France tells Czechs to 'know their place' in the EU

Cobol74

Forum Addict
Joined
Mar 21, 2006
Messages
17,507
Location
The banana republic of Ukania
Car(s)
Honda Accord 2.2 i-Dtec Sport Estate.Hyundai Ix20
Gold plating legislation it is called. Unfortunately for us we like doing that, and following the laws - where as no one else (Germany and Sweden excepted) does.

There is a myth that millions of jobs depend upon being in the EU but as we have closed down manufacturing this is not longer the case 'cos if you do not make anything what is the point of having access to a market? All we have done is given access to our market and at the same time pay for it all.

I will be voting for the EU when Strasborg is closed and moved to Reading (yes that is right when hell freezes over) - and we can have our fish back. Oh and when the EU accounts are signed off by the auditor. If the EU was a business it would have been prosecuted and the board put in gaol.
 

Peter3hg

Forum Addict
Joined
May 3, 2006
Messages
5,949
Location
Manchester, UK
Car(s)
Audi A3 1.4 TFSI Honda Hornet CB600S
Most of the problem I have is that when they spew out their useless laws the French and Spanish and Germans etc just ignore them and get on with whatever they want to do. But the cretins in power here implement every little thing - often with an extra bit on top...

Apart from that is a complete and utter myth and a typical Daily Mail point of view. The country most guilty of ignoring EU decisions is almost certainly Britain, we get taken to court all the time.
 

un-dee

I hate your sig!
Joined
May 21, 2004
Messages
1,488
Location
Frankfurt, Germany
Car(s)
Golf IV 2.0
Ok guys, you wanted to hear it. Good things the EU brought us:

- Schengen, reducing cost because only the EU border has to be enforced, and you can move freely inside the EU
- You have the right to settle in every EU country if you like to do so
- Though you guys seem to hate it, the EU ensures that we have cheap food everywhere and don't depend on global fluctuations of food prices
- Free trade, thats a very important point. It's good for exporting nations like Germany because its easier to market products, its also good for importing nations like the Uk because they get cheaper prices. Which you will need during the coming crisis, after turning the whole nation into a big hedge fund.
- EU-wide the same regulations and norms, also helping international trade a lot.
- The Euro: Pay with the same money in most EU member states, no need to convert currencies. And even better, enterprises don't have to undergo the risk of fluctuating exchange rates when investing in other EU member countries, also contributing economic growth.
- EU-wide cooperation in law enforcement

Those are just from the top of my head now, and most of the points lead to the constant growth we had in the EU for the last decades.

There are points about the EU i don't like, especially the buerocracy and some stupid regulations. You have to consider though that compared to the government bodies of the single member states the EU just costs a miniscule amount because its only there once, so as an individual citizen you probably pay a lot more for, lets say, entering London with your car once.
Another problem is that their decisions don't undergo a normal democratic process (which is the member states fault, because everybody wanted their right to veto everything making it impossible to have a normal functioning parliament)
Also to the brits complaining: As the _only_ EU state you get two thirds of your net payment back for not being an agricultural nation, so you don't have to pay for the french all that much.

All in all, when you try to dig a bit deeper into economics you find that the EU is a great invention and brought almost all members a lot of wealth, it just lacks a good communications department, because the things about the EU that are annoying are easier to understand for the average guy - which is a problem.
But let me say this, if the UK would decide to leave the EU I am very sure you wouldn't look into a very bright future.
 

Cobol74

Forum Addict
Joined
Mar 21, 2006
Messages
17,507
Location
The banana republic of Ukania
Car(s)
Honda Accord 2.2 i-Dtec Sport Estate.Hyundai Ix20
- Schengen, we did not sign
- You have the right to settle in every EU country if you like to do so - do not speak any other language no use to me.
- Though you guys seem to hate it, the EU ensures that we have cheap food everywhere and don't depend on global fluctuations of food prices - at the cost of putting third world farmers out of business many of whom used to be in the British Empire from where we got our cheap food before going in. Which was cheaper than yours and still would be.
- Free trade - yep my job is going to India/Vietnam thanks Free Trade. Also see the comments about selling into France (Lamb) and Germany from the Czek Republic.
- EU-wide the same regulations and norms - no they are not, when did you last buy a pint of milk or beer? We have had to change everything to satisfy YOUR Norm, no one changed anything for our NORMS.
- The Euro: PASS not in and the French will not let us in at the present exchange rate - you guys have fallen for a French Trick!
- EU-wide cooperation in law enforcement - we have that with the United States and we do not have to pay them a red cent - see what I did there? EU wide criminals too!

