It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.

 

Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.

 

EUros: What's Your REAL Long-Term Vision for Europe?

page: 1
0

log in

join
share:

posted on Dec, 6 2005 @ 07:29 PM
link   
It seems to me that the backers of a strong EU are mostly on the defensive now to the EU-skeptics, especially after the apparent failure of the current draft EU Constitution. I'm wondering what members who strongly support the EU (sminkeypinkey comes to mind
) really see for the long-term future of Europe. In short, what would the Europe of your dreams look like? Do you want a "United States of Europe" (a phrase it seems to me sounds unpalatable for most Europeans)? If not, what will the key differences you see between the unified Europe of the future and the current American federal system?




posted on Dec, 6 2005 @ 08:03 PM
link   
Well, here is the vision of one Guy Verhofstadt, Belgian prime minister:
'United States of Europe'





seekerof



posted on Dec, 6 2005 @ 08:32 PM
link   

Originally posted by Seekerof
Well, here is the vision of one Guy Verhofstadt, Belgian prime minister:
'United States of Europe'


Nice find, thanks seekerof



posted on Dec, 8 2005 @ 11:21 AM
link   

Originally posted by djohnsto77
It seems to me that the backers of a strong EU are mostly on the defensive now to the EU-skeptics


- I'd say not.

From my vantage point here it seems everyone has gone very quiet on the matter.
(although there is some debate about the UK rebate and the budget, but even that issue hasn't caught any life to date)

Certainly from a British 'anti-EU' point of view the UKIP (UK Independence Party) performance in our last general election (which was only back in may remember) was deeply forgettable (they failed to win a single seat), ditto for Veritas (another anti-EU party led by an ex-MP and well known TV host some people got excited about before the event).

As for the main political opposition here and the lead so-called 'euro-sceptics', well, the last thing the UK tory party want to start making is any kind of fuss about Europe and the EU right now.

Even some of them are now recognising that they have caused enough of the British electorate to be bored to death and come to believe they are a mainly irrelevant 'one trick pony' over that issue.
An issue the British public in poll after poll year in year out rank very low on their priority listings.

From a 'pro-EU' point of view I suppose 'we' found the constitution debacle a disappointment.
The debate at the moment is one of picking the useful bits out of that and having (necessary) ructions over the budget (again).
All of which are issues the entire EU community is dealing with and not one 'we' can 'do' alone.
We shall see.

Part of the 'pro-EU side's problem is that much of the running is done by the antis.
This is because much of what happens is pretty ordinary and mundane and low key, really not much to shout about, so, when they come along claiming the sky is set to fall in at any moment 'thanks to the latest.....*whatever*'.
This causes the agenda to tend to get crowded with a lot of fuss over sensational myths or else something completely distorted from the reality.

But IMO they are short-sighted and their own worst enemies, the boy crying wolf comes to mind.
Which is a pity, because regardless of where they are coming from maybe one day they may indeed spot something in the detail we should all be looking at and thinking again about......?


after the apparent failure of the current draft EU Constitution.


- As I said, the bits they want and need to hold on to they probably will (although without the coherence of the embracing whole treaty, which may make it more difficult or less effective than would otherwise have been the case).


I'm wondering what members who strongly support the EU (sminkeypinkey comes to mind
) really see for the long-term future of Europe.


-
You're too kind.

I see a great long-term future, I really do.
I think the prospect of an advanced, technical, mature, free, artistic and cerebral cooperating Europe with a habit of genuinely being settled and at peace with itself - a peace lasting centuries - an amazing one and one I can only regret I won't be around long enough to see develop and prosper longer than I shall.


In short, what would the Europe of your dreams look like? Do you want a "United States of Europe" (a phrase it seems to me sounds unpalatable for most Europeans)?


- I think 'we' need some realism over what 'we' are trying to do.

'We' are not building a 'United States of Europe' (bearing in mind that that could mean almost an unlimited number of things).
This is why you will be able to select quotes from people using the term - it's a bit like when they used the term 'constitution'; it's a handy short-hand for some......

......although without trying to confuse the matter one must also accept that within that range of possibilities there will indeed be some who do want to see a 'US of E' or 'constitution' in the US model too.


Butgenerally speaking I think it is true to say that if what is meant by that is some sort of idea that 'we' are trying to create a new 'nation' then no, definitely not.
That is not what the EU is about today.

Maybe in 100 or 200 years + time it may be closer to becoming that but given the historic identities and relationships of each member state I really can't see it happening.

That's a red-herring for the limited thinking political zealot who imagines the whole world (or in this case all of EU Europe) against his/her 'kind'.
That's the kind of paranoia that imagines Germans don't want to be German and French no longer French, Poles no longer Poles (etc etc for all the other 24 member states) just to rob *whoever* of their national identity.

