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 Does Size Matter ? - Small Countries in the EU

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PostSubject: Re: Does Size Matter ? - Small Countries in the EU   Thu Aug 14, 2008 10:34 pm

anmajornarthainig wrote:
905 wrote:
I've a book I really mean to read on the North, which I think says something similar. The real cause of war was apparantly the segregation of society, the building of peace walls which objectified and de-humanised the enemy. They were basically scared into violence andd hate, not some sort of innate hatred of Catholics or Protestants.

It`s possible to exaggerate the good old days in North because of how bad the period from the late sixties on were. Don`t forget that there were sectarian riots in Belfast and in other places in the 1880s and the 1920s because of uncertainty regarding the North`s future but also in the 1930s and in the 50s and 60s. Unionists often talk about the way Catholics used to watch the parades in the North before the troubles but the view of Catholics about how inoffensive the parades were supposed to have been was not the same.

Unionists love to believe this stuff. I remember at the start of the nineties, after a spate of killings, an amiable enough stranger started a conversation with me with the line "It's terrible times we live in" to which I agreed "Neighbours killing neighbours" he added and then the clinker " Ye know we got on very well around here til they started puttin up the black flags" and "Catholic neighbours used to do the milking on the 12th."
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PostSubject: Re: Does Size Matter ? - Small Countries in the EU   Wed Aug 20, 2008 8:55 pm

Coleman recently posted this over at P.ie:

Quote :
Apologists for the EU's undemocratic structure have frequently pointed out that it operates through consensus and that the European Council, for example, is composed of elected representatives. John Major's autobiography (pg 583) however demonstrates the kind of consensus in operation in this powerful insititution:

Everyone around the table laid out their views in a set-piece speech that was frequently more for domestic consumption than a serious attempt to influence discussion. This was often because the decision had already been fashioned in private, and the discussion was merely a prelude to confirming it. Before every summit... the French and German reached agreed positions if at all possible. The Commission was in touch with both groups.
Most decisions were proposed by the Commission, after negotiation with France, Germany and the country holding the Union presidency. The smaller nation-states, all of whom were net beneficiaries of the communal budget, often complained bitterly about this in private, but were consenting adults in public. Whenever I witnessed this phenomenon. Aneurin Bevan's famous explanation of how he persuaded reluctant doctors to join the NHS came unbidden into my mind: "I stuffed their mouths with gold." The glow of the precious metal beamed out from the silence of many of the heads of government. Their unwillingness to oppose a Franco-German consensus was striking and, for Britain, highly irritating.
The Commission was rarely challenged; and when it was there was often a cowardice to the criticism: any counter-proposal was preceded by a paean, together with a timid suggestion that, perhaps for the best of reasons, the Commission was wrong. Jacques Delors, confident of his position, brushed aside such half-hearted complaints easily, often with German or, more likely, French support. Others rather smugly joined the consensus. Isolated, and made to feel they had behaved improperly, the critics conceded. It was a cruel, and an absurd way to operate.

Major did a lot to enmesh Britain further into the EU and his account is particularly valuable for this reason. It is as clear as daylight that the Franco-German alliance is the engine which drives the EU.

Ireland's "influence" in the EU, in so far as it ever existed so far, was proportionate to the extent to which it supported the agenda of the "big states".
It will be interesting to see how much influence the No vote has.

http://www.politics.ie/viewtopic.php?f=77&t=39508


Last edited by cactus flower on Wed Aug 20, 2008 10:44 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Does Size Matter ? - Small Countries in the EU   Wed Aug 20, 2008 10:16 pm

cactus flower wrote:
Coleman just posted this over at P.ie:

Quote :
Apologists for the EU's undemocratic structure have frequently pointed out that it operates through consensus and that the European Council, for example, is composed of elected representatives. John Major's autobiography (pg 583) however demonstrates the kind of consensus in operation in this powerful insititution:

