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 What the Mainlanders are saying

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PostSubject: Re: What the Mainlanders are saying   Tue Jul 01, 2008 4:48 pm

ibis wrote:
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.

A politician with a dodgy agenda. Now there's a surprise. Shocked
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PostSubject: Re: What the Mainlanders are saying   Wed Jul 02, 2008 5:13 pm

On hearing about Poland's ratification hiccup Sarkozy's reaction yesterdat was "Poland is a really big big country. We can't do without Poland in the EU". And Ibis is telling us that size doesn't matter?
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PostSubject: Re: What the Mainlanders are saying   Wed Jul 02, 2008 6:32 pm

He was pandering to them. Turkey's a big country too.
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PostSubject: Re: What the Mainlanders are saying   Wed Jul 02, 2008 9:44 pm

cactus flower wrote:
On hearing about Poland's ratification hiccup Sarkozy's reaction yesterdat was "Poland is a really big big country. We can't do without Poland in the EU". And Ibis is telling us that size doesn't matter?

What? I haven't said anything of the kind! I've pointed out that the EU is a system that makes the small European countries much more equal to the large countries than they would be in a Europe of sovereign countries. That is certainly true, and no amount of nationalistic posturing or suspicion changes that.

Those rules, however, apply to the operation of the EU - and the treaties establishing the EU are not really part of the operation of the EU. They are negotiated between sovereign countries, and are something of a reminder of how Europe would work without the EU, albeit much softened by EU habits.

Poland is potentially a large economy, and if Poland is outside the EU, it will naturally fall into Russian orbit. Neither of those things are true of Ireland. On a realpolitik level (which is what happens outwith the EU) we are negligible, without any realistic choice except being an EU satellite state.
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PostSubject: Re: What the Mainlanders are saying   Thu Jul 03, 2008 1:24 am

ibis wrote:

Poland is potentially a large economy, and if Poland is outside the EU, it will naturally fall into Russian orbit. Neither of those things are true of Ireland. On a realpolitik level (which is what happens outwith the EU) we are negligible, without any realistic choice except being an EU satellite state.
Natural my arse. Far more likely they would strive to become like Japan, a country that maintains a balance between two different spheres. But it would be a hard sell. They might end up like Ukraine, caught between the two.
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PostSubject: Re: What the Mainlanders are saying   Thu Jul 03, 2008 1:43 am

As far as I can see they are so blindly caught in their national history that they will cause trouble for us, by attempting to destabilize Ukraine, Bielorussia...

By accepting the Poles we imported potential conflict with Russia.
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PostSubject: Re: What the Mainlanders are saying   Thu Jul 03, 2008 1:57 am

arnaudherve wrote:
As far as I can see they are so blindly caught in their national history that they will cause trouble for us, by attempting to destabilize Ukraine, Bielorussia...

By accepting the Poles we imported potential conflict with Russia.
We imported that problem with East Germany. The Balkan states are as likely to cause trouble as Poland. Also you forget the benefits these people bring us. The EU hasn't a great track record on confronting the Russians, but now we have a lot of people with experience. As to whether it is too much experience, time will tell, but I don't think so.

Ukraine is unstable anyway. Belarus isn't going anywhere for the moment.

It has to be asked though, just how representative are the potatoe head twins of Poland? It's easy to dismiss them as has-beens and clowns but they were both elected and Tusk shifted in their direction before he was elected.
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PostSubject: Re: What the Mainlanders are saying   Fri Jul 04, 2008 9:53 pm

Some greetings from abroad. I'm not sure you will like them all, but it's worth noticing:

http://www.teameurope.info/

Most of them are a bit awkward or pathetic, but you could also label them as touchingly naive. Of course it doesn't say a thing about representativity either.
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PostSubject: Re: What the Mainlanders are saying   Sat Jul 05, 2008 12:23 am

arnaudherve wrote:
Some greetings from abroad. I'm not sure you will like them all, but it's worth noticing:

http://www.teameurope.info/

Most of them are a bit awkward or pathetic, but you could also label them as touchingly naive. Of course it doesn't say a thing about representativity either.

