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Not every country.

Plus, there are vectors of disease, and there are those prone to the disease. I'd separate the vectors of the disease from those who catch it.

Source? US without a doubt. Vectors into the EU? UK (arguable a source if not a host), Ireland and Iceland. Arguably also