Give us back our bloody Fish you EU thieves. Common Fisheries policy which is: Britain gives all their fish to everyone else.

No its all crap and costs me too much and when its all going horribly wrong all the member states let the Brits stand up and say no whilst they all thought what ever the idea was was crap but knew we'd stop it so they can keep their EU credentials - well enough is enough - Give me one thing we get out of it, just one real thing?
 
Last edited:

AiR

Forum Addict
Joined
Dec 19, 2005
Messages
11,985
Location
Suecia
Car(s)
Bulgogi Knedliky 1.6 GDI (Hyundai i30)
- Schengen, reducing cost because only the EU border has to be enforced, and you can move freely inside the EU
Sure it's convenient. It's also very convenient for smugglers.
- You have the right to settle in every EU country if you like to do so
Fair point.
- Though you guys seem to hate it, the EU ensures that we have cheap food everywhere and don't depend on global fluctuations of food prices
It's also kept farmers in Africa and South America poor by making sure they cannot compete with subsidized european farmers. According to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization report from november, food costs twice as much today as it did in the year 2000.
- Free trade, thats a very important point. It's good for exporting nations like Germany because its easier to market products, its also good for importing nations like the Uk because they get cheaper prices. Which you will need during the coming crisis, after turning the whole nation into a big hedge fund.
Your points are valid. But this also brought the bizarre move of production between memberstates. I remember for instance the move of production of door cards for Volvo from just outside the factory to the Czech republic because it was cheaper to truck it from the Czech republic. Then fuel prices shoot up and a year later the production moved back. Not to mention the enviromental impact of an additional just-in-time supply from a 1000km away. There are plenty of other examples of this.
- EU-wide the same regulations and norms, also helping international trade a lot.
"The bend on cucumbers must not exceed 20mm per every 10cm of cucumber." No I didnt make that one up. That is in a PDF from the Agricultural Department.
- The Euro: Pay with the same money in most EU member states, no need to convert currencies. And even better, enterprises don't have to undergo the risk of fluctuating exchange rates when investing in other EU member countries, also contributing economic growth.
Denmark, Sweden and Great Britain, the countries that do not want the Euro have shown a growth that in the case of Denmark matches and in the case of Sweden and Great Britain far exceeds the growth of the members of the monetary union while keeping unemployment figures well below the Euro average (data from the World Bank, 1999-2006).
In this time of crisis, I am particulary pleased that we can use our own currency to help ourselves out of this situation. We depend on export and a weak krona helps our companies. The European Central Bank have a dire task ahead of them trying to find a middle way that suits all of the members. I am confident our recovery will be smoother and quicker due to our independant currency.
- EU-wide cooperation in law enforcement
Very little difference in reality.
 
Last edited:

un-dee

I hate your sig!
Joined
May 21, 2004
Messages
1,488
Location
Frankfurt, Germany
Car(s)
Golf IV 2.0
- Schengen, we did not sign

And thats the EU's fault?

- You have the right to settle in every EU country if you like to do so - do not speak any other language no use to me.

English is tought in pretty much all schools EU wide. I've been to Spain recently and had no problem communicating in English, speaking not a word of Spanish myself.

- Though you guys seem to hate it, the EU ensures that we have cheap food everywhere and don't depend on global fluctuations of food prices - at the cost of putting third world farmers out of business many of whom used to be in the British Empire from where we got our cheap food before going in. Which was cheaper than yours and still would be.

The demise of the British Empire has nothing to do with the EU. I give you the problem of putting 3rd world farmers out of business, but thats a moral problem. At the one hand you say you want the jobs to stay in your country, which the agricultural policy ensures, on the other hand you want to be nice to thirld world farmers. Moral dilemma.