Indeed not, given the site that's promoting them. Mind you, I don't doubt there's plenty of people willing to say thank you to Ireland - even 10% of 500 million is 50 million, which is a lot of thank-yous (nearly 60 each for every No voter!) while still being very much a minority.
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PostSubject: Re: What the Mainlanders are saying   Sun Jul 06, 2008 5:37 pm

There are also several groups on Facebook supporting the Irish No vote, but they suck so much that I'm not even giving the links.

There is in particular one of your compatriots who calls himself Billy Dukelow, and who appears so blunt that he looks like an English football supporter.
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PostSubject: Re: What the Mainlanders are saying   Mon Jul 07, 2008 12:12 am

Don't rub it in arnaudherve, it took steely resolve to vote alongside some of the ne'er do wells who campaigned for a No.
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PostSubject: Re: What the Mainlanders are saying   Mon Jul 07, 2008 12:20 am

cactus flower wrote:
Don't rub it in arnaudherve, it took steely resolve to vote alongside some of the ne'er do wells who campaigned for a No.

Here, here! (or is it Hear, Hear?) Anyway...
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PostSubject: Re: What the Mainlanders are saying   Mon Jul 07, 2008 12:23 am

Kate P wrote:
cactus flower wrote:
Don't rub it in arnaudherve, it took steely resolve to vote alongside some of the ne'er do wells who campaigned for a No.

Here, here! (or is it Hear, Hear?) Anyway...

Hear, hear; my dear. Wink
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PostSubject: Re: What the Mainlanders are saying   Mon Jul 07, 2008 12:48 am

Wakarimashita. Understood.
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PostSubject: Re: What the Mainlanders are saying   Tue Jul 08, 2008 6:42 pm

A contribution from a Swedish Greens MP.

http://www.globalaffairs.es/Noticia-349.html
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PostSubject: Re: What the Mainlanders are saying   Tue Jul 08, 2008 7:25 pm

arnaudherve wrote:
A contribution from a Swedish Greens MP.


http://www.globalaffairs.es/Noticia-349.html

That is interesting arnaudhervé - The idea that the political establishment is in some important instances a minority is almost a contradiction in terms in a democratic system.

I think there is evidence already that France proposes to try to achieve its post-Lisbon agenda unchanged without passing Lisbon. Both the immigration and military proposals launched in the last few days are surely exactly what Lisbon was intended to authorise?

Is Sarkozy going beyond the confines of previous Treaties or do they give him all the powers needed to act as though the Reform Treaty had been passed?

Quote :
The step-by-step model

We cannot be sure that EU would dare to repeat the same tricks again. It is more likely that large parts of the Lisbon Treaty will be implemented by numerous minor changes in the present treaty rather than by rewriting the Lisbon Treaty and risking new referendums. Those parts of the Lisbon Treaty that cannot be carried through in this way can be smuggled in via a new accession treaty with Croatia - Plan C for Croatia.

This is unfortunately a likely scenario, but it will expose EU total lack of democratic legitimacy. The EU constitution has fallen twice. It is high time it was left in peace.

The need for a new Convention

What should be done instead is to appoint a new Convention that, without any preconditions, could work out a brand new proposal for how EU is to be governed, what tasks shall be assigned to it and how the competences shall be distributed between the EU and the member states. Of course every member country shall have a referendum about this proposal. And the Convention shall consist of people with independent ideas about European questions; unlike the previous Convention it shall be made up of ordinary people instead of elderly politicians with strong inclinations to constructing the United States of Europe.


Max Andersson,
MP for the Swedish Green Party and member of the TEAM Board
http://www.maxandersson.blogspot.com/
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PostSubject: Re: What the Mainlanders are saying   Wed Jul 09, 2008 3:20 am

cactus flower wrote:
arnaudherve wrote:
A contribution from a Swedish Greens MP.


http://www.globalaffairs.es/Noticia-349.html

That is interesting arnaudhervé - The idea that the political establishment is in some important instances a minority is almost a contradiction in terms in a democratic system.

I think there is evidence already that France proposes to try to achieve its post-Lisbon agenda unchanged without passing Lisbon. Both the immigration and military proposals launched in the last few days are surely exactly what Lisbon was intended to authorise?

