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 Tensions Within the EU - Can it Hold Together?

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PostSubject: Tensions Within the EU - Can it Hold Together?   Wed Jun 25, 2008 1:17 pm

Survey results today show the Irish still as the people most in favour of the EU. The picture in the UK, which is a heavy net contributor to the EU finances, is grim.
A court challenge to ratification of the Treaty in the UK has failed today, but that is not likely to reduce the level of negativity. The rush to ratify the Lisbon Treaty looks not to be from a position of strength but from anxiety that tensions in the EU may pull it apart.


Quote :
The Irish public love the EU the most, a new poll confirmed today.
Despite rejecting the Lisbon Treaty in a referendum, Ireland appreciates the benefits of EU membership more than any other nation, according to the European Commission’s latest public opinion survey.
The findings, based on work conducted before the referendum vote, are in line with a snap poll of 2,000 Irish voters conducted immediately after the referendum decision.
The snap poll showed that 80% of those voting No were in favour of the EU.
Foreign Minister Micheal Martin told reporters that the No campaigners were “pro-Europe and pro-European Union”.
Today’s survey shows that 82% of Irish people believe their country has benefited from EU membership. That’s a 5% drop since the last survey, but still higher than anywhere else in the EU.
Estonia comes closest with a 76% approval rating for the benefits of membership. At the other end of the scale, the UK, Austria and Hungary all record a lowly 36% who think there have been benefits from membership.
The Irish are also top of the poll when asked if they think membership has been “a good thing”, with 73% agreeing and only 6% describing EU membership as a bad thing.
In the UK only 30% see membership as a good thing and 32% say it has been a bad thing – once again recording the lowest level of EU support amongst 27 countries.
When asked if the EU represented a “positive” image, 65% of Irish voters said yes, compared with only 29% in the UK.
The Romanians were top of this poll, with 67% seeing positive images when thinking of the EU. Bottom of the poll, tipping the UK by 1% was Austria.
Trust in the EU is put at 62% in Ireland, a 7% increase on last autumn. The situation has improved in the UK too, with a 4% increase in levels of trust in the EU – bringing the UK figure up to just 29% and way below any other EU country.

The EU has a great many internal tensions, over accession of Turkey, alignment with NATO and the WTO to name only a few. If it is to have a chance to hold together over the next 20 years without major ruptures I would have thought it would be better to try on the present tried and accepted arrangements, democratised, rather than forcing the Reform Treaty on increasingly alienated populations.

It would also be interesting to see if the Irish figure for "trust in the EU" has changed in the days since the Referendum.
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PostSubject: Re: Tensions Within the EU - Can it Hold Together?   Wed Jun 25, 2008 1:24 pm

That's a fascinating read, cactus. It's good to see us still as the most pro-European of the lot. We need to have this tag since it gets us good-will in negotiations post-Lisbon.

I think the EU can hold together. The Conservatives might want to pull the UK out when the assume power in 2009/10, but I just don't see how they can follow through. They've been in as long as we have and they are therefore tightly involved and invested in the European project at a governmental level.

They're the teenagers of Europe. They may moan, slam doors and sulk, but they always come downstairs to have dinner with the rest of the family. The pull is too great for a permanent withdrawal.
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PostSubject: Re: Tensions Within the EU - Can it Hold Together?   Wed Jun 25, 2008 1:57 pm

I don't see the Tories wanting to leave either - it is a lot of tub thumping and flag waving in the main. But they could start getting worried about the loony right UKIP etc. There might be a nasty shock in the next elections. The GLC vote probably shows what they are in for, unless some miracle occurs.

I think that people are going to start looking a lot closer at what their politicians are doing in the EU, in so far as it is possible. With the Council and the Commission having made most decisions in private - and even discussing the Lisbon No behind closed doors, it has been impossible for us to really know what our people are up to. McCreevey and Sutherland have both pushed a neo-liberal economic agenda that would probably not have been agreed with at home.
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PostSubject: Re: Tensions Within the EU - Can it Hold Together?   Wed Jun 25, 2008 9:23 pm

The race was on to get everybody tied in before the tensions rose. This state was put together through the fraud of central planning. Few give a bollix about Europe only when will the cheque arrive. Ireland might have a lucky escape yet. Europe hopefully will fracture with free countries like Basque, Lombardy, Scotland, Brittany, Walloon etc springing up.
Cowen had expected the economic problems to be taken care of by an EU grant. The fact that people can not figure out the negative costs of this through inflation is the icing on the cake. The whole thing is print,print print. What is wrong with having Ireland free as it took 800 years to attain. Then when the soldiers are dead the politicians take the backhander and big job and gives it all alway
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PostSubject: Re: Tensions Within the EU - Can it Hold Together?   Wed Jun 25, 2008 11:34 pm

I was reading in Die Welt about the Eurobarometer poll regarding attitudes to the EU and came across this survey run by the paper in the middle of the article. It's a conservative paper.


