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 What the Mainlanders are saying

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PostSubject: Re: What the Mainlanders are saying   Mon Jun 23, 2008 7:23 pm

http://euobserver.com/9/26373 - interesting link

Poland says Lisbon is dead.

France is split 50-50 between Yes and No.
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PostSubject: Re: What the Mainlanders are saying   Mon Jun 23, 2008 7:31 pm

cactus flower wrote:
http://euobserver.com/9/26373 - interesting link

Poland says Lisbon is dead.

France is split 50-50 between Yes and No.

Jean-Claude Juncker was also speaking my kind of language at the EU summit at the weekend. To him, the Irish vote has the same importance as the French and Dutch rejections. The Luxembourg PM is a rock of sense.
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PostSubject: Re: What the Mainlanders are saying   Sat Jun 28, 2008 1:48 pm

Blogs List Link

This is a great site with a long list of blogs on Lisbon and the Irish No vote.

I'm also linking Jurgen Habermas's piece reproduced in the Irish Times today. No time to go into it in detail, but the bottom line seems to be the Irish vote was a vote for democracy and that the answer is to hold and EU wide referendum resulting in a two speed europe with a "strong nucleus".

http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,560549,00.html

Would this amount to the colonialisation of the smaller nations by the large?
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PostSubject: Re: What the Mainlanders are saying   Sat Jun 28, 2008 3:05 pm

cactus flower wrote:
Blogs List Link

This is a great site with a long list of blogs on Lisbon and the Irish No vote.

I'm also linking Jurgen Habermas's piece reproduced in the Irish Times today. No time to go into it in detail, but the bottom line seems to be the Irish vote was a vote for democracy and that the answer is to hold and EU wide referendum resulting in a two speed europe with a "strong nucleus".

http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,560549,00.html

Would this amount to the colonialisation of the smaller nations by the large?
I just read this in the Irish Times (which is free online from Monday - about time) and what a piece if you are inclined to an EU "reprogrammed according to a different, more citizen-based mode of politics". But yes he seems to be ultimately calling for things to be driven by the bigger ? faster ? states

Quote :
The European train has come a long way, despite allowing the slowest member to determine overall speed. But from now on that is the wrong tempo. Even German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble's proposal that Europeans be allowed to directly elect an EU president goes well beyond the timid Lisbon Treaty. The European Council should take the plunge and tie a referendum to European elections next year.

On the other hand there's these sentiments



Quote :
The failed referendums are a sign that, thanks to its own success, European unification has reached its limit. This can be overstepped only when the pro-Europe elites stop touting the virtues of parliamentary democracy as a way to avoid the messy business of actually listening to citizens.

A schism has opened up between the political decision-making powers that have been transferred to Brussels and Strasbourg on the one hand and the opportunities for democratic participation that have remained in the member states on the other.

There hasn't even been a debate on whether Europe going forward should stay parliamentary or deepen as a democratic entity and attempt to introduce some participatory elements and I find in this fact itself reason to reject it. Local televised debates and up-to-dates would have spread it to the furthest reaches of the EU - even youTube is perfectly set up already to bypass all the licencing and other technico-political shite that would hamper a local tv or radio station designed to promote debate in Europe on a Europe-wide scale among citizens.

Quote :
in the wake of the Irish signal, we should expect two things from our governments. They must admit that they have run out of ideas and they have to stop pretending that a debilitating lack of consensus does not exist. In the final analysis, the only path open is to let the populations of Europe decide.

This means that political parties would have to roll up their sleeves to ensure that Europe becomes a critical topic of debate across the continent.

It's worth a read if you believe in Democracy and note that the version in the Irish Times is, judging from the paragraphs above, much better translated that the Spiegel version.

And what his solution is isn't really outlined but I imagine he's heading for it to be built by citizens themselves so he doesn't know himself. Maybe

Quote :
the faded visions of former EC president Jacques Delors of a "social Europe" [could] become the object of serious political debate
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PostSubject: Re: What the Mainlanders are saying   Sat Jun 28, 2008 9:42 pm

Cactusflower asked me the following .