Is Sarkozy going beyond the confines of previous Treaties or do they give him all the powers needed to act as though the Reform Treaty had been passed?

It was pointed out at the time that Lisbon had little bearing on the possibility of many proposals that were raised up as bogeymen. What you are seeing now is simply the demonstration of that truth - Lisbon was not an enabling act for French fantasies, but an institutional redesign.
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PostSubject: Re: What the Mainlanders are saying   Wed Jul 09, 2008 10:06 am

ibis wrote:
cactus flower wrote:
arnaudherve wrote:
A contribution from a Swedish Greens MP.


http://www.globalaffairs.es/Noticia-349.html

That is interesting arnaudhervé - The idea that the political establishment is in some important instances a minority is almost a contradiction in terms in a democratic system.

I think there is evidence already that France proposes to try to achieve its post-Lisbon agenda unchanged without passing Lisbon. Both the immigration and military proposals launched in the last few days are surely exactly what Lisbon was intended to authorise?

Is Sarkozy going beyond the confines of previous Treaties or do they give him all the powers needed to act as though the Reform Treaty had been passed?

It was pointed out at the time that Lisbon had little bearing on the possibility of many proposals that were raised up as bogeymen. What you are seeing now is simply the demonstration of that truth - Lisbon was not an enabling act for French fantasies, but an institutional redesign.

I believe I posted before the Referendum to the effect that existing Treaties were broad enough to allow for most of what was being discussed - "energy security", a military EU, strong borders, climate change and so on. This was not what the pro-Treaty campaign was saying before the Referendum. Can you put your hand on your heart Ibis and say that the Yes campaign didn't tell us amongst other things that the Treaty was essential so that the "French fantasies" could be carried out?

Nonetheless, I agree that much of Lisbon was only a clearer statement of what was already possible and intended. Which begs the question of why have a Treaty at all that goes beyond the Institutional changes?

One answer goes back to Laeken and the consensus that a very serious gap had opened up between people and politicians on the whole EU project. A sticking plaster of some kind was needed politically so that it could be said that the EU had listened to citizens and had reformed. In that sense the Treaty was intended to serve as a legitimising function to paste over the gap by allowing politicians to say that they had fulfilled the spirit of Laeken whilst in fact running in most respects in the opposite direction.

If the Reform Treaty was not needed for the "action plan" elements and was essential only for institutional adaptation to enlargement, why weren't the "essentials" put forward when we voted for enlargement? An increase in the number of Commissioners post expansion hardly came as a surprise. Plus there seems to be general agreement that the institutions are operating better than before enlargement.

This leaves us with the main thing being that the Treaty establishes the EU as a new legal entity of which we would all be citizens, with our without opt-outs and declarations, fast or slow tracks. This is a critical change from intergovernmentalism to federalism. The Reform Treaty even down to its name is a pretty good job at obscuring that fact.

To make a change like this without a consensus is a hasty, peremptory, impatient and unstable approach, driven by the realpolitik of a rapidly changing world, particularly with regard to oil supply. France's imminent proposed re-entry into NATO and regained access to Iraqi oil are part of the same context.
http://www.france24.com/en/20080701-total-contract-service-iraq-oil-france

The question as to whether a genuine new consensus could be reached on what the EU should be is an open one - you only have to look at the reasons people are opposed to the Treaty to see how divergent they are. For example, a German "No" pamphlet handed out by the People's Movement says that the Treaty is undemocratic because it gives too many votes to the small countries.

Treating the public like beaten donkeys in order to force these issues through without consensus just might work in terms of achieving the immediate "French fantasy" agenda, but how could that possibly be a good long term outcome, considering the costs of the inevitable coercion?
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PostSubject: Re: What the Mainlanders are saying   Thu Jul 10, 2008 1:08 am

cactus flower wrote:
ibis wrote:
cactus flower wrote:
arnaudherve wrote:
A contribution from a Swedish Greens MP.


http://www.globalaffairs.es/Noticia-349.html

That is interesting arnaudhervé - The idea that the political establishment is in some important instances a minority is almost a contradiction in terms in a democratic system.

