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Like America Europe has its Issues Too.

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posted on Nov, 8 2004 @ 08:39 AM
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Much has been made over the “death of American” democracy and the faults of our system of government. Not only from with in the United States but from all over the world. Europe in particular has had a keen interest in the U.S. political election, to the point of a newspaper in Britain attempting to influence voters in an Ohio county, to the headlines making derogatory comments about those who voted for President Bush. However, despite the criticism leveled at the United States, all is not well in Europe either. This is an interesting piece by a BusinessWeek Online commentator.


Europeans have been transfixed these past frenzied weeks by the U.S. Presidential campaign. Given the blanket coverage from Helsinki to Lisbon, it's almost as if the 2004 Presidential elections were also being held across the European Union (where, according to polls, Senator John Kerry would be savoring a landslide victory over President George W. Bush by now). Through it all, many Europeans have looked at the strangeness of the American political process -- from the billions of campaign dollars spent and the influence of privately financed partisan groups such as MoveOn.org and Swift Boat Veterans for Truth to the tens of thousands of lawyers put on alert to challenge poll results -- and are wondering whether American democracy will emerge unscathed from the ordeal.

It's not the American body politic Europeans ought to be worrying about but their own. U.S. democracy has weathered many a crisis. Europe, in contrast, is still trying to justify the existence of the European Union -- and to prove its value and viability as a democratic, political construct. Yes, the U.S. is split into red and blue states. But the EU is more polarized than ever over key issues affecting its future, from admitting Turkey as a member to adopting a constitution that would vastly expand Brussels' power to set policies in economics, immigration, and judicial cooperation. The rifts are such that integration now risks becoming gridlocked. Worse, some worry that the EU itself could splinter eventually. "I'm starting to be scared," says Ulrike Guerot, a European politics specialist at the German Marshall Fund of the U. S., a public-policy think tank in Berlin.

The extent to which Europe is still a work in progress can be seen in the clash between the European Parliament and Jose Manuel Barroso, the President-designate of the European Commission, the EU's executive body. Barroso chose to withdraw his slate of commissioners on Oct. 27 rather than risk certain rejection at the hands of the 732-strong Parliament. Barroso's inept handling of the crisis turned a relatively minor problem -- the outrage of left-wing parliamentarians over anti-gay sentiments expressed by Italy's Rocco Buttiglione, the proposed Justice Commissioner -- into a bitter institutional clash. Although it was a morale booster for the directly elected Parliament, the dustup underscored how incoherent Europe's institutional checks and balances actually are. Even as a revised commission lineup is being readied for early November, the question of how power is apportioned among the Commission, the Parliament, and national governments is more muddied than ever.
Like America Europe has its Issues Too



[edit on 11/8/04 by FredT]

[edit on 11/8/04 by FredT]




posted on Nov, 8 2004 @ 09:04 AM
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Granted, the countries of Europe have its share of problems and I doubt anybody would say otherwise. However don't make the common mistake of confusing the European Union and its members as being one single nation (not saying you are, Fred). This is far from being the case. Nor is it a realistic ambition or something that is wished for by its members.

Considering the youth of this collaboration and the political as well as cultural differences between the member nations, it is no surprise that there have been difficulties in coming to terms at times.

Personally I'm not a big fan of the EU. However when it comes to the issue of Rocco Buttiglione, I can only say I'm glad the representatives in question weren't afraid to oppose his nomination; despite knowing this would create quite the stir.



posted on Nov, 8 2004 @ 09:25 AM
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Originally posted by FredT
Europe in particular has had a keen interest in the U.S. political election, to the point of a newspaper in Britain attempting to influence voters in an Ohio county


- This isn't quite the story of what went on Fred.

A group of undecided voters in Ohio agreed and signed up to take emails from readers of a UK newspaper, the story got out and everything went nuts.


to the headlines making derogatory comments about those who voted for President Bush.


- Hardly something confined to Europe!



However, despite the criticism leveled at the United States, all is not well in Europe either.


- Well that's putting it extremely strongly.


We're not perfect by any means but that wording is sheer spin.

But heads up; get set for a lot of this kind of story. There are those in the US who are 'concerned' at the independant route the EU is following - not to mention the potential of the Euro and the damage people moving out of $ to it could do the US - and they wil be using their 'friends' around Europe to paint such terrible pictures.

As Durden said the recent fuss over the new commission was actually a very positive thing and would have been seen as such over much of Europe.....in fact anti-EU types are currently bemoaning the ejection of Rocco Buttiglione, on spurious 'free speech' grounds, as this has removed a highly contentious and divisive figure they would have liked to have seen creating trouble in the EU and complained about.....talk about wanting it both ways!

There are those who try to paint the EU as a monolithic unresponsive totalitarian entity (yeah I know, I know, absurd as it is this is how the nutter element actually think) and previously have pointed to the commission as something no-one could say boo to.
Well there's that myth destroyed!





 
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