Why still support Lisbon if it is drafted and published in this intransparent way? To start, my support has been lukewarm. I've liked more of the content than I've disliked, and I would have liked to have gotten this institutional discussion out of the way.

Now, given this intransparent procedure and document, it is logical that few people would get a good overview of what the treaty meant, and even less would have trusted that overview. Calling this 'ignorance' misses the part of trust, and has negative connotations. The fact that many people voted against the treaty because they did not understand it can't be denied. I don't blame them.

As for the present, I hope that the treaty will be abandoned because I do not see a good way in which it could be carried through without the Irish.
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PostSubject: Re: What the Mainlanders are saying   Sat Jun 28, 2008 9:52 pm

(reposted)

Cactusflower asked me the following on my blog:

-----------
The idea that we voted No in Ireland out of ignorance is a falsehood spread by angry frustrated politicians. People refused to vote for a Treaty that was deliberately drawn up to be incomprehensible. No consolidated version was available from the EU - it was amendments of two Treaties and paragraph numbers were changed when different versions were published to make discussion impossible. EU heads were widely quoted admitting that it was the rejected Constitution in unreadable form.

The positive reasons for the No vote were anti-militarism, the lack of democracy in the EU and the removal of national democracy. Immigration was an issue for less than 1% - probably more on the Yes than the No side. The eurobarometer poll out last week showed that Irish people are the most pro-European people in Europe and welcome expansion.

We have have only had our votes in an independent Ireland for a short time and we are not inclined to use our votes casually to vote for something designed to fool us and to pass huge powers to an undemocratic elite.

As someone who voted No after weeks of reading and discussion, I ask readers to respect the Irish people's No vote and to support EU democracy and law whether you are from a EU country or a country who wants to join.

Do you want to be a member of the kind of EU that crushes Irish democracy in contravention of its own democratic rules? The Irish vote opens the door for a different kind of EU that is democratic, equal and social.
-----------

That last hope is the same that many Dutch and French voters had after they voted down the 'Constitution', which did not really play out.

The Council put forward consolidated versions of the treaties in early May. This, of course, was far too late. The entire strategy followed by the Council throughout the procedure - from drawing up the treaty to publishing it - was secretive and intransparent. Quite what they were thinking is hard to tell -- because of the secrecy. It is clear, though, that different countries wanted to sell different domestic narratives (it is the Constitution, it is not the Constitution), and were not interested in bringing points of discussion about the treaty out in the open. There was also a desire on point of the Germans to do things quickly and have a tightly managed procedure for drafting the treaty.

This has been clear for a long while, refer for instance to the posts On referenda and The Story of Lisbon and Treaty Consolidation (can't link right now)

Why still support Lisbon if it is drafted and published in this intransparent way? To start, my support has been lukewarm. I've liked more of the content than I've disliked, and I would have liked to have gotten this institutional discussion out of the way.

Now, given this intransparent procedure and document, it is logical that few people would get a good overview of what the treaty meant, and even less would have trusted that overview. Calling this 'ignorance' misses the part of trust, and has negative connotations. The fact that many people voted against the treaty because they did not understand it can't be denied. I don't blame them.

As for the present, I hope that the treaty will be abandoned because I do not see a good way in which it could be carried through without the Irish.
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PostSubject: Re: What the Mainlanders are saying   Sun Jun 29, 2008 12:05 am

Nanne wrote:
(reposted)

Cactusflower asked me the following on my blog:

-----------
The idea that we voted No in Ireland out of ignorance is a falsehood spread by angry frustrated politicians. People refused to vote for a Treaty that was deliberately drawn up to be incomprehensible. No consolidated version was available from the EU - it was amendments of two Treaties and paragraph numbers were changed when different versions were published to make discussion impossible. EU heads were widely quoted admitting that it was the rejected Constitution in unreadable form.

