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The European Project: the future of the EU.

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

  1. Hrothbern

    Hrothbern Warlord

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    Yeah
    I think those countries that not only want to derail it, but also use their veto, will only catalyse the structural change coming anyway, to have a big subset of kind of decisions that cannot be veto-ed by just one or a few members.
    Not the current veto by one, not a simple majority of the Council. But something must be done... had already to be done when the number of members increased so much with East Europe.
    Anything to do with gross neglectance, abuse, etc of the rule of law, freedom of the press, corruption, etc, etc will imo have to come in that subset. And international sanctions as well as enforcing tool of the the former.

    In many ways everything changed when China started exporting massively up to high level goods distorting the global trade balance and our global order became multipolar with the moving realities of Russia and the US.

    Better a couple of bloody noses on the short term in the EU than continuing the quack approach that worked during the Pax Americana.
     
  2. Hrothbern

    Hrothbern Warlord

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    If you manoeuvre yourself in a too tight spot... others can take and use the room you left open... or at least disconnect you from that bigger manoeuvring room.

    Chess is a nice game to learn that... I guess military tactics recognise it as well.
     
  3. Hrothbern

    Hrothbern Warlord

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    The Big Five of Silicon Valley further under rule of law siege of the EU

    2016 a €13 Billion tax fine for Apple
    2017 a €2.4 Billion anti-trust fine for Google
    2018 a €4.3 Billion anti-trust fine for Google


    Trump is doing nothing on the issues with the big five, except accusing the person in charge in the EU of taxing them as "your tax lady, who hates America"

    But California did move and so are more in the US:
    And Europe moves on with Germany, France and other members as countries moving ahead of the EU as a whole to keep up momentum:
     
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  4. Hrothbern

    Hrothbern Warlord

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    Always happy with news like this:
     
  5. Patine

    Patine Warlord

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    Ah, yes. I still remember hearing about the great victory of the United Progressive Party in Antigua and Barbuda in 2004 when they toppled the Antiguan Labour Party, whose leaders had all belonged to the Bird Family (Vere Bird, sr., Lester Bird, and Vere Bird, jr.) and had dominated Antiguan government by large margins since independence in the 1960's. The ALP and the Bird Family were horribly corrupt, and blatantly so, and everyone knew it. The UPP had a campaign slogan of transparency called "Government in the Sunshine" (a very good one for a Caribbean Island country). After two terms in government of bungling and incompetence, the ALP were back in power by 2014.

    Let's see how Slovakia fairs. ;)
     
  6. REDY

    REDY Duty Caller

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    Slovakia already have a liberal president without political career. And Šefčovic is proeuropean liberal too, while he will probably try to deny it in the 2 weeks to get votes of unsuccesful candidates. While their electorate is much more conservative than Czech, their approach towards presidentials is much healthier. They vote somebody to represent slovakia in the world, to show that Slovakia is part of Europe. It doesnt say much about possible change in parliament though.
     
  7. Patine

    Patine Warlord

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    It's better than the American system to the south of me (here in Canada), where a given President only EVER represents roughly half the population, give or take, and never really bothers to seriously or sincerely bridge the other half anymore, and stupid policies and blunders can lead to low approval ratings and alienation of demographics and political camps within their half, and that representation can sink even further at times.
     
  8. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Alien spiral maker

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    There's no future; and england (and the eu) is dreaming.
     
  9. innonimatu

    innonimatu Warlord

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    The problem is that our world order is nor really multipolar yet. I was about to answer @Akka on another thread, but this is a better place for such an answer. He is right, I do have a problem with imperialisms, they are not compatible with democracy. Neither for the people ruled by the empire, nor for the people in the imperial centre (see the US' sad situation with its politics, or Israel's, despite having started out as functioning democracies*).

    And I sympathize with wishes for an Europe that can stand up to the great powers of the world, as much as I do for any country being able to stand up. In theory it wouldn't have to become some empire. But I very much fear it will be if it can somehow be successful at that. It is the nature of that game, and Africa is so weak that it is a natural prey just waiting. There's a high risk on this side.

    The other side of the balance, the possible benefits, the US is and will remain for some decades just too powerful for any benefits to be had from moving that way now. This is an interesting recent OP on the subject. They will not let the EU organize as a competitor. Now the have been turning against China, but they will as easily turn against a federal EU if it starts looking like a threat to their hegemony. And they will win that conflict, because that EU will be too weak and too internally fractured to stand up successfully to their full hostility. Better to let them and the chinese have their new cold way, europeans can play it as the swiss did in european politics when Europe was having its wars and conflicts.

