Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
From what I understand, the whole point of the EU is to economically compete with large markets like the US, China, Southeast Asia.  Slice it anyway you want, but that is why countries want to join. Not mutual defense.

Globalisation is certainly one factor and mutual defense is only beginning to be addressed.  But you miss all the other things - regional development, sectoral development, environmental policies, human rights, security cooperation - and all the things that are best handled on a Europe wide basis.

You forget a few things about the EU.

  1. Its budget is only c. 1% of GDP
  2. It's "bureaucracy" is about the size of Birmingham City council
  3.  ALL of the areas of policy it addresses are areas which ALL EU governments have ASKED it to address in various treaties.

It then suits various Government to "Blame" the EU Bureaucracy for unpopular proposals and deflect popular criticism from themselves.  In fact EU Governments actively push difficult policy areas to EU level to distance themselves from what they know is the rational and likely outcome.  

Your Tuscan friends are buying into this game.  The reality is Italy would be a basket case without the EU and the Euro - and is in significant difficulty even with them.  Alitalia has more debts than it has assets despite massive (illegal) Government subvention and support.

The reality is all EU policies are agreed by EU Governments.  Some suit some members better than others, and so a lot of horse-trading takes place.  You get a lot of messy compromises - a bit like the US Budgetary process.

If anything it is too easy for a particularly short sighted or self-interested Government to block necessary proposals.  The evidence presented by the surveys cited here is that most Europeans view the EU positively, would like to take a more active role in many areas, and support its enlargement.

Far from being governed by an unaccountable bureaucracy, most people actively support and vote for the policies which have been implemented.  I have argued long and hard that the level of transparency, accountability and efficiency in decision making needs to be radically improved as the EU grows larger and deeper.

You say that Americans are individualists and want to restrict the power of Government as much a possible.  Europeans see Americans as being ruled by corporations, the military/industrial complex, private interest groups and lobbyists, and would prefer to be ruled by an inefficient Government rather than an unaccountable corporation.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Dec 16th, 2007 at 03:29:16 PM EST
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