The positive reasons for the No vote were anti-militarism, the lack of democracy in the EU and the removal of national democracy. Immigration was an issue for less than 1% - probably more on the Yes than the No side. The eurobarometer poll out last week showed that Irish people are the most pro-European people in Europe and welcome expansion.

We have have only had our votes in an independent Ireland for a short time and we are not inclined to use our votes casually to vote for something designed to fool us and to pass huge powers to an undemocratic elite.

As someone who voted No after weeks of reading and discussion, I ask readers to respect the Irish people's No vote and to support EU democracy and law whether you are from a EU country or a country who wants to join.

Do you want to be a member of the kind of EU that crushes Irish democracy in contravention of its own democratic rules? The Irish vote opens the door for a different kind of EU that is democratic, equal and social.
-----------

That last hope is the same that many Dutch and French voters had after they voted down the 'Constitution', which did not really play out.

The Council put forward consolidated versions of the treaties in early May. This, of course, was far too late. The entire strategy followed by the Council throughout the procedure - from drawing up the treaty to publishing it - was secretive and intransparent. Quite what they were thinking is hard to tell -- because of the secrecy. It is clear, though, that different countries wanted to sell different domestic narratives (it is the Constitution, it is not the Constitution), and were not interested in bringing points of discussion about the treaty out in the open. There was also a desire on point of the Germans to do things quickly and have a tightly managed procedure for drafting the treaty.

This has been clear for a long while, refer for instance to the posts On referenda and The Story of Lisbon and Treaty Consolidation (can't link right now)

Why still support Lisbon if it is drafted and published in this intransparent way? To start, my support has been lukewarm. I've liked more of the content than I've disliked, and I would have liked to have gotten this institutional discussion out of the way.

Now, given this intransparent procedure and document, it is logical that few people would get a good overview of what the treaty meant, and even less would have trusted that overview. Calling this 'ignorance' misses the part of trust, and has negative connotations. The fact that many people voted against the treaty because they did not understand it can't be denied. I don't blame them.

As for the present, I hope that the treaty will be abandoned because I do not see a good way in which it could be carried through without the Irish.

Good to see you here Nanne. We have opened our "Europe" forum to guests to discuss the post Lisbon situation. If you would like to register (at your own discretion) Ard Taoiseach will be able to give you our more formal welcome.

Habermas's article was well taken apart by Auditor #9 I think. The irony I see in what Habermas wrote is that in the interests, he says, of the EU, the EU should be fragmented, with only a powerful nucleus having any real signficance. I think that while he thinks he is writing in favour, in fact he is writing against European unity.

You say that the Dutch and French No voters were looking for a more democratic EU. Over here the impression has been given that it was an anti-Turkish vote. There is no end to the almost comic misrepresentation of the reasons for us voting No, so I should not be surprised. If it was the former, then how can we make some alliances ?

Your description of how closed a process the writing of the Constitution and Treaty was is interesting. I was just reading an account of how there were thousands of amendments proposed at the Convention and not discussed - also Sinn Fein who were are only Party campaigning for a No vote were not allowed a place at the Convention.

The impression since the Referendum is that there is a rush of our elites - or Gaddarene swine - to abandon democracy in favour of some hoped-for power and wealth. They have the advantage of organisation and communication, whilst the rest of us mainly have strength only in numbers.
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PostSubject: Re: What the Mainlanders are saying   Sun Jun 29, 2008 12:25 am

cactus flower wrote:
I think that while he thinks he is writing in favour, in fact he is writing against European unity.

Are you allowed to outwit a German philosopher?
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PostSubject: Re: What the Mainlanders are saying   Sun Jun 29, 2008 12:31 am

arnaudherve wrote:
cactus flower wrote:
I think that while he thinks he is writing in favour, in fact he is writing against European unity.

Are you allowed to outwit a German philosopher?

