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I think that a lot of people equate the euro to the European Union, and the EU to peace and prosperity in western Europe... Some people also conflate the EU with the Council of Europe while these are two different institutions (whithout any link in membership).

To a certain degree, this is true. But it has always seemed to me to be forgetful of others stability factors that maintain peace between the western Europe nations: nuclear weapons in France and Britain for a start.

by Xavier in Paris on Mon Feb 9th, 2015 at 08:30:35 AM EST
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While I can understand the fetish of American Liberals with the Federal level (indeed many good things in the USA are federal in nature: Civil Rights act, Roe vs Wade, New Deal, ...) I completely fail to understand what (some) European left-wingers see in the EU.

The European welfare states were created at the national level (indeed you can easily see how things like universal health-provision vary radically in their models from country to country) and most of the civilizational achievements were made independently at the national level (social security, education, ...). The "European" part of these achievements was mostly through inspiration from country to country. Other then (arguably important things) like free movement there is little to associate the EU with "prosperity".

On the other hand, I do not think it is difficult to find many examples where the EU is sinking many of the good European achievements.

by cagatacos on Mon Feb 9th, 2015 at 08:49:45 AM EST
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I believe the setup of the european Union has changed considerably since 1956.

Jean Monnet, the french banker responsible for a lot of the EU treaties, has been a huge promotor of state-dominated economical flux during the first world war. In the WW1, he proposed and got a reorganisation of the naval transportation by ordering private companies to form convoys and to transport goods that were deemed necessary by the state war plans, against a former liberalism of the sea, which allowed merchant shipowners choose the goods to transport, including weapons, and balancing them for maximum profit.

So a banker grown up in a very liberalized world before ww1, who saw the interest in a state regulated economy. He came back to his banking (including a fair bit of murky banking) between the two wars and then again to state regulation, at an international level when drafting the European Union treaties (think Euratom and CECA).

Since then, we have lost a lot of the regulation bit (appart in a "whatever is permitted in any EU country is allowed everywhere" way), and gain a lot of liberalization. But I don't believe it to be a beforehand destiny.

by Xavier in Paris on Mon Feb 9th, 2015 at 09:54:20 AM EST
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Not predestined, indeed. It was ideological capture by neoliberals in the 80s and 90s that doomed the EU as a progressive project.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Feb 9th, 2015 at 11:51:35 AM EST
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And would probably have doomed all the national welfare states anyway - I'm not sure if dismantling EU regulations slowed that down or not, at least until the euro crisis and austerity.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Feb 9th, 2015 at 11:59:33 AM EST
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Thats what happens if you have a single point that you need to capture. Imposing that agenda on a pan-European scale would have been next to impossible if the power rested on individual nation states. Capture becomes much easier this way.

Now, sometimes capture goes the right way (again some American examples come to mind). But to be quite frank, the whole notion of capture seems profoundly anti-democratic in any case.

by cagatacos on Mon Feb 9th, 2015 at 12:04:24 PM EST
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Imposing that agenda on a pan-European scale would have been next to impossible if the power rested on individual nation states.

This is, of course, not true. The claims of parochial provincialism notwithstanding.

If you want a model for Europe without the EU, look at the relationship between the EU and Norway, then replace the EU by the US, and Norway by the envisioned gaggle of pint-sized jokes pretending to be sovereign states.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Feb 9th, 2015 at 03:18:05 PM EST
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And IMHO even that is too optimistic. If the nationalistic escapades within the EU framework are any indication, a Europe without EU means war, with 100% certainty: there is nothing to stop escalations.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Feb 9th, 2015 at 04:43:36 PM EST
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Imposing that agenda on a pan-European scale would have been next to impossible

Beg your pardon!? Non-EU Europe, Latin America, Africa, Asia: the neo-liberal agenda was imposed almost everywhere quite successfully, and in not just a few instances more radically than anywhere even in the post-Lehman EU. Some hints at how it works: IMF, shock therapy, race to the bottom.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Feb 9th, 2015 at 04:47:48 PM EST
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