Quote :
Umfrage
Was halten Sie von der EU? (What do you think of the EU?)

Sie ist großartig (it's great)
Sie hat ihre Vor- und Nachteile (it has its advantages and disadvantages)
Sie ist ziemlich schlecht (it's pretty bad)
Ich wünschte, Deutschland würde austreten (I'd like to see Germany leave)
abstimmen Ergebnis




4% Sie ist großartig


27% Sie hat ihre Vor- und Nachteile


19% Sie ist ziemlich schlecht


51% Ich wünschte, Deutschland würde austreten
Aktuell: 502 Stimmen


Speaks for itself really, though I'm not entirely sure what it's indicative of...
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PostSubject: Re: Tensions Within the EU - Can it Hold Together?   Thu Jun 26, 2008 12:36 am

A Europe of free Nation states, free to slaughter as they have done for
thousands of years. What a future.

What exactly is a Nation? Where exactly are the
boundaries in such a Europe. Is Bozen Italian or Austrian, Strasbourg
French or German or a free Republic and what of East Prussia? Perhaps Italy should become a collection of city states again?

There is a better chance of a future Briton and Basque state and for Regionalisation of larger countries in some
future EU than there ever will be if the Nations of Europe split up.

Europe needs to change and requires a clear vision of its place in the scheme of things. It needs leadership, vision and a sense of purpose. We either pull together or fade into irrelevance as the decades roll on.
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PostSubject: Re: Tensions Within the EU - Can it Hold Together?   Thu Jun 26, 2008 12:46 am

Squire wrote:
A Europe of free Nation states, free to slaughter as they have done for
thousands of years. What a future.

What exactly is a Nation? Where exactly are the
boundaries in such a Europe. Is Bozen Italian or Austrian, Strasbourg
French or German or a free Republic and what of East Prussia? Perhaps Italy should become a collection of city states again?

There is a better chance of a future Briton and Basque state and for Regionalisation of larger countries in some
future EU than there ever will be if the Nations of Europe split up.

Europe needs to change and requires a clear vision of its place in the scheme of things. It needs leadership, vision and a sense of purpose. We either pull together or fade into irrelevance as the decades roll on.

I still haven't had a chance to listen to Susan George's talk because of a two-week technical glitch. I think that she would like to see a regional Europe able to act together in a positive way, but without the neoliberal econonomic agenda - the "social europe" people talk about.

It is very interesting that Ireland is the most positive about the EU, and also the most assertive in terms of the population wanting to put down markers as to how it should develop. This all seems to me to be thoroughly healthy. We are providing a role model for active participation in developing the EU.

Hurrah for us ! cheers cheers cheers
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PostSubject: Re: Tensions Within the EU - Can it Hold Together?   Thu Jun 26, 2008 1:00 am

cactus flower wrote:


It is very interesting that Ireland is the most positive about the EU, and also the most assertive in terms of the population wanting to put down markers as to how it should develop. This all seems to me to be thoroughly healthy. We are providing a role model for active participation in developing the EU.

Hurrah for us ! cheers cheers cheers

I'd imagine our regular referenda are a part of that greater willingness to engage with the EU and that greater positivity towards the EU project. More than any other nation in Europe, we are consulted on decisions which take place at an EU level. The campaign for Lisbon was short, but at least it was a campaign. I've lost track of how many quizzical Continentals were vox popped by news programmes after the Lisbon Treaty rejection here. Some of them honestly hadn't heard about the Treaty. The Treaty was being ratified quietly by their national parliaments without much input from the people of large.

The opposite is the case here. We have now voted on Lisbon, Nice, Amsterdam, Maastricht, the Single European Act and the Treaty of Accession. At each stage the public were engaged in a campaign and much was talked about in terms of Europe, the issues at hand and what was going to happen.