    This path the EU is already in, we in Europe are already trading our relative political freedom for imperial internal political dysfunctions, and for what? In the pursuit of a fool's errand, more influence in the world. We are not threatened, unless we count the occasional irritating difficulty that can be circumvented (Iran sanctions, companies that do not care for american deals can break them). We will be threatened if we get into big power politics in a fight for world hegemony. The american empire, or the chinese empire that some predict, may as well fall for internal reasons, or in a conflict with some other. Why must an european block organize to contend them as a world player? We can stick to a defensive posture and still improve our corner of the world, without the costs of playing at dominating others. So I am a "little european" I guess...


    * (although genocidal towards excluded natives, but that's another issue)
     
  10. Akka

    Akka Moody old mage.

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    Bullcrap, you have no problem loudly supporting authoritarian and repressive dictatorships like Assad or Ghaddafi or Putin when their only virtue is that they are "on the other side".
    Democracy is certainly not your core concern - your real motivation is just nationalism, plain and simple. Seems to me you just built your entire twisted worldview to find a way to justify your positions to yourself.

    Basically you're exactly what you hate, you just aren't part of a country that is ABLE to project any kind of imperialism so you're afraid of being victim of it and you lash out at anything that you perceive as such a threat - which can explain why you lambast ACTUAL FUNCTIONING democracies and support war-waging dictatorship killing their own citizen, all hidden under a loud claim of "democracy".
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2019
  11. Hrothbern

    Hrothbern Warlord

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    My perception of the not so visible, not so explicitly defined long term grand strategy of the EU, is that they want to defend with a cultural wall what they have, in terms of human rights, social wellfare, etc, with "enough" global trading partners, for "enough" economical and cultural standards scale size.
    That "enough" is important long term because China, India and later Indonesia will become formidable big economies once at the western GDP per Capita level. Each of them bigger than the US and EU added up together.
    Basically an isolationist strategy by the EU, where trade to "WTO-others", outside the EU and comprehensive EU-FTA trading partners, by way of NTBs from EU-standards, is used as encouragement to develop in that direction of standards, a kind of behind the lines defense.

    In how far the US, China, India, Indonesia, UK, other trading blocks (like CPTPP, Russia+, like in Africa, like should happen in Latin-America, etc), go more isolationist or not is up to them.
    In how far they will like what the EU does in alligning trade to culture, and in how far the comprehensive EU-FTA trading partners find strenght for their own societal values, is also up to them.

    It is a bit unfortunate that exactly in the period that everybody and his dog is building trading blocks to protect as "big enough" group behind increasingly strong trading walls !!!... that the UK goes, driven by politics, for now to a stand alone position.
     
  12. innonimatu

    innonimatu Warlord

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    If you want my guess, Indonesia won't, it suffers from some of India's difficulties but in a way more severe way: internal divisions and the costs associated while trying to control all that territory centrally, as a single country.

    I was thinking about how in the end the rationalization for creating big states always comes to the justification of the "need for size, for defense". It strikes me as ironing that the effective (if never stated) justification for turning the EEC into the EU and attempting to create a federal state, in imitation of the USA, was that european countries were too small to stand up to the US in its post cold-war hegemonic moment.
    While, over two centuries previously, the justification for creating the USA, dissolving the original articles of confederation and creating a federation as a single country there, was that the new american states were too small to stand up to the great european colonial powers and had to get together to face them and protect their independence.
    In India too, the post-colonial power in New Delhi got away with using force to create a centralized country because "it had to be big to have its place in the world". The indians might very well be better off in a number of separate independent countries, but post-colonial "need for strength" put that option way. Kashmir was invaded and cut in two, Pakistan and India went on to have a number of wars... for what? Russia is bent on reacquiring its old empire, also because of politics, because "defense of the motherland require it". China annexed Tibet because "defense needs" and prestige, more than anything else. And I could go on with the Biafra War and many other examples going further back. Was colonialism not also about gaining critical size, "not being left behind by rivals"?

    So this "we must create a big state" thing just goes round and round, one justifies the creation and the existence of the other. If a person accepts this reason as valid, then big and bigger states are inevitable, it is a kind of arms race, a curse forever plaguing humanity.
    Regarding this kind of think, I just refuse to play the game. Is there a risk of being "bullied" as a small state? Sure. I'm willing to deal with that risk and refuse to play this game of large states.

    This bloody game is stupid. People must break with it.