I will have a go at Derrida too, if you like Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: What the Mainlanders are saying   Sun Jun 29, 2008 7:00 pm

The potential entry of Turkey was also an issue, but not for the majority of French and Dutch voters. Especially in France, there was a large percentage of the left who voted no because they hoped that the EU would become more open and social. There also was some of that on the left in the Netherlands. The upshot, of course, was that voting no does not give you a better EU, it gives you the same-old same-old EU (or in the case of the Dutch and French referenda, an even less open EU).

Not to say that there are no rational reasons to be hesitant about an expansion of power of the EU if you do not like its current functioning. But hoping that a no vote will change everything for the better is a bit unrealistic.

Now, the Dutch left party has organised the pan-Euroean 'spectrezine' site (google it) and there is also a collective called 'eurodusnie'. On the French side, I don't know the players.
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PostSubject: Re: What the Mainlanders are saying   Sun Jun 29, 2008 11:00 pm

Nanne wrote:
The potential entry of Turkey was also an issue, but not for the majority of French and Dutch voters. Especially in France, there was a large percentage of the left who voted no because they hoped that the EU would become more open and social. There also was some of that on the left in the Netherlands. The upshot, of course, was that voting no does not give you a better EU, it gives you the same-old same-old EU (or in the case of the Dutch and French referenda, an even less open EU).

Not to say that there are no rational reasons to be hesitant about an expansion of power of the EU if you do not like its current functioning. But hoping that a no vote will change everything for the better is a bit unrealistic.

Now, the Dutch left party has organised the pan-Euroean 'spectrezine' site (google it) and there is also a collective called 'eurodusnie'. On the French side, I don't know the players.

I agree that a No vote won't in itself solve anything, but it had a very clarifying effect. Vote Yes or eff off, was the message we got, after we gave the wrong answer. This was not a repetition of the Dutch and French "Nos" as there was a greater pretence of respecting those votes, but Ireland as a small country was clearly told that its "equal" position was not equal. Hopefull, all the other small countries in the EU will have taken note. Much play is made at the same time of how influential the Luxembourg Prime Minister is - so long as he says exactly what the larger states want to hear.

Ireland and other small states have given up its markets, and Ireland has given up its fisheries in exchange for the soon-to-be abolished CAP. We have the most expensive food in Europe although we are a food producing country. Our interest rates and currency were out of our control when our economy was overheating and Germany's needed a boost, so we had to live with interest rates at basement level. When there is a debate about public services our government goes running behind the cover of the EU. In exchange we have had some cash, some improved environmental regulation and access to the EU markets. All the same, the UK, always our main market remains our main market. In the long run, the small states in the EU are little fish to be eaten by the big ones.

Personally I'm not opposed to either intergovernmental or federal relationships in Europe, what I'm opposed to is the Commission and the Council - cabals in which our present and former Ministers make the law behind closed doors. The democratic reforms in the Lisbon Treaty in my opinion are just window dressing and don't go far enough to be effective. The only significant power is the Parliament's power in relation to appointment of the Commission, but that is unwieldy and can't in itself provide democracy. Losing the possibility of democratic controls, as competences are passed from national government to the EU, seems to me to be a pretty serious loss, and one that Irish people shouldn't be alone in opposing. I'll have a look at the websites, thanks very much for posting them. Which country are you posting from Nanne ?
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PostSubject: Re: What the Mainlanders are saying   Sun Jun 29, 2008 11:20 pm

cactus flower wrote:
Nanne wrote:
The potential entry of Turkey was also an issue, but not for the majority of French and Dutch voters. Especially in France, there was a large percentage of the left who voted no because they hoped that the EU would become more open and social. There also was some of that on the left in the Netherlands. The upshot, of course, was that voting no does not give you a better EU, it gives you the same-old same-old EU (or in the case of the Dutch and French referenda, an even less open EU).

Not to say that there are no rational reasons to be hesitant about an expansion of power of the EU if you do not like its current functioning. But hoping that a no vote will change everything for the better is a bit unrealistic.

Now, the Dutch left party has organised the pan-Euroean 'spectrezine' site (google it) and there is also a collective called 'eurodusnie'. On the French side, I don't know the players.