- Free trade - yep my job is going to India/Vietnam thanks Free Trade. Also see the comments about selling into France (Lamb) and Germany from the Czek Republic.

India/Vietnam is not part of the EU. Also, while it might be regrettable for single persons to lose their jobs, the companies will be able to lower their costs, which will lead to either lower prices or higher revenues.

- EU-wide the same regulations and norms - no they are not, when did you last buy a pint of milk or beer? We have had to change everything to satisfy YOUR Norm, no one changed anything for our NORMS.

You are mixing up things there. I am talking about industrial norming, like for instance using the same types of screws in all member states, also increasing efficiency.

- The Euro: PASS not in and the French will not let us in at the present exchange rate - you guys have fallen for a French Trick!

Fallen for what? Although there was some moaning when the Euro was introduced in 2002, it all went smoothly since then and we had no problems whatsoever. The Euro is rising in importance worldwide and is already the second most used reserve currency after the USD, tendency rising.

- EU-wide cooperation in law enforcement - we have that with the United States and we do not have to pay them a red cent - see what I did there? EU wide criminals too!

What should I respond to this. Neither you nor I are police officers or have any knowledge about the success. Just randomly stating it doesn't make a difference because you don't like the EU won't help your argument.

Give us back our bloody Fish you EU thieves. Common Fisheries policy which is: Britain gives all their fish to everyone else.

Yes the fishing industry, strong arm of the British economy. I agree you guys have a problem there, but I don't see any effort on behalf of your country to change how things are working.

No its all crap and costs me too much and when its all going horribly wrong all the member states let the Brits stand up and say no whilst they all thought what ever the idea was was crap but knew we'd stop it so they can keep their EU credentials - well enough is enough - Give me one thing we get out of it, just one real thing?

Since you will discredit all my points anyway, I don't see how we can come to a conclusion there.
 

un-dee

I hate your sig!
Joined
May 21, 2004
Messages
1,488
Location
Frankfurt, Germany
Car(s)
Golf IV 2.0
Sure it's convenient. It's also very convenient for smugglers.
Well that's a point where you have to trade between freedom and a tiny bit of security. I'd rather be able to move freely than passing control posts everywhere I go. You could also say that by installing border patrols on the borders of every local county you will be hindering smuggling a lot, but you'd be generating a lot of cost and limit freedom.

It's also kept farmers in Africa and South America poor by making sure they cannot compete with subsidized european farmers. According to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization report from november, food costs twice as much today as it did in the year 2000.
See my reply to cobol. And you will notice that the food prices in your local supermarket won't have doubled since 2000, and thats what I'm talking about.

Your points are valid. But this also brought the bizarre move of production between memberstates. I remember for instance the move of production of door cards for Volvo from just outside the factory to the Czech republic because it was cheaper to truck it from the Czech republic. Then fuel prices shoot up and a year later the production moved back. Not to mention the enviromental impact of an additional just-in-time supply from a 1000km away. There are plenty of other examples of this.
I'd rather say thats the result of very poor planning by the companies who shifted their production, and these side effects are a general problem of globalization. But by keeping it in the EU we make sure that the money stays in the EU, maybe buying goods from your country afterwards. If you don't it might happen that in 10 years a producer from China will just make the same parts for 1/5th of the price, driving the company out of business completely. We need the EU for the coming challenges by emerging markets like China. We won't be able to compete against them everyone by themself.

"The bend on cucumbers must not exceed 20mm per every 10cm of cucumber." No I didnt make that one up. That is in a PDF from the Agricultural Department.
I agree that bureacracy is a problem, but to avoid this every country has their own norms about everything, maybe some a bit slimmer and some to the same extent as the EU now. But it will be a much larger pain in the ass if you want to market your products in multiple states at the same time, having to adapt to every single of them.