I think there is evidence already that France proposes to try to achieve its post-Lisbon agenda unchanged without passing Lisbon. Both the immigration and military proposals launched in the last few days are surely exactly what Lisbon was intended to authorise?

Is Sarkozy going beyond the confines of previous Treaties or do they give him all the powers needed to act as though the Reform Treaty had been passed?

It was pointed out at the time that Lisbon had little bearing on the possibility of many proposals that were raised up as bogeymen. What you are seeing now is simply the demonstration of that truth - Lisbon was not an enabling act for French fantasies, but an institutional redesign.

I believe I posted before the Referendum to the effect that existing Treaties were broad enough to allow for most of what was being discussed - "energy security", a military EU, strong borders, climate change and so on. This was not what the pro-Treaty campaign was saying before the Referendum. Can you put your hand on your heart Ibis and say that the Yes campaign didn't tell us amongst other things that the Treaty was essential so that the "French fantasies" could be carried out?

Hmm. Energy security, climate change, strong borders were not amongst the French fantasies, so I'm not sure of the relevance of that. The 'French fantasies' of an EU army and consolidated taxes remain exactly what they are, and remain just as possible under Nice.

cactus flower wrote:
Nonetheless, I agree that much of Lisbon was only a clearer statement of what was already possible and intended. Which begs the question of why have a Treaty at all that goes beyond the Institutional changes?

One answer goes back to Laeken and the consensus that a very serious gap had opened up between people and politicians on the whole EU project. A sticking plaster of some kind was needed politically so that it could be said that the EU had listened to citizens and had reformed. In that sense the Treaty was intended to serve as a legitimising function to paste over the gap by allowing politicians to say that they had fulfilled the spirit of Laeken whilst in fact running in most respects in the opposite direction.

If the Reform Treaty was not needed for the "action plan" elements and was essential only for institutional adaptation to enlargement, why weren't the "essentials" put forward when we voted for enlargement? An increase in the number of Commissioners post expansion hardly came as a surprise. Plus there seems to be general agreement that the institutions are operating better than before enlargement.

Oh, for Heaven's sake! I've pointed out repeatedly that the Protocol on Enlargement in Nice does contain several of the institutional adaptations, in a rather rougher form than Lisbon.

You appear to view it as something suspicious that the EU should make changes. If anything in the EU is not working as well as it could be, and the member states can agree to change it in a way that they feel makes it work better, it makes sense that they do so.

There is not 'general agreement' that the institutions are functioning better. Anyone I've spoken to who does business with the EU (friends at the DFA mostly) says it isn't - and that's from the point of view of people who are not working for the EU, but trying to work with it on Ireland's behalf.

Against this, we have a study from Helen Wallace of the LSE that says legislative throughput has increased since enlargement. That's no surprise, since there's a whole lot of legislation to be issued bringing the accession countries up to speed - but none of that is new legislation. Even that report does not claim that there are no problems:

Quote :
The paper concludes that there remains scope for continuing to identify
practical and pragmatic ways and means of enabling the EU system
through non-treaty reform to perform effectively in the light of
enlargement. The changes proposed in the new Reform Treaty can be
better understood in terms of wider discussions about the cases to be
made for or against altering the way that the EU deals with its policy
agenda in the future.

Quote :
Prof Wallace says that an average of 195 legislative decisions were adopted each year from 1999 to 2003. A surge in pre-enlargement decisions saw 240 in 2004, followed by a drop to 130 in 2005. In 2006 the number was back to 197. "The new member states do not add too much complexity on any given issue. They have not been as awkward as many people feared they would," she says. But she admits that many of the decisions concern relatively minor legislation and that fewer "important" items have been approved.

Source.

So the EU produces the same 'quantity' of legislation, but is doing it by avoiding tackling controversial issues - the numbers are made up by lots of minor legislation. That's not actually a good thing, I'm afraid, because there are plenty of controversial issues that need tackling within the EU remit - and it's completely the opposite of what people pretend the study concludes. All that has been avoided is the worst-case scenarios.

cactus flower wrote:
This leaves us with the main thing being that the Treaty establishes the EU as a new legal entity

...which it already is, de facto, since it already signs treaties...

cactus flower wrote:
of which we would all be citizens,

...which we already are...

cactus flower wrote:
with our without opt-outs and declarations, fast or slow tracks. This is a critical change from intergovernmentalism to federalism. The Reform Treaty even down to its name is a pretty good job at obscuring that fact.