I agree that a No vote won't in itself solve anything, but it had a very clarifying effect. Vote Yes or eff off, was the message we got, after we gave the wrong answer. This was not a repetition of the Dutch and French "Nos" as there was a greater pretence of respecting those votes, but Ireland as a small country was clearly told that its "equal" position was not equal.

It's quite true - we're not. The EU has a purpose, which is to prevent the major European states from fighting each other. We've never been part of the problem the EU is the solution to - as someone said, we are not only peripheral to Europe, we are peripheral to the idea of Europe.

cactus flower wrote:
Hopefull, all the other small countries in the EU will have taken note. Much play is made at the same time of how influential the Luxembourg Prime Minister is - so long as he says exactly what the larger states want to hear.

Given the extent to which the small countries regarded Lisbon as a good deal, and how any renegotiations are likely to be on behalf of the large countries, we're not actually making friends and allies as you appear to assume.

cactus flower wrote:
Ireland and other small states have given up its markets,

In exchange for equal access to the much larger markets of the large countries.

cactus flower wrote:
and Ireland has given up its fisheries in exchange for the soon-to-be abolished CAP.

And got such a good deal out of doing so that it will be at least a century before the two balance out, if ever.

cactus flower wrote:
We have the most expensive food in Europe although we are a food producing country. Our interest rates and currency were out of our control when our economy was overheating and Germany's needed a boost, so we had to live with interest rates at basement level. When there is a debate about public services our government goes running behind the cover of the EU. In exchange we have had some cash, some improved environmental regulation and access to the EU markets. All the same, the UK, always our main market remains our main market. In the long run, the small states in the EU are little fish to be eaten by the big ones.

Rubbish. In the long run the small states are there to ride on the backs of the big ones. Look at the relative wealth of the smaller countries before and after the EU - the big countries show nothing like the improvements in standards of living that the small countries do.

cactus flower wrote:
Personally I'm not opposed to either intergovernmental or federal relationships in Europe, what I'm opposed to is the Commission and the Council - cabals in which our present and former Ministers make the law behind closed doors. The democratic reforms in the Lisbon Treaty in my opinion are just window dressing and don't go far enough to be effective. The only significant power is the Parliament's power in relation to appointment of the Commission, but that is unwieldy and can't in itself provide democracy. Losing the possibility of democratic controls, as competences are passed from national government to the EU, seems to me to be a pretty serious loss, and one that Irish people shouldn't be alone in opposing.

It is impossible to have an EU without that happening. Opposing it on principle is essentially saying that there should be no EU.
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PostSubject: Re: What the Mainlanders are saying   Sun Jun 29, 2008 11:29 pm

ibis wrote:


cactus flower wrote:
Personally I'm not opposed to either intergovernmental or federal relationships in Europe, what I'm opposed to is the Commission and the Council - cabals in which our present and former Ministers make the law behind closed doors. The democratic reforms in the Lisbon Treaty in my opinion are just window dressing and don't go far enough to be effective. The only significant power is the Parliament's power in relation to appointment of the Commission, but that is unwieldy and can't in itself provide democracy. Losing the possibility of democratic controls, as competences are passed from national government to the EU, seems to me to be a pretty serious loss, and one that Irish people shouldn't be alone in opposing.

It is impossible to have an EU without that happening. Opposing it on principle is essentially saying that there should be no EU.

Do you think it is not possible to have a greater level of democracy in the EU?
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PostSubject: Re: What the Mainlanders are saying   Sun Jun 29, 2008 11:43 pm

Ibis said
Quote :
Rubbish. In the long run the small states are there to ride on the backs of the big ones. Look at the relative wealth of the smaller countries before and after the EU - the big countries show nothing like the improvements in standards of living that the small countries do.

I would have thought it would have more to do with how poor the state was when it entered the EU. Poland has a very big population and it would be surprising if average incomes did not go up in a similar way to small countries who joined.