    One think I initially hated as a gamer in the game Europa Universalis but later came to appreciate very much for its realism, was the inverse relation between size on one hand and stability and capacity for investing on progress on the other. Because even though it hampers that nice empire-building that a player tends to go for, it's realistic: small states are more efficient in addressing their needs. And international cooperation is possible, has been done and was going string in the Europe pre-EU. There was nothing wrong with the EEC's idea but those who would create a federal europe just couldn't be content with that.

    Interesting how the games a great power played shaped so much what was sold to the public as a counter to that great power. The real net beneficiaries of the creation of the EU have been big transnational corporations, as a "more open" legal framework for national economies was in fact the result of a joint Brussels-Washington policy consensus spread by the joint political and economic influence of these two blocks around the world. With one side having gone to the help of the other several times. Lastly with the Euro being saved by the Fed. This makes the public justification for the need of an EU (defending Europe's independent models of political economy and society) void. So far at least it has not been about that, it has been about transatlantic alignment, and the forceful "harmonization" of different european models.
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2019
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  13. Hrothbern

    Hrothbern Warlord

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    That's the period where De Gaulle, no friend of the US, did everything he could to prevent a federal Europe, to deny the UK, that "perfidious Albion" and vassal of the US, access to the EU.
    It's also the period that the US foreign policy was meddling everywhere in foreign domestic poltics at a scale and with means, much bigger than Russia interfering now.
    Realpolitik of the cold war and a new global empire, the US. Nothing spectactular as well. Even in unimportant small countries, like NL, the US foreign affairs was quite active, from legal to confdidential to illegal.
    But just as Steve Bannon has found out with trying to ally with populist parties for the coming EU elections, Europe is like the Balkan, many countries happy with aid, but to proud to really accept real foreign interference.

    I do not think there is currently or within the next decades a real support for a federal Europe in the EU. Not from the majority of the people, not from the majority of the political elites and civil society.
    Free movement of citizens, from raised here, educated there, living where you choose to live and work, commuting cross-border without all kinds of misfits of regulations, taxes, benefits.... that's what people want. But that does not need a federal EU government.
    There are people happy to merge now into a federal Europe. Fine for me. It helps the European dream.
    There are also politicians and movements vocal and visionary about a federal Europe. Despite a marginal support !
    And my question to them is why ? and why NOW ?
    Macron is one. Varoufakis another.
    If they want for example a federal Europe to get better equality between the countries of the EU... let them say that openly !
    Let them argument why more country equality on the shorter term is necessary and how that would be realised in a federal EU. That allows other people to share the issue and come with their solutions. Have the full discussion.
    And not force the structure first and then force the unspoken consequences. That's an authoritarian recipe that will not work and will have a counter productive effect.

    And I come back on my Europe of Regions (of 10-20 Mio each) and away from federal..
    If we have no good understanding and no effective policies to handle Regional inequality within countries, why would improving Regional equality work better in a federal structure of states the size of the former countries ?
    And if we have some understanding of the issue and the solution... and are not able within the cohesion of a country to have a more public discussion about it !!!
    Why would that discussion suddenly go better when we shifted the hot potato issue upward to Brussels ???

    "Small is beautiful", the old hippie slogan.
    We have in NL 17 million people, in 12 provinces, in 355 municipalities (of in average 48,000 people). The provinces have a coordinating role for topics that affect several municipalities (infra structure etc) and a scale role for specialist functions too big for municipalities (universities, specialist hospitals, etc). Around 50,000 people a nice size. If you a are politician, you should be able to know everything and be accessable for everyone.
    The basic principle of governing here in NL is: pump everything possible "down" from the central government to the municipalities, unless the economy of scale effects start hurting too much. In that program, we had to increase the scale size of municipalities, and that process is still going on. In Amsterdam (850,000 pop) we experimented with splitting in 16 parts first, but we merged back to 7 parts.
    That pumping down is a continuous process reacting to new techs needing smaller economies of scale to be efficient enough. Continuous, not only because such changes need to be executed slowly to prevent disruptions, but also because you have to adapt, to utilise the changing techs available. Just like with home office working made possible by electronical communication, there is a lessening need for civil servants sitting together in one big building in a capital. Government departments software programs being used at municipality level allow enough auditing control on broad general policies from the central government => enabling local political control within that freedom to adapt better to local needs.
    Note: pumping taxes down is a bad idea. When you do that the equality between municipalities will go down rapidly.

    In my vision pumping down "too much" to get a better happiness from smaller scale self-determination, at the expense of some efficiency of money, is the way to go.
    Local self determination is good.
    Recognising what interactions you need horizontally and what tasks & responsibilities have how much scale size effects, is fundamentally important for allocating your functions.
    The measure sticks money & happiness. The Top measure stick sustainable happiness.