Everyone around the table laid out their views in a set-piece speech that was frequently more for domestic consumption than a serious attempt to influence discussion. This was often because the decision had already been fashioned in private, and the discussion was merely a prelude to confirming it. Before every summit... the French and German reached agreed positions if at all possible. The Commission was in touch with both groups.
Most decisions were proposed by the Commission, after negotiation with France, Germany and the country holding the Union presidency. The smaller nation-states, all of whom were net beneficiaries of the communal budget, often complained bitterly about this in private, but were consenting adults in public. Whenever I witnessed this phenomenon. Aneurin Bevan's famous explanation of how he persuaded reluctant doctors to join the NHS came unbidden into my mind: "I stuffed their mouths with gold." The glow of the precious metal beamed out from the silence of many of the heads of government. Their unwillingness to oppose a Franco-German consensus was striking and, for Britain, highly irritating.
The Commission was rarely challenged; and when it was there was often a cowardice to the criticism: any counter-proposal was preceded by a paean, together with a timid suggestion that, perhaps for the best of reasons, the Commission was wrong. Jacques Delors, confident of his position, brushed aside such half-hearted complaints easily, often with German or, more likely, French support. Others rather smugly joined the consensus. Isolated, and made to feel they had behaved improperly, the critics conceded. It was a cruel, and an absurd way to operate.

Major did a lot to enmesh Britain further into the EU and his account is particularly valuable for this reason. It is as clear as daylight that the Franco-German alliance is the engine which drives the EU.

Ireland's "influence" in the EU, in so far as it ever existed so far, was proportionate to the extent to which it supported the agenda of the "big states".
It will be interesting to see how much influence the No vote has.

Well, I can't resist pointing out here what I pointed out there. The Franco-German axis certainly was the driving force in the 12 member EU of the early 1990's John Major is talking about - and John Major a man who had much explaining to do to his increasingly Eurosceptical party as to exactly why he wasn't able to face down Europe the way his demonic predecessor had.

The absurdity of trying to beat the EU with this particular liquorice stick makes it almost an acid test of uncritical euroscepticism. Still, as I said, it's always nice to read things that agree with you.
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PostSubject: Re: Does Size Matter ? - Small Countries in the EU   Wed Aug 20, 2008 10:45 pm

Good to see you Ibis. You've been missed. That Coleman is rightly in the pocket of the Yanks, is he not?
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PostSubject: Re: Does Size Matter ? - Small Countries in the EU   Thu Aug 21, 2008 2:25 pm

cactus flower wrote:
Good to see you Ibis. You've been missed. That Coleman is rightly in the pocket of the Yanks, is he not?

I have to say I'm slightly surprised by the depth of the pro-US feeling amongst a lot of eurosceptics. What exactly did the Yanks do for us? Their companies are here because we're English-speaking and in the Euro, plus our attractive corporation tax rate.

Is it the old NORAID good feeling?
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PostSubject: Re: Does Size Matter ? - Small Countries in the EU   Thu Aug 21, 2008 5:14 pm

ibis wrote:
cactus flower wrote:
Good to see you Ibis. You've been missed. That Coleman is rightly in the pocket of the Yanks, is he not?

I have to say I'm slightly surprised by the depth of the pro-US feeling amongst a lot of eurosceptics. What exactly did the Yanks do for us? Their companies are here because we're English-speaking and in the Euro, plus our attractive corporation tax rate.

Is it the old NORAID good feeling?

That is an interesting thread on P.ie - I think I'll take another look at it. It is interesting to look at the places are pro-US. I can think of India (very), the eastern european states and perhaps Ireland.

This attitudinal survey ( http://pewglobal.org/reports/display.php?ReportID=256 ) shows positive attitudes to the US having declined between 2002-2007. To generalise, in 2007 Old Europe and moslem majority countries saw the US in a negative light and countries formerly 'ínfluenced' by Russia/USSR and former colonies of Old European countries saw the US in a positive light. US main trading partners were also positive.

Attitudes in eastern europe were hardening against the US. It goes without saying the countries with muslim populations were negative. Confidence in Russia (although not Putin) was very high.

Turkey became anti EU in the same period. Ireland is not mentioned Mad .

If I remember rightly, the P.ie posters seem to be polarising, with some gravitating towards the UK; some the US; a few pro-EU and a tiny minority generally anti-big power. Far too small a sample to be meaningful: it was more the vehemence of the tone that struck me that anything else.

Can small countries survive without choosing either Boston or Berlin? Will it go on being possible to choose both, as Ireland has ?
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PostSubject: Re: Does Size Matter ? - Small Countries in the EU   Thu Aug 21, 2008 11:10 pm

cactus flower wrote:
ibis wrote:
cactus flower wrote:
Good to see you Ibis. You've been missed. That Coleman is rightly in the pocket of the Yanks, is he not?

I have to say I'm slightly surprised by the depth of the pro-US feeling amongst a lot of eurosceptics. What exactly did the Yanks do for us? Their companies are here because we're English-speaking and in the Euro, plus our attractive corporation tax rate.