Denmark, Sweden and Great Britain, the countries that do not want the Euro have shown a growth that in the case of Denmark matches and in the case of Sweden and Great Britain far exceeds the growth of the members of the monetary union while keeping unemployment figures well below the Euro average (data from the World Bank, 1999-2006).
I agree with your facts, but I don't think you got them the right way around. The reason these countries didn't want to join is mostly because their economies are/were going so well and they feared that they have to give up some of that.

In this time of crisis, I am particulary pleased that we can use our own currency to help ourselves out of this situation. We depend on export and a weak krona helps our companies. The European Central Bank have a dire task ahead of them trying to find a middle way that suits all of the members. I am confident our recovery will be smoother and quicker due to our independant currency.
A lower exchange rate only helps exports in the short term. Artificially low exchange rates just create inflation, making all the inhabitants of your country poorer. Also it is a point of much dispute whether a Central Bank should use their instruments politically. The past has shown that this creates more problems than it solves, and thats why the ECB is completely decoupled from any political influency, pretty much exactly like the old german Bundesbank.
 

teeb

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 23, 2005
Messages
3,497
Location
Bordeaux, France.
Car(s)
old Saab 9-3 coup?
- Schengen, we did not sign

and it's a pain in the butt every time I go to another European country

EU-wide the same regulations and norms - no they are not, when did you last buy a pint of milk or beer? We have had to change everything to satisfy YOUR Norm, no one changed anything for our NORMS.

I bought a pint of cider last night, thank you.

And I would argue that certain measurements (such as ounces/pounds/stone) are illogical and annoying anyway, since they're not based around tens (1000g = 1 kg etc).
 

Dogbert

Helsinki Smash Rod
Joined
Nov 15, 2008
Messages
6,458
Location
N38? 43', W90? 22'
Car(s)
Roger Dean's Rocks
</constructive> <Godwin>
You know, Hitler had his own European Union going for a while... and we all know how that went...
 

CyberMonkey

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2005
Messages
2,068
Location
Belgium
I didn't follow the discussion nor do I have a good view on all the pros and cons of the EU, but I do know how it started: as a way to avoid a devastating war ever to happen again on European territory, based on economic cooperation. For that reason alone I give most shady aspects of the EU the benefit of the doubt and I do have the impression that most politicians involved with the EU really do care about the European concept.
 

klankymen

BLT Master
Joined
Jun 3, 2008
Messages
3,300
Location
M?nchen, K?nigreich Bayern
Car(s)
plastic Japanese iPod dock on wheels
as a way to avoid a devastating war ever to happen again on European territory, based on economic cooperation. For that reason alone I give most shady aspects of the EU the benefit of the doubt

Probably a good idea, when one's country exists solely for the purpose of being a place for England and Germany to fight in. :p
 

MacGuffin

Forum Addict
Joined
Mar 29, 2008
Messages
8,318
Location
Wilhelmshaven, Germany
Car(s)
'17 Ford Mustang GT Fastback
To all those who oppose or do not like the EU: There is nobody holding your country back from leaving the EU.

But no one does. Why?

Ah, because the advantages of being in are still so huge, aren't they? ;)

So why the bawling? Get a grip on yourself. Europe can only survive the 21st century economically, when it is united. Otherwise we'd see some countries still prosper, while others go down into poverty.

Me being a sentimental person, I have my own, personal reason why I like the EU: When I drive to visit a friend in Den Haag, there is still a border to cross. But there is no checkpoint anymore. In fact, the only way to notice that you entered another country, is the sign by the road saying "Welcome to The Netherlands". You can drive from here to the south of Spain or to Italy without any border controls. Having grown up near the Iron Curtain, I find that astonishing.

Looking back on our European history of wars, strict borderlines and selfish protectionism, I truely believe that the EU is a magnificent institution. It isn't perfect (then again: what is?) but it will constantly improve in time.

And just imagine this current financial crisis would have hit us without the Euro as common currency. Currency speculation can be a killer. I wouldn't be surprised if some of the reluctant countries, who don't share the common currency yet, will hastily jump on the Euro train in the near future, because otherwise they might be left behind...

If Europe should get out of this current crisis in an o.k. state, it is definitely because we have the European Union.
 