Because of this we are more informed, more involved and more invested in the European project. Perhaps if more countries decided to hold referenda as a matter of course, their publics would also become engaged in Europe and what it can do and be.
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PostSubject: Re: Tensions Within the EU - Can it Hold Together?   Thu Jun 26, 2008 2:26 am

Italy made up of city states would be brilliant. The talk of armies is foolish to my mind as it assumes that people will do what the likes of Cowen or Kenny would tell them. Would you.
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PostSubject: Re: Tensions Within the EU - Can it Hold Together?   Thu Jun 26, 2008 3:19 am

Dan if someone suggested being patriotic or fighting for the nation they would find deep reluctance. My attachment to any place has little to do with a feeling of Nationalism.

My antecedents were into blood and gore, centuries of it. So my view on what humanity, will and, can do is jaundiced. Judging by the sentiment in that other place I believe it would be very easy to stir up passions against others particularly if they are Muslims.

Jonathan Meades has a style you either like or dislike In 4 parts his Jerry Building is a savage go at at Hitler's lot. He makes a lot of valid points succinctly. Some of the observations are as valid if applied to humanity today as they were about Germany in the 1930's.
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PostSubject: Re: Tensions Within the EU - Can it Hold Together?   Thu Jun 26, 2008 9:39 am

It is the easiest thing in the world to stir violence at home but it is taking an increasing amount of propaganda to rouse people into going overseas to get killed. I would have small states with every man having an M16 and gustav for when an enemy got close. Works well in Switzerland.
The Irish people are going to face a test now. It remains to be seen how they react when things get tough. The Welfare State is finished but still we will hear wailing about education and health care. I even say one fool on P.ie saying that Ireland was a wealthy country and should pay for Aids care. The reality is that the taxpayers are broke so if you get Aids you are on your own.
There is hope though. A quick election in Britain to get rid of all the Labour mps would cheer me up.
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PostSubject: Re: Tensions Within the EU - Can it Hold Together?   Thu Jun 26, 2008 1:25 pm

If you are a small country in times of war you tend to get overrun. Switzerland has the benifit of mountains. It is not worth the effort. Afghanistan, well we should know better.

Hitler is by no means unique, Napoleon and the French revolution, Uncle Joe, Benito, or you can have the variety that inflict misery at home like Pol pot. There is no end of them and enough people like sheep follow through a combination of pure evil and fear. One of my grand mothers had to leave Germany when a youth because she had left wing views. Lived in India and never returned. People vote for all sorts of dangerous fruit cakes. It is one of the reasons that makes me wonder about democracy.

Health care free at the point of need is a great thing as is education for all and care for the elderly. Having a healthy, educated workforce is an asset to a country and I don't mind paying tax towards such things. What I dislike is governemnts endlessly tinkering and adding unnecessary costs. Efficient delivery is necessary. In the North you have SF about to up end a system which provides the best results in Britain in order to level down. Equality of degragation, another sign of deep and simmering bitterness. The potential for violence is everywhere and being a small state does not of itself provide an escape.

( Away off subject but I often wonder if the cost per pupil of education in Britain was greater than the fees for Private Schools).



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PostSubject: Re: Tensions Within the EU - Can it Hold Together?   Thu Jun 26, 2008 1:36 pm

youngdan wrote:
.... Europe hopefully will fracture with free countries like Basque, Lombardy, Scotland, Brittany, Walloon etc springing up.....

Wasn't the existence of all these little tribal areas the cause of much bloodshed in the past.

youngdan wrote:
Italy made up of city states would be brilliant. The talk of armies is foolish to my mind as it assumes that people will do what the likes of Cowen or Kenny would tell them. Would you.

They might not. Or they might do what Miloseviv, Karadic and Mladic say. In general Balkanisation is a bad thing.

youngdan wrote:
....I would have small states with every man having an M16 and gustav for when an enemy got close..

A Gustav Laughing . Come into the 21st century man. I'd go for the Steyr AUG myself or an FN if you really want to fu<k up someone's day.

youngdan wrote:
..... The Welfare State is finished but still we will hear wailing about education and health care. .

The welfare state can work fine with proper planning. It's hoped for demise is just US neo-con wishful thinking.
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