'We' are doing something untried and very demanding.

There are various analogies but none of them quite fit.

True 'federalism' in the actual sense of the word (as opposed to the UK tory party definition, which is basically the opposite of what it really is) is close but even that doesn't properly define a situation with sovereign nation states freely cooperating and pooling their sovereignty to mutual advantage.

That IMO is basically it.
That is what we are doing and what we will do more of in future.

As for the sweeping 'grand visions'?
Well I hope we're done with that kind of overblown adolescent nonsense, personally speaking.
I think we Europeans have had enough of the damage those 'grand visions' can do when they run into people who have the audacity to see things differently or who are just in their way.

IMO it is far better we concentrate on improving the living and working standards of our people, concentrating on the real lives, opportunity and well-being of all of our people instead of absurd grandiose day-dreams of someones childish ideas of 'greatness' (usually reserved for some narrow elite).

No ta, been there, done that, it turns out it hurts far too many people including ourselves.


If not, what will the key differences you see between the unified Europe of the future and the current American federal system?


- I suppose a fundamental issue here is what you imagine that 'unity' to be and be becoming.

We all still have our national Parliaments, IMO that is not going to change.
In fact the rejection of the so-called 'constitution' makes it far far more likely that 'we' will not see the fabled moves to super-cede those Parliaments by the EU happen at all.

(Personally I have always thought this part of the anti-EU side's arguments and supposed fears about this almighty 'superstate' ridiculous........if anything IMO it's probably more accurate to say this is a mere projection of the kind of Europe they'd impose and it's just what they'd do or like to do if they were running the show)

I'd also have to be honest and say that I am not an expert on the US model (and I'm very much an interested 'lay man' on the EU too) so I'm not really able to give a full comparison of the 2 'systems'.

But I do know that we are very definitely not the same and it is highly superficial and very much liable to mislead to try to compare the individual states of the USA to the nation states of Europe and the US federal government with the EU itself.

I certainly do not see the nation states of Europe moving to anything like that sort of relationship either.
The nation states will continue to formulate the proceedures and 'operate' and 'direct' the EU, not the other way around.
In any event international law gives nation states rights they do not just give up by agreement to operate together.

For instance it is apparently a current myth amongst the anti-EU crowd that once a nation agrees to enter into the Euro it can never leave.
This is at best nonsense and at worst a deliberate lie.
International law guarantees nations are free to enter into and exit from agreements.

Interesting topic djohnsto77, hope you found my views and reply of interest.



posted on Jan, 16 2006 @ 03:30 AM
link   
I think the European countries' fates were sealed the moment they adopted strong welfare systems and social security "safety-nets".

As the population growth in many developed European countries is shrinking, the population is also aging and the number of people in working age is becoming smaller. A strong welfare state requires huge amounts of money to be run properly, this money is mostly collected through taxes, fines etc. Except in Norway they get huge revenues from the oil industry.
So most European welfare state governments have to either raise taxes and the age when you can retire, which will not be suffice in the longrun, or then get workers from foreign countries and that is much easier if you're within the EU ... or then just drop the whole welfare state system, this would be my choice.

That, among many other things, will probably cause further unification and centralization, and eventually borders will dissolve, and the European Union will become a federal superstate like the Belgian PM said.
But that will only last awhile, until further unification is required, to keep the expensive welfare state system running. Or then the whole thing will just collapse like the Soviet Union.

A sort of microcosm of it can already be seen locally here in my country. The government is already removing hospitals, schools, police stations etc. in smaller communities/counties and centralizing them to the bigger ones in the area. They're also getting rid of smaller communities, counties and such alltogether by unifying them with bigger ones.

That's the conclusion I've come to anyway. I'm against the EU and the welfare state system, btw.

[edit on 16/1/2006 by SwearBear]



posted on Jan, 21 2006 @ 07:41 AM
link   
It's interesting to note that the leader advocating a federalized Europe is from the tiny country of Belgium. A federalized EU would enable Belgium to retain at least a semblence of relevence in EU affairs (one country, one vote). Course, I might be completely wrong about this.

I loved the title of the book, though. That must have been irritating to certain parties in Europe
.

The adoption of the incredible social welfare net in Europe certainly didn't help. What's wrong with working for a living. When did that become a bad thing?



posted on Jan, 21 2006 @ 08:36 AM
link   

Originally posted by seagull
It's interesting to note that the leader advocating a federalized Europe is from the tiny country of Belgium.


- Not really.

All sorts of people from all across the EU think that ever closer union is a great idea, just as all sorts of people from all across the EU think it isn't.