Last edited:

the Interceptor

I LUV MY PRIUS!!!
Joined
Feb 22, 2005
Messages
6,041
Location
ze Vaterland
Car(s)
VW Diesel of Death
To all those who oppose or do not like the EU: There is nobody holding your country back from leaving the EU.

But no one does. Why?

Ah, because the advantages of being in are still so huge, aren't they? ;)
Sorry, but that's a bit like It hit you in the face, but it's okay because you can just hit me back.

I stay in Germany because it is my home. The EU has not made it unbearable to live here, not enough to go anyway. It might look worse that it actually is, but that's because of a general problem: the press. Since they have reduced their work to shedding light on the bad side of things, people only get to hear the disadvantages.
 

MacGuffin

Forum Addict
Joined
Mar 29, 2008
Messages
8,318
Location
Wilhelmshaven, Germany
Car(s)
'17 Ford Mustang GT Fastback
I was talking about countries, not persons ;)

But otherwise I agree with you: The media is usually only reporting the bad stuff, especially in those countries who still don't want to integrate so much. As a result in countries like Britain you find the press being completely dominated by anti-EU biased views.

And whenever there is a national referendum anywhere, polemics and demagogues run amok, drawing ridiculous horror pictures for the population, playing with the fears of people, who sadly tend to believe the populists, mostly due to being completely ignorant about the EU :(

If it was up to me, there should be a class in schools all over Europe, that informs about the history of the EU, what it's done, what it is and what it wants to become.

But I guess we have to accept that there are two types of member countries: Those who joined the EU because they believe in the idea, recognizing that European integration is a vital part of our common future and that the vision is worth accepting a few disadvantages along the way.

And then there are those who simply see the EU pragmatically as an instrument to gain profit, privileges and economical progress, which they otherwise wouldn't be able to get.

Strangely the latter ones, the countries that take most profit of the EU, are the most reluctant ones when it comes to more integration.

But the problem will eventually be sorted out, the European integration will stride ahead. Some may left behind but if they prefer to live on an island, so be it ;)
 

H0nzik

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 15, 2006
Messages
911
Location
Prague, Czech Republic
Car(s)
Focus 2.0 TDCi, MX-5 NC 2.0
MacGuffin:
I sure do appreciate the free movement and all, the symbolic value of it is even bigger in the new member states, there's no denying that.

It's funny that you mention protectionism. While protectionism has been significantly reduced within the EU, the EU remains highly protectionst to the outside world.

The Euro is a questionable affair. It brings some obvious advantages, but lots of the possible problems would only become obvious in the longer run. The matter of fact is, that the eurozone hasn't really experienced a period of strong economic growth ever since it was created. The main problem of the Euro is that you only have one monetary policy for everyone, while the member states are not all in the same macroeconomic situation and they are also likely to react in different ways to the changes in the monery policy. This will be an even bigger problem for the new member states and I'm really looking forward to see how Slovakia will do. Another issue for the new member states is the long-term appreciation of real exchange rates, due to our price levels catching up with old member states. This has been happening through the appreciation of the nominal exchange rates, but since this will no longer be possible with the adoption of the Euro, the only channel left for real appreciation will be inflation and thus the new member states, which will adpopt the Euro now, will have to get ready for years of high inflation.
In the times of crisis, our own currency also protects us from populist governments of the other member states that declare 'ulimited' guarantees on deposists in an attempt to suck up some foreign deposits into their troubled banks.
Our exchange rate has been rather unstable ever since the mortgage crisis broke out - massive appreciation at first and a less massive depreciation when it became obvious that the crisis has moved over to Europe - it is rather inconvenient for foreign trade but it's not unbearable. Besides, a moderate depreciation in the times of a crisis is generally a good thing - it improves the competetiveness of the domestic companies and again that's one of the things that's not possible in the Eurozone.
As far as the countries with their own currencies that got into more serious trouble (Iceland, Hungary...) are concerned, it was not their own currency that got them into trouble in the first place, it was the government polices, ignoring long term external imbalances, budget defitcits, the lot. If you think mismanged countries should be joining the eurozone, then I wish you good luck.