Is it the old NORAID good feeling?

That is an interesting thread on P.ie - I think I'll take another look at it. It is interesting to look at the places are pro-US. I can think of India (very), the eastern european states and perhaps Ireland.

This attitudinal survey ( http://pewglobal.org/reports/display.php?ReportID=256 ) shows positive attitudes to the US having declined between 2002-2007. To generalise, in 2007 Old Europe and moslem majority countries saw the US in a negative light and countries formerly 'ínfluenced' by Russia/USSR and former colonies of Old European countries saw the US in a positive light. US main trading partners were also positive.

Attitudes in eastern europe were hardening against the US. It goes without saying the countries with muslim populations were negative. Confidence in Russia (although not Putin) was very high.

Turkey became anti EU in the same period. Ireland is not mentioned Mad .

If I remember rightly, the P.ie posters seem to be polarising, with some gravitating towards the UK; some the US; a few pro-EU and a tiny minority generally anti-big power. Far too small a sample to be meaningful: it was more the vehemence of the tone that struck me that anything else.

Can small countries survive without choosing either Boston or Berlin? Will it go on being possible to choose both, as Ireland has ?
I started a thread on this some time ago (America - Up and Down), which suggests that America's image is improving, though starting from a low base.
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PostSubject: Re: Does Size Matter ? - Small Countries in the EU   Fri Aug 22, 2008 12:09 am

905 wrote:
cactus flower wrote:
ibis wrote:
cactus flower wrote:
Good to see you Ibis. You've been missed. That Coleman is rightly in the pocket of the Yanks, is he not?






I have to say I'm slightly surprised by the depth of the pro-US feeling amongst a lot of eurosceptics. What exactly did the Yanks do for us? Their companies are here because we're English-speaking and in the Euro, plus our attractive corporation tax rate.

Is it the old NORAID good feeling?

That is an interesting thread on P.ie - I think I'll take another look at it. It is interesting to look at the places are pro-US. I can think of India (very), the eastern european states and perhaps Ireland.

This attitudinal survey ( http://pewglobal.org/reports/display.php?ReportID=256 ) shows positive attitudes to the US having declined between 2002-2007. To generalise, in 2007 Old Europe and moslem majority countries saw the US in a negative light and countries formerly 'ínfluenced' by Russia/USSR and former colonies of Old European countries saw the US in a positive light. US main trading partners were also positive.

Attitudes in eastern europe were hardening against the US. It goes without saying the countries with muslim populations were negative. Confidence in Russia (although not Putin) was very high.

Turkey became anti EU in the same period. Ireland is not mentioned Mad .

If I remember rightly, the P.ie posters seem to be polarising, with some gravitating towards the UK; some the US; a few pro-EU and a tiny minority generally anti-big power. Far too small a sample to be meaningful: it was more the vehemence of the tone that struck me that anything else.

Can small countries survive without choosing either Boston or Berlin? Will it go on being possible to choose both, as Ireland has ?
I started a thread on this some time ago (America - Up and Down), which suggests that America's image is improving, though starting from a low base.

Oh yes, thanks for reminding us 905. That would be worth revisiting. Do you think they are working harder at it now?
Did Bush's bizarre African trip work ? It all seems to be a case of better the devil you don't know, they are so glad to be rid of the French and British that the US and China seem like a great idea.
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PostSubject: Re: Does Size Matter ? - Small Countries in the EU   Fri Aug 22, 2008 5:12 am

cactus flower wrote:
ibis wrote:
cactus flower wrote:
Good to see you Ibis. You've been missed. That Coleman is rightly in the pocket of the Yanks, is he not?

I have to say I'm slightly surprised by the depth of the pro-US feeling amongst a lot of eurosceptics. What exactly did the Yanks do for us? Their companies are here because we're English-speaking and in the Euro, plus our attractive corporation tax rate.

Is it the old NORAID good feeling?

That is an interesting thread on P.ie - I think I'll take another look at it. It is interesting to look at the places are pro-US. I can think of India (very), the eastern european states and perhaps Ireland.

This attitudinal survey ( http://pewglobal.org/reports/display.php?ReportID=256 ) shows positive attitudes to the US having declined between 2002-2007. To generalise, in 2007 Old Europe and moslem majority countries saw the US in a negative light and countries formerly 'ínfluenced' by Russia/USSR and former colonies of Old European countries saw the US in a positive light. US main trading partners were also positive.