Why is it a "critical change from intergovernmentalism to federalism"? It's all very well saying it, but I want you to explain how it's the case. There's a couple of shiny tinselly bits in the Treaty that look federal (the President, the High Representative, mostly), but nothing of substance. What's in there still looks like a framework for joint action, not a federal government.

cactus flower wrote:
To make a change like this without a consensus is a hasty, peremptory, impatient and unstable approach, driven by the realpolitik of a rapidly changing world, particularly with regard to oil supply. France's imminent proposed re-entry into NATO and regained access to Iraqi oil are part of the same context.
http://www.france24.com/en/20080701-total-contract-service-iraq-oil-france

The question as to whether a genuine new consensus could be reached on what the EU should be is an open one - you only have to look at the reasons people are opposed to the Treaty to see how divergent they are. For example, a German "No" pamphlet handed out by the People's Movement says that the Treaty is undemocratic because it gives too many votes to the small countries.

Some of us would make the point that this is because the No campaigns in almost every country rely not on what's in the Treaty but on what will create the most concern.

cactus flower wrote:
Treating the public like beaten donkeys in order to force these issues through without consensus just might work in terms of achieving the immediate "French fantasy" agenda, but how could that possibly be a good long term outcome, considering the costs of the inevitable coercion?

I'd have to come back to that after you've shown there is some critical change in the Treaty. There doesn't seem to me to be one - it looks like a few small steps, most of them in directions I would consider good directions.


Last edited by ibis on Sat Jul 19, 2008 11:00 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: What the Mainlanders are saying   Sat Jul 19, 2008 9:41 pm

For those who understand Italian, an interesting debate on democratic deficit here: http://www.radioradicale.it/scheda/258839
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PostSubject: Re: What the Mainlanders are saying   Sat Jul 19, 2008 10:48 pm

arnaudherve wrote:
For those who understand Italian, an interesting debate on democratic deficit here: http://www.radioradicale.it/scheda/258839
Is that a realplayer show of a live debate?

Anything half decent on the French forums/newspapers on this theme?
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PostSubject: Re: What the Mainlanders are saying   Sat Jul 19, 2008 11:20 pm

Auditor #9 wrote:
Is that a realplayer show of a live debate?

A real player show

Quote :
Anything half decent on the French forums/newspapers on this theme?

On French cultural radio, equivalent of BBC 4:

Clic on "Ecoutez" red button top left

Writings are numerous. Which political shade do you want?
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PostSubject: Re: What the Mainlanders are saying   Sat Jul 19, 2008 11:35 pm

Quote :
I'd have to come back to that after you've shown there is some critical change in the Treaty. There doesn't seem to me to be one - it looks like a few small steps, most of them in directions I would consider good directions.

Well precisely Ibis. No one seems to want to say why not passing it would matter that much, apart from the nonsense about the six words on climate change etc.

If I accept your point that the Treaty is just a little light housekeeping, why all the fuss?

One would have to be a fool not to see it as a very considerable step towards a federal Europe. That is probably its best selling point.
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PostSubject: Re: What the Mainlanders are saying   Sat Jul 19, 2008 11:40 pm

Interview of Hubert Vedrine, former labour foreign affairs minister.

I note two things he says:

1) If we want to make the Irish vote again, we must not talk about it openly.

2) Europe is already well defended. What we call Europe od defence is for interventions abroad.


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PostSubject: Re: What the Mainlanders are saying   Sat Jul 19, 2008 11:47 pm

arnaudherve wrote:
Interview of Hubert Vedrine, former labour foreign affairs minister.

I note two things he says:

1) If we want to make the Irish vote again, we must not talk about it openly.

2) Europe is already well defended. What we call Europe od defence is for interventions abroad.



Very good. I notice in today's Irish Times that Sarkozy says that Ireland's presence in Chad means that there are no adverse issues regarding neutrality.
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