All in all, I think that everyone should consider the pros and cons of the Euro and decide carefully whether to adopt it or not. There certainly are many more things to consider than your love or hate towards the EU.

As far as the EU as such is concerned, I don't want it to die, but being aware of its benefits doesn't mean that we should be happy with its faults. I want more liberties like the Schengen agreement and less socialist/green regulations we're getting now.
 
  • Like
Reactions: AiR

AiR

Forum Addict
Joined
Dec 19, 2005
Messages
11,985
Location
Suecia
Car(s)
Bulgogi Knedliky 1.6 GDI (Hyundai i30)
Germany's overwhelmingly positive attitude to the EU has natural causes. It's the same cause that make Angela Merkel the only european leader to side with Israel in the current conflict in the Gaza strip.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vgAi7DYHA94
 
Last edited:

MacGuffin

Forum Addict
Joined
Mar 29, 2008
Messages
8,318
Location
Wilhelmshaven, Germany
Car(s)
'17 Ford Mustang GT Fastback
The Euro is a questionable affair. It brings some obvious advantages, but lots of the possible problems would only become obvious in the longer run.

Well, it's been the official currency within the EU since 1999. Isn't 10 years already a long run? I remember Euro critics predicting a steep drop after its launch and that it would be a big disaster - but instead it came to be the most reliable currency in the world and I predict it will sooner or later replace the U.S. Dollar as leading currency. Where are those critics now? Somewhere in a hole, I presume, together with the blokes who recommended entrusting Lehman Brothers with your money.

The matter of fact is, that the eurozone hasn't really experienced a period of strong economic growth ever since it was created.

Neither have the USA or Japan. The only real economical growth in the past decade happened in China and Southeast Asia. Even more reason to stand united for the future. While I'm sure that Germany still could compete on its own with the new rising powers in the East, the majority of the EU member countries surely couldn't. Only together Europe is strong and only together is granted, that some countries won't fall behind, creating unbalances and disruptions within Europe - which is the last thing you'd want, considering the bloody European history.

The main problem of the Euro is that you only have one monetary policy for everyone, while the member states are not all in the same macroeconomic situation and they are also likely to react in different ways to the changes in the monery policy.

Well, that is exactly the reason why the Euro was introduced in the first place. You cannot be serious with turning that around against it now, can you?

This will be an even bigger problem for the new member states and I'm really looking forward to see how Slovakia will do. Another issue for the new member states is the long-term appreciation of real exchange rates, due to our price levels catching up with old member states. This has been happening through the appreciation of the nominal exchange rates, but since this will no longer be possible with the adoption of the Euro, the only channel left for real appreciation will be inflation and thus the new member states, which will adpopt the Euro now, will have to get ready for years of high inflation.

Here I must agree with you. I share the opinion, that the EU has overcranked it with accepting more members from the former Eastern Block, than it can swallow at the moment, since there are until now no instruments to effectively manage the bigger EU. They will come in time for sure, but there will with no doubt be a lot of teeth grinding on the way.

You cannot ignore the political necessities, however. Integrating the former Eastern Block countries into the EU as fast as possible prevents the development of a divided Europe, where economical differences would lead to political tensions and most of all the creation of permanent low-income countries, which is in nobody's interest.

In the times of crisis, our own currency also protects us from populist governments of the other member states that declare 'ulimited' guarantees on deposists in an attempt to suck up some foreign deposits into their troubled banks.

I cannot say anything to that but I do not know any "populist governments" within Europe, maybe with the exception of the Italian and the Polish governments ;)

Our exchange rate has been rather unstable ever since the mortgage crisis broke out - massive appreciation at first and a less massive depreciation when it became obvious that the crisis has moved over to Europe - it is rather inconvenient for foreign trade but it's not unbearable.

Well, we're still at the beginning of the crisis...

Besides, a moderate depreciation in the times of a crisis is generally a good thing - it improves the competetiveness of the domestic companies and again that's one of the things that's not possible in the Eurozone.