Why would the larger and more powerful states allow us to "ride on their backs"? You must think they are very charitably disposed. I don't think there are any free lunches on offer.
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PostSubject: Re: What the Mainlanders are saying   Mon Jun 30, 2008 12:00 am

cactus flower wrote:
Ibis said
Quote :
Rubbish. In the long run the small states are there to ride on the backs of the big ones. Look at the relative wealth of the smaller countries before and after the EU - the big countries show nothing like the improvements in standards of living that the small countries do.

I would have thought it would have more to do with how poor the state was when it entered the EU. Poland has a very big population and it would be surprising if average incomes did not go up in a similar way to small countries who joined.

Why would the larger and more powerful states allow us to "ride on their backs"? You must think they are very charitably disposed. I don't think there are any free lunches on offer.

The idea behind the EU is stability. Therefore, the apparent economic 'free lunches' come at the 'price' of political integration.
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PostSubject: Re: What the Mainlanders are saying   Mon Jun 30, 2008 12:03 am

ibis wrote:
cactus flower wrote:
Ibis said
Quote :
Rubbish. In the long run the small states are there to ride on the backs of the big ones. Look at the relative wealth of the smaller countries before and after the EU - the big countries show nothing like the improvements in standards of living that the small countries do.

I would have thought it would have more to do with how poor the state was when it entered the EU. Poland has a very big population and it would be surprising if average incomes did not go up in a similar way to small countries who joined.

Why would the larger and more powerful states allow us to "ride on their backs"? You must think they are very charitably disposed. I don't think there are any free lunches on offer.

The idea behind the EU is stability. Therefore, the apparent economic 'free lunches' come at the 'price' of political integration.

Like this ?

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PostSubject: Re: What the Mainlanders are saying   Mon Jun 30, 2008 12:27 am

cactus flower wrote:
ibis wrote:


cactus flower wrote:
Personally I'm not opposed to either intergovernmental or federal relationships in Europe, what I'm opposed to is the Commission and the Council - cabals in which our present and former Ministers make the law behind closed doors. The democratic reforms in the Lisbon Treaty in my opinion are just window dressing and don't go far enough to be effective. The only significant power is the Parliament's power in relation to appointment of the Commission, but that is unwieldy and can't in itself provide democracy. Losing the possibility of democratic controls, as competences are passed from national government to the EU, seems to me to be a pretty serious loss, and one that Irish people shouldn't be alone in opposing.

It is impossible to have an EU without that happening. Opposing it on principle is essentially saying that there should be no EU.

Do you think it is not possible to have a greater level of democracy in the EU?

Clearly it is - and, unlike you, I don't see the democratic changes in Lisbon as 'window dressing'.

The increase in EP power (both co-decision and budgetary oversight) is not window dressing - looked at in historical terms, it's the last but one shift in power on the road to a constitutional democracy (the last being parliamentary control over foreign policy, but the EU doesn't actually have that competence).

The 'red card' system for national parliaments to object to draft legislation is not window dressing either - to claim that it is, one must assume that all national parliaments and governments are supine with awe in the face of the Commission that they themselves appoint. Rather more immediately, it means that draft legislation is available to all parties in a parliament - Sinn Fein, the Greens, SWP (*), etc - making it enormously more difficult for the government to hide behind the claim that they had no choice.

Nor is the petition mechanism window dressing - I've pointed out before that we don't have a petition system here, so we tend to simply write it off as being the same as a charity or NGO petition. It isn't - petitions have a long history as a formal instrument in much of Europe, and this is such a system. There was a reason why a million and a half people thought it was worth signing up to the original petition to get such a mechanism into the EU.

I'm not convinced about the whole 'democratic deficit' - well, comparatively, at least. The EU has a lot more transparency than most national governments (that's not to say that they're not a long way from perfection), and is pretty solidly democratic even in itself - without even considering the fact that it is entirely under the control of democratically elected governments.
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PostSubject: Re: What the Mainlanders are saying   Mon Jun 30, 2008 12:29 am

cactus flower wrote:
ibis wrote:
cactus flower wrote:
Ibis said
Quote :
Rubbish. In the long run the small states are there to ride on the backs of the big ones. Look at the relative wealth of the smaller countries before and after the EU - the big countries show nothing like the improvements in standards of living that the small countries do.