He is just the latest to write a book about it.


A federalized EU would enable Belgium to retain at least a semblence of relevence in EU affairs (one country, one vote). Course, I might be completely wrong about this.


- As a contrast to how things are now?
You are wrong.

Belgium already has votes, influence and 'seats' on the various boards and committees running EU affairs - as does every member of the EU.


I loved the title of the book, though. That must have been irritating to certain parties in Europe
.


- Naaaa not really, certainly no more so than the laughably tedious garbage that the EU is on the verge of becoming a facsimile of the 'nazi Europe' or 'communist Russia' that always pops up every now and again.


The adoption of the incredible social welfare net in Europe certainly didn't help.


- How do you mean?

The EU is not responsible for the internal domestic taxation or the social policies of the member states' governments.

The member states' governments that comprise the EU have merely agreed common minimum standards across the region (it is absolutely not the case that some sort of wholly independent and autonomous EU suddenly decided to 'dictate' a 'pan European' social policy to anyone.

......and even in the case of what was agreed 'opt-outs' for individual states have been possible, as happened with the UK in1992 when the then gov decided not to join the 'Social Chapter'; a situation which lasted until 1997 when the new gov opted in to the 'Social Chapter' (a perfectly free choice - put before the British people as a manifesto commitment in the 1997 general election - that UK workers should enjoy the same rights and privileges as their EU counter-parts).
Ditto the adoption of the Euro, but that remains one which we have not opted in to yet.).

What has been "unhelpful" about attempting policies which offer a more equitable sharing of the nation's (or region's) wealth - and the ability to generate that wealth?

It isn't as if there are not vast differences in wealth across the region.......the big wealthiest countries are still the big wealthiest countries and individuals can and do get enormously wealthy in the EU you know.

If anything the track record is that Europe's wealth has grown enormously thanks to the EU, periodic slow-downs or troublesome times not withstanding.
I see no reason to imagine the situation has changed and when the latest round of new entrant countries have properly settled and engaged I think we will return to strong growth and economic dynamism.

.......you're surely not suggesting the EU is the only economy in the world to have experienced low growth for a time are you?


What's wrong with working for a living. When did that become a bad thing?


- What on earth makes you think Europe and the EU think that?

I will agree there is a problem with unemployment here (but some of that is amplified by the means by which we measure unemployment - part time workers in Germany who register as wanting full-time employment get counted on their stats as unemployed, for instance) but it is absurd to suggest Europe and the EU are in some way 'anti-work'.



[edit on 21-1-2006 by sminkeypinkey]



posted on Jan, 21 2006 @ 09:00 AM
link   
I love your posts. I learn new things everytime. I'm sure I've mentioned this before...I love it when my ignorance is exposed by someone who is knowlegeable. Thanks again.

So, as my personal guru in all things EU, what are the long range goals of the European Union? My thoughts run to a combination of economic and military security, and as a check to percieved, and unwanted American influence in its affairs. Am I even close?

[edit on 21-1-2006 by seagull]



posted on Jan, 21 2006 @ 09:04 AM
link   

Originally posted by SwearBear
I think the European countries' fates were sealed the moment they adopted strong welfare systems and social security "safety-nets"....


Pre-German states had welfare systems since 1842, and an all-German thorough social security system since 1883. The welfare system alone is not a factor for decline itself, its the demographic and economical development (which equally hurts less- or nonwelfare systems).


Originally posted by seagull
It's interesting to note that the leader advocating a federalized Europe is from the tiny country of Belgium. A federalized EU would enable Belgium to retain at least a semblence of relevence in EU affairs (one country, one vote). Course, I might be completely wrong about this. ...


Belgium is a valued and founding member of the EU, and has all the relevance it needs right now at the moment - especially because they fostered their mediating position and by that managed to become sort of the political capital of the EU.

Apart from that its not surprising that such ideas grow in the tinier states. Naturally a country with a lower population "usually" has a less diversified population and conflicting interest groups. Thats why the smaller countries usually show themselves more flexible in progression. Examples of this are the exceptionally high civil freedom in the Netherlands, the economic prosperity of Norway, the educational advancements in Finland, the political stability in Switzerland etc.


The adoption of the incredible social welfare net in Europe certainly didn't help. What's wrong with working for a living. When did that become a bad thing?


Either you are trying to polarize, or you should inform yourself more in-depth about the basic ideas of social security. Social security is the civilized answer to the undeniable fact that bad things can happen - bad things as losing your job; having an accident; serious illness and the like. In a modern society you do not leave people out in the cold - the society takes responsibility over its members. BTW there are many different ways of social security, many different ways to finance it and many different ways how it is implemented in society. There is not THE social security system, there are many different variants and thus its particular effects can only be judged in a focused perspective - focused on ONE society and ONE social system. The homunculus described by the fancy angloamerican buzzword of "the european welfare state" does not exist!