Only if it's a short term thing. On the long run it damages the economy, because companies can get around the monetary imponderables by producing goods within the target market, competing with and possibly destroying/replacing native industries in the process - see the U.S. car industry at the moment for a present example.

I'm not a political economist (always hated that subject) but I have learned (and the experiences of my home country prove it), that in the long run a solid currency is better and more desirable, than a roller coaster currency.

As far as the countries with their own currencies that got into more serious trouble (Iceland, Hungary...) are concerned, it was not their own currency that got them into trouble in the first place, it was the government polices, ignoring long term external imbalances, budget defitcits, the lot. If you think mismanged countries should be joining the eurozone, then I wish you good luck.

Of course I do not want them to join now, when they are in such a bad shape. Nobody wants that. They have to do their homework first. But I dare saying that Iceland in particular wouldn't be in such big trouble, if it had been a member of the EU.

All in all, I think that everyone should consider the pros and cons of the Euro and decide carefully whether to adopt it or not. There certainly are many more things to consider than your love or hate towards the EU.

As far as the EU as such is concerned, I don't want it to die, but being aware of its benefits doesn't mean that we should be happy with its faults. I want more liberties like the Schengen agreement and less socialist/green regulations we're getting now.

Well, the fact that the EU still exists, grows larger and is a most desirable club to be a member of for countries who haven't joined yet, I'd say that it is a success and that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages by far -- both on an intellectual/historical/ethnic and an economical level.

But I agree (and have said so), that there are faults which have to be dealt with. Only it would be a terrible mistake to conclude from these faults, that the EU itself is a bad institution. Rather it should be a stimulus to make it better, so that the big dream really works in the end.

Because with the exception of a few extreme rightwing populists, nobody really denies that the European integration is a desirable process to guarantee peace and prosperity in Europe for the future.

^ Very reasonable.

Wait till you pay in more than you get out and your taxes rise to help, say, Greece, France or Spain who start off richer than you in the first place - then let us see how reasonable you think the EU is.

If you refer to Britain, then I must disappoint you. Britain is not a big net payer in the EU, not even by a long shot. As a matter of fact, Britain is together with Finland on the borderline between paying and receiving payment.

If you crack it up to payments per inhabitant, every British citizen pays 25 Euros each year for membership in the EU, while for example French citizens pay 48 Euros and the Dutch 162 Euros per citizen. And you don't hear them complain, do you? (the numbers are of 2005, btw.)

25 Euros each year for membership in the EU - people pay higher annual membership fees for being in far more useless clubs than that...

I really don't understand what it is with the British aversion against the EU: "We're most thankful for the benefits. But don't dare requesting something of us in return, because we will refuse". That is not how I define fair play, you know.

If you really have a problem with paying 25 Euros per year, consider it charity for helping less wealthy people in Europe, so you can spend your holidays or buy a holiday home at the Mediterranean (for which you do not have to go through customs or apply for a permit of residence anymore, btw.) within the same modern, lush environment and infrastructure, that you are used from home -- only with better weather :)

Germany's overwhelmingly positive attitude to the EU has natural causes. It's the same cause that make Angela Merkel the only european leader to side with Israel in the current conflict in the Gaza strip.

If you refer to the proverbal bad conscience of the German people due to the 12 year reign of terror over Europe, then I agree with you, that it played a role in the 1950's, when the precursor of the EU was created. The goal back then also was to bind Germany tightly into Europe, so it wouldn't be able to go berserk again in the future.

But frankly that is thinking from the past and we are nowadays above such considerations, with the second post-war generation at the rudder. There still seem to be a few countries who have reservations towards Germany but frankly that is mostly a lack of coming to terms with the past in those countries and therefore not our problem.

Of course historical considerations still play a role in everything that we do (and I suspect they always will), but their real influence in daily politics on a national and international level is getting weaker and weaker with each passing year. You could see with your own eyes at the soccer world cup in 2006, how much the public consciousness has changed in Germany, for the better, not the worse. Even the British tabloids were impressed -- and that means something :)

Germany's relationship with Israel, however, will always be a special one and I'm sure, that absolutely everybody can and will understand that.
 
Last edited:
Top