I would have thought it would have more to do with how poor the state was when it entered the EU. Poland has a very big population and it would be surprising if average incomes did not go up in a similar way to small countries who joined.

Why would the larger and more powerful states allow us to "ride on their backs"? You must think they are very charitably disposed. I don't think there are any free lunches on offer.

The idea behind the EU is stability. Therefore, the apparent economic 'free lunches' come at the 'price' of political integration.

Like this ?

Actually, no. If you like, you could try making a case that the small countries have done badly out of the EU?
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PostSubject: Re: What the Mainlanders are saying   Mon Jun 30, 2008 11:35 am

ibis wrote:
cactus flower wrote:
ibis wrote:
cactus flower wrote:
Ibis said
Quote :
Rubbish. In the long run the small states are there to ride on the backs of the big ones. Look at the relative wealth of the smaller countries before and after the EU - the big countries show nothing like the improvements in standards of living that the small countries do.

I would have thought it would have more to do with how poor the state was when it entered the EU. Poland has a very big population and it would be surprising if average incomes did not go up in a similar way to small countries who joined.

Why would the larger and more powerful states allow us to "ride on their backs"? You must think they are very charitably disposed. I don't think there are any free lunches on offer.

The idea behind the EU is stability. Therefore, the apparent economic 'free lunches' come at the 'price' of political integration.

Like this ?

Actually, no. If you like, you could try making a case that the small countries have done badly out of the EU?

My understanding of Lisbon is that it is not about whether we "have done well out of Europe" (some Yes campaigners tried and failed to make out that that was relevant), but where the EU is going. The Referendum was our opportunity to vote on that. My point was that our vote has been dismissed on the basis that we are a small state. The ultimate logic of that would be that the biggest state will decided everything. Is that satisfactory?

btw I seem to have missed a post from you further back - I'll have a look and reply later.
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PostSubject: Re: What the Mainlanders are saying   Mon Jun 30, 2008 4:42 pm

cactus flower wrote:
ibis wrote:
Actually, no. If you like, you could try making a case that the small countries have done badly out of the EU?

My understanding of Lisbon is that it is not about whether we "have done well out of Europe" (some Yes campaigners tried and failed to make out that that was relevant), but where the EU is going. The Referendum was our opportunity to vote on that. My point was that our vote has been dismissed on the basis that we are a small state. The ultimate logic of that would be that the biggest state will decided everything. Is that satisfactory?

It seems reasonable to me that they can say "reform or get left behind". We don't have to reform, but the strength of commitment to reform is such that our objection can only be allowed to cover us, rather than stopping the whole process. Not, mind you, that this has even been put seriously forward.

It's also a completely different question from whether the EU is good for small countries. In operation, the EU is very good for small countries - thousands of times better than the treatment they would get in a Europe of competing nation-states. Indeed, the very fact that hardball tends to get played in matters of ratification should remind us of exactly that, because ratification of the EU treaties itself is not an internal EU process, but deal-making between the sovereign states as it would occur if there were no EU.

So, to throw it back into your court again - I think the EU as it stands has been very good for the smaller states, I think Lisbon was/is a good deal for the smaller states, and I'd like to see some kind of backing for your statement that the smaller states are only in the EU as lunch food for the bigger states, because frankly I think it's an emotive claim with no grounding whatsoever in reality.
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PostSubject: Re: What the Mainlanders are saying   Mon Jun 30, 2008 4:54 pm

ibis wrote:
cactus flower wrote:
ibis wrote:
Rubbish. In the long run the small states are there to ride on the backs of the big ones. Look at the relative wealth of the smaller countries before and after the EU - the big countries show nothing like the improvements in standards of living that the small countries do.