Attitudes in eastern europe were hardening against the US. It goes without saying the countries with muslim populations were negative. Confidence in Russia (although not Putin) was very high.

Turkey became anti EU in the same period. Ireland is not mentioned Mad .

If I remember rightly, the P.ie posters seem to be polarising, with some gravitating towards the UK; some the US; a few pro-EU and a tiny minority generally anti-big power. Far too small a sample to be meaningful: it was more the vehemence of the tone that struck me that anything else.

It is odd. On the other hand, the No side in the referendum had quite clear Atlanticist and UK-influenced camps, and I think times of economic downturn tend to make some people look for someone's wing to shelter under - perhaps particularly if they're young, and haven't been through a downturn before. When you're panicking, you tend to be a lot shriller about people doing the "wrong" thing.

cactus flower wrote:
Can small countries survive without choosing either Boston or Berlin? Will it go on being possible to choose both, as Ireland has ?

I certainly think so, although it would be nice if we combined the best bits of the two, rather than the worst.

It's something I find somewhat depressing. All those people arguing that Ireland should resist the EU because it means "giving up sovereignty", and at the same time they're perfectly willing to crawl into the pocket of the Yanks or the Brits. Are they blind? Stupid? We punch well above our weight in the EU, and we can fight our own corner, whereas we wouldn't punch spit in the Anglosphere - half the bastards don't even know Ireland is separate from the UK.
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PostSubject: Re: Does Size Matter ? - Small Countries in the EU   Fri Aug 22, 2008 1:28 pm

ibis wrote:
cactus flower wrote:
ibis wrote:
cactus flower wrote:
Good to see you Ibis. You've been missed. That Coleman is rightly in the pocket of the Yanks, is he not?

I have to say I'm slightly surprised by the depth of the pro-US feeling amongst a lot of eurosceptics. What exactly did the Yanks do for us? Their companies are here because we're English-speaking and in the Euro, plus our attractive corporation tax rate.

Is it the old NORAID good feeling?

That is an interesting thread on P.ie - I think I'll take another look at it. It is interesting to look at the places are pro-US. I can think of India (very), the eastern european states and perhaps Ireland.

This attitudinal survey ( http://pewglobal.org/reports/display.php?ReportID=256 ) shows positive attitudes to the US having declined between 2002-2007. To generalise, in 2007 Old Europe and moslem majority countries saw the US in a negative light and countries formerly 'ínfluenced' by Russia/USSR and former colonies of Old European countries saw the US in a positive light. US main trading partners were also positive.

Attitudes in eastern europe were hardening against the US. It goes without saying the countries with muslim populations were negative. Confidence in Russia (although not Putin) was very high.

Turkey became anti EU in the same period. Ireland is not mentioned Mad .

If I remember rightly, the P.ie posters seem to be polarising, with some gravitating towards the UK; some the US; a few pro-EU and a tiny minority generally anti-big power. Far too small a sample to be meaningful: it was more the vehemence of the tone that struck me that anything else.

It is odd. On the other hand, the No side in the referendum had quite clear Atlanticist and UK-influenced camps, and I think times of economic downturn tend to make some people look for someone's wing to shelter under - perhaps particularly if they're young, and haven't been through a downturn before. When you're panicking, you tend to be a lot shriller about people doing the "wrong" thing.

cactus flower wrote:
Can small countries survive without choosing either Boston or Berlin? Will it go on being possible to choose both, as Ireland has ?

I certainly think so, although it would be nice if we combined the best bits of the two, rather than the worst.


It's something I find somewhat depressing. All those people arguing that Ireland should resist the EU because it means "giving up sovereignty", and at the same time they're perfectly willing to crawl into the pocket of the Yanks or the Brits. Are they blind? Stupid? We punch well above our weight in the EU, and we can fight our own corner, whereas we wouldn't punch spit in the Anglosphere - half the bastards don't even know Ireland is separate from the UK.

The first question is, can a small nation remain independent politically, rather than becoming politically and economically subordinate to the needs of a larger entity. Should it aspire to do so? Does it have a right to ?

The second is, will Ireland be able to go on on successfully accommodate and deal with the US, the UK and the EU? that is perhaps an unanswerable question at this stage, as the tensions between european and US interests are still an undercurrent, rather than readily apparent. They have nearly always been played out indirectly or through proxies.

The recession does makes people panicky and look for a big umbrella. There are different views on what this adds up to in the thread here on the duration of the Dail Term.
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