. Yeekim

    Yeekim Moderator Moderator

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    Not everyone believes the Earth is round either. Anyway, increasing complexity may not be glorious and it may not be "progress" in the sense of it being unequivocally beneficial, but it is inevitable... absent some catastrophic collapse of civilization.
    The most polite comment I can give is that differences between USSR and EU are far greater than similarities.
    Yes and yes.
    There was a time where a single village or polis could, by itself, contain all the know-how it needed to maintain de facto sovereignty and provide its citizens a competitive standard of living.
    There was a time where a country of 50 million could do that.
    Those times are gone.
    There's a difference between doing something once and maintaining a constant and universal function.
    Also, sure, Member States could take back a particular function from EU. Does not mean they could take back all of them.
    You can find similar and worse cases of bureaucratic failure and lack of accountability in any government in and outside EU.
    It is rarely used to argue government in itself is a failed concept... except by some anarcho-lolbertarians, I guess.
    Just one small country having radically different reality from everyone else is pretty rare though.
    Far more common is finding a number of countries with similar realities and interests, so they can pool their influence in decision-making process.
     
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  16. Cheetah

    Cheetah Deity

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    You rule, insulting piece of.
     
  17. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Creator

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    What kind of answer is that?
     
  18. Yeekim

    Yeekim Moderator Moderator

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    Actually, I'd like to provide a different perspective from Estonian history, considering this topic was brought up.

    Estonia was one of the last Pagan holdouts in Europe. It was rather prosperous during Early Middle Ages (quite a lot of Byzantine and Arab coin hoards have been found here) and its inhabitants (particularly Oselians) were wont to raid and loot neighboring kingdoms like Denmark and Sweden.
    Proto-Estonians were also extremely fond of grassroots-level of democracy and local sovereignty. Main administrative unit was parish (organized around a hillfort), with several parishes forming counties.
    Spoiler :

    Both parishes and counties were led by locally elected elders. I said Proto-Estonians, because while the counties did form a loose confederation of sorts and there is evidence of annual meetings between elders and assorted notables (kind of "LandTag") alongside with certain notion of kinship, the people primarily identified themselves by their county and infighting and raids between counties were regular. All in all, I'm sure they enjoyed their local autonomy and tribal proto-democracy while it lasted.
    Unfortunately, failure to keep up with the times and form a unified state led to being unable to mount a successful defense against Crusaders.
    As a result, after several decades of warfare, the local population was summarily reduced to serfdom for the next 600-odd years.
    I believe the implied lesson of this (admittedly greatly simplified) account is rather obvious.
     
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  19. innonimatu

    innonimatu Deity

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    Kindergarten-level kind. The usual.

    I don't doubt that estonians had good reasons to want to decide on their own affairs. And as you probably know I would rather have a world made up entirely of small countries. The argument you put forward against the practicality of it is that a larger neighbor will crush the smaller independent polity. But has this ever prevented people from trying and enjoying that independence while it lasted, quite a long time in many cases? Does the certainty of death, hanging as a threat and promised outcome over us all, make us give up on the life we have?

    Empires keep rising and falling, even regions that are part of empires break away. Getting crushed by a larger neighbor is not an inevitability, unlike death. And even were it, it was no reason to just surrender. Willingly becoming vassals or components of one empire out of fear of being taken over by an empire is as self-defeating a strategy as I have ever encountered in politics!

    Currently there is a rather interesting spat between the EU and Switzerland. The EU is exploiting its economic influence to try to impose on Switzerland a new treaty binding it tightly into the EU. The swiss are resisting, at the very least trying to negotiate a less onerous treaty, even though they know they are literally surrounded...

    Is there no better argument for the EU that a claim that it is inevitable because countries small otherwise? Can you address the specific points I made in my previous post without resorting to it?
    You asked for an example of countries able to test cars, I gave it. Your answer about maintaining those tests is pointless because the EU as a body did not do effective tests: it was no better.
    France is not a small country, it can do any and every testing it requires. In fact I challenge you to find one, just one, state function that the french were technically or economically incapable managing alone and need the EU to do it.
    Several smaller countries can do so also. Others and pick and choose from among the many larger ones who they trust for each specific purpose. It is that freedom to choose that they give up in being members of the EU.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2019
  20. EnglishEdward

    EnglishEdward Deity

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    Regarding London, writing off the top of my head, without searchng the Internet, I can instantly identify at least 12 reasons:

    (1) The ordinary Africans in Africa who have their wealth stolen do not have a vote in the UK.

    (2) Too many of the elite intelligentsia, Bankers, Estate Agents, Lawyers, Property Developers etc all make a lot of money from it.

    (3) The inflo of money is sold as a positive benefit to the UK when it merely inflates property prices and helps maintain an over valued exchange rate.

    (4) Once you have run down UK manufacturing, many UK economists consider that the economy is reliant upon this type of inflo.

    (5) It is seen as creating jobs in the construction industry; it does create a few, albeit many are (below) minimum wage immigrants often sleeping rough.

    (6) Those who own property in and around London see prices rise, and in their bubble congratulate themselves on how smart they are.

    (7) UK has stringent libel laws, so referring to any particular African millionaires as corrupt is particularly risky.

    (8) Those who are priced out of owning property there, are the lower waged who have no influence.

    (9) Those who are critical of this; are labelled, as racists, xenophobes, fascists etc and intimidated into silence.

    (10) There is a false belief that that it does not matter if the UK becomes overpopulated as the rest of the world will always provide food, energy.

    (11) Londoners consider London to be a (sometimes the) world financial capital so it is logical that millionaires come to London.

    (12) Short-termism rules.

    One could replace "African money" with "Russian money", "Chinese money" etc.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2019

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