That many people resort to exploiting this system, that it sometimes suffers from short-sighted mismanagement, that the current economical stagnation (which slowly recovers right now) strains it, that many parts of society lack the commitment to change their situation is a result of the zeitgeist and natural society developments. Social Security is not a decivise factor in this! It has become VERY fashionable to cite the welfare as reason for current problems (also an aspect of current zeitgeist), but it isnt. The reason is Apathy and the lack of progression.

But dont get me wrong, all this doesnt mean that there shall be no discussion about social system, but it should be aimed at optimizing it for current generations - taking into account that some aspects ceased to work properly and that some new developments require attendance. And that is what happens right now.

[edit on 21/1/2006 by Lonestar24]



posted on Jan, 21 2006 @ 09:47 AM
link   

Originally posted by seagull
I love your posts. I learn new things everytime.


- You're very kind, thank you.



I'm sure I've mentioned this before...I love it when my ignorance is exposed by someone who is knowlegeable. Thanks again.


- Spoken like a true scientist and a scholar, sir; it's a rare pleasure.


Ditto.


So, as my personal guru in all things EU


- Whoa steady there matey, let's not get too carried away now, these are just my own views.....



what are the long range goals of the European Union?


- Ha!
Excellent, now I get to 'do' my 'being British Prime Minister' fantasy......

I refer the honourable gentleman to the reply I gave some moments ago (well, anyway, it was further up and posted on 8-12-2005 at 05:21 PM)



My thoughts run to a combination of economic and military security, and as a check to percieved, and unwanted American influence in its affairs. Am I even close?


- Economics absolutely but as for the military side of things we seem to feel so much less anxiety about that than, say, the USA or maybe China. Russia, thankfully, seems much more relaxed these days too.

I think there will be a lot of thought about "unwanted American influence" but by and large despite our (temporary) disagreements we each know we are the other's closest ally and friend.
We may bridle about it from time to time but fundamentally neither of us can deny the truth of that.

What we want is the 'wanted American influence'; we like and go a bundle on equitable cooperation and genuinely mutually beneficial joint ventures.
We tend to get very very 'sniffy' when we think we are being used or getting had, that's all (.....and much the same as anyone else, I expect).


[edit on 21-1-2006 by sminkeypinkey]



posted on Jan, 21 2006 @ 11:03 AM
link   
Sorry 'bout that, got a bit carried away there, but the sentiment remains.

I am glad to see that, at least to your mind, that the disagreements between the EU, and my country are, as ever, temporary. I do agree with that thought. Though some of my more reactionary, if you will, countrymen will not, and do not agree.

I look forward to reading your thoughtful posts, and those of Lonestar, concerning the EU in the future. Thanks kindly.



posted on Jun, 1 2006 @ 12:28 PM
link   
One is a dictatorship with only local democracy. One where the people are their to serve the state and not the other way around. I think that as long as any single one of 22 member states can only have less than 5% direct representation this is kind of inevitable. And think Europe’s leaders weary of this are bound to ultimately conspire against the people.
I see it with a great army, and like all European dictatorships soon or later getting itself involved in a great war.
The European Union will have everyone from the United Kingdom onwards issued with an I.D card containing their photo, DNA, figure prints, eye scan and address. It will have MRI full proof lie detector scanners, to hunt out those who resists, as well as a network of license and face recognising cameras.

That is the vision of Europe I believe in (even if i don't like it).

The other European Union is one waiting to do all this, but unable to. Ideally such a European Union will be little more than a trade association; with only things voted on collectively by members being trade, and quality control. I.e. meaning Europe’s officials will never be able to their dirty hands on our democracy. Sadly I wonder if its time has been and gone (accept for Britain and maybe a few others where EU opposition is particularly strong).

Spelling Edited

[edit on 090705 by Liberal1984]



posted on Jul, 30 2006 @ 03:00 AM
link   
No, I do not want the United States of Europe to be created, I want the states of Europe to be separate, independent states. I want the EU to be only a single market and the freedoms of the flow of people, cargos, services and money should remain.



posted on Jul, 30 2006 @ 09:10 PM
link   
I really learned a lot from reading this thread too, thanks everyone for providing excellent answers!

But I still get the feeling that Europe is of two minds, one that wants to join together to form one nation and another that wants to keep every country separate, also many in-between that want to found some kind of hybrid government. It'll be interesting to see what actually plays out over the next few decades.




top topics



 
0

log in

join