    As you see I like the bottom up approach, the from internal goals to external consequences in beneficial needs and obligations back. The current EU fits very well.

    The point you mention as weak, the resistance against a growing global, corporate and financial power, is not unrelated, but imo also not caused by the EU, or made weaker by the EU. The national political parties dominate the scene for national interests. Those national interests are imo bigger breaches in the wall than the top-level Brussels players. Enough unity to be less outplayed an improvement. A federal Europe would make us more vulnerable.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2019
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  14. innonimatu

    innonimatu Warlord

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    I understand you are also wary of these desires for a federal state. But it was part of the original idea, as far back as the Schuman Declaration:

    De Gaulle certainly opposed Schuman and Monet, and these two had a history of deluded plans (the Franco-British Union...) and running to Washington and London for support. Monet in particular was from the start a international business creature, and the present EU is imo very much in the path he wished, only late.

    And more inept, I guess. In today's news EU says Italy's slower growth might trigger spending freeze:

    Because cutting government spending during crisis is so good for the economy... and the italians will love to hear it again.

    The EU should make sure to remind them also about how good for the economy the Euro is. And the Common Market. And the EU imposed policies, and the EU-supported (not to say appointed) governments they had in the past few years.
    Any tell them that all problems in Italy during these past 20 years must, by elimination of possible causes, be due to the inferior breed of inhabitants of the country... :rolleyes:

    I really think that some idiot in Brussels may go as far as saying that.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2019
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  15. Patine

    Patine Warlord

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    That was one of Herbert Hoover's "solutions" to the Great Depression - and look at his awesome electoral results in 1932. :S
     
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  16. FriendlyFire

    FriendlyFire Codex WMDicanious

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    The Italy north / south divide existed a long long time before the EU

    Yeah the EU lead by Germany made the wrong call on this, but Germans savers meant that domestically it would have been political suicide to do any Stimulus
    Plus I doubt Stimulus of (IIRC) 3% over ten years will do anything for Italy, Greece or Spain economy which were running deficits every year
     
  17. Hrothbern

    Hrothbern Warlord

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    If a rich country like Germany would have the same money extraction as Italy from corruption, Germany would not be that shining anymore.

    Having every year 5% of GDP money extraction from the public is a lot.
    The other flow, the other money extraction, is the interest paid on government bonds. Italy paid in 2016 more than 60 Billion Euro, or 3.5% of GDP yearly on Government debt. Germany paid 25 Billion Euro, or 0.7% of GDP.

    At values of 0% and 5% for corruption...
    That would total to a difference of 7.7% of GDP of yearly money extraction for Italy compared to Germany.

    The "kind of armistice" Berlusconi made with the mafia... well... perhaps understandable... but it is very expensive.

    EDIT
    On those low GDP regions... that north-south difference...
    It was always the case since medieval time already, since heavy industry and mass textile manufacturing increasing, since post WW2 increasing, since international trade with for example cheap China imports stronger increasing.
    Companies are founded, new techs are industrialised, where the music is. In Italy that is Lombardy or simply the North, and ofc around Rome because of history and the civil servants of the central government.
    Italy has at least a thriving economy in the North, but the concentration needed for that, the intensive clustering, prevents business emerging in the south. The North exports to the South for its own economy.

    Here a big study of the OECD
    Page 86 on that concentration effect and a bit on the China effect.
    https://read.oecd-ilibrary.org/econ...me-2017-issue-1_eco_outlook-v2017-1-en#page86

    As government you can counter that if you have real heaps of money
    either by investing in complete big enough clusters in the south (oops and that between all that mafia)
    or by concentrating your population towards the existing economical clusters, with big housing projects and grants, subsidies to high end activities (oops that is going to cost too many votes)

    Both ways start with freeing up that money now flowing away to money extraction.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2019
  18. Akka

    Akka Moody old mage.

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    60 billions being 3,5 % of GDP would put Italy GDP at less than 200 billions. It's more than ten times higher. You're probably confusing GDP with national budget.
     
  19. Hrothbern

    Hrothbern Warlord

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    Italy GDP in 2016 is 1,681 Billion Euro. That 60 Billion Euro interests paid divided by 1,681 Billion is 3.5%
    => % GDP, not govt budget.
     
  20. Akka

    Akka Moody old mage.

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    Meh, I'm an idiot who missed a zero. Gawd. Good thing that's my computer who does the calculations and not me.
     
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