I would have thought it would have more to do with how poor the state was when it entered the EU. Poland has a very big population and it would be surprising if average incomes did not go up in a similar way to small countries who joined.

Why would the larger and more powerful states allow us to "ride on their backs"? You must think they are very charitably disposed. I don't think there are any free lunches on offer.

The idea behind the EU is stability. Therefore, the apparent economic 'free lunches' come at the 'price' of political integration.
This could make an interesting argument in itself (as sub-threads don't seem to survive here, maybe it's worth trying to continue it quote-within-quote on this thread).

What have smaller states got out of Europe and Europe out of them? The question presumes a core and peripheral Europe and this used to be the case - the origin of the Union arose in an atmosphere of war-prevention which has been a success between the WWI and WWII warring factions - the UK, France, Italy and Germany now war in boardrooms over CAP agreements it seems and budget deficit allowances etc. so could it be stated that one of the original purposes of the EU has been put to bed?

After that, the fruits of integration and peace dividend accruing from sustained peace, serves to benefit neighbouring countries which integration itself can result in increased benefits for the core or original or donating members - thus Germans can now have a familiar currency from Andalucia to Donegal to easternmost Greece and this was achieved via the encouragement to maintain good economic managagement. I don't know how well Ireland will manage in the long term now that it is supposedly good at "putting in place" those practical economic management prescriptions that the Germans themselves might actually be way too good at keeping their budget deficit down (11.9 billion in 2008, 10.5 billion in 2009) leaving them the problem of fulfilling some congenital need they seem to have to make sensible investments with the gain they have reaped from prior sensible investments.

Is this German need a reality because I believe it is. Why else would some of them be disturbed that a small country like Ireland should have a low corporation rate? They tend to see the thing we are living in as a system that can be tuned rather than what it is - a conglomeration of very diverse, voluntarily participating countries and economies, some of whom now seem to be resisting homogenisation (unlike the milk).

Maybe I'm off the ball with the German propensities but on the other hand I'd welcome more feedback by Brussels on what our elected Government does with its economy and wealth - I'm not a fan of Fianna Fail nor Fine Gael and I'd argue that they (well, FF) have mismanaged our economy in some ways and wonder why there hasn't been more input from the EU institutions or why it isn't becoming more institutional that our local actions aren't scrutinised by the EU and open debates between the parties here and those in Brussels and whereever aren't more prevalent. (maybe they are though What a Face)

I just saw your post ibis - do you think the Lisbon Treaty provides for this above in terms of our country "reforming" which I think it needs to - if so, how? if you could illuminate in some ways (directives ? do our ministers get whacked with a big stick when they don't implement something - I know they do. Maybe my question is this: how do we get this political culture integrated with ours so that people in pubs are eventually talking as much about European directives as they are about FG and FF?)
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PostSubject: Re: What the Mainlanders are saying   Tue Jul 01, 2008 11:06 am

Polish president refuses to sign the treaty. He speaks of the need to protect smaller nations:

http://euobserver.com/9/26424

German president announces he at least delays signature.

Both positions are honorific, but their signatures are required. Czech declaration is expected.
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PostSubject: Re: What the Mainlanders are saying   Tue Jul 01, 2008 11:39 am

With Sarkozy / France taking over the EU Presidency from today this is an interesting look at German - French tensions within the EU.
http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/3357

The writer thinks the German courts may again advise against ratification of the Lisbon Treaty as they did in the same situation in relation to the Constitution after the French and Dutch No votes.
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PostSubject: Re: What the Mainlanders are saying   Tue Jul 01, 2008 12:00 pm

Anyone got a report of the CAUEC meeting?
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PostSubject: Re: What the Mainlanders are saying   Tue Jul 01, 2008 4:41 pm

arnaudherve wrote:
Polish president refuses to sign the treaty. He speaks of the need to protect smaller nations:

Which is a piece of complete posturing, since he is actually doing it to protect the current system which over-represents Poland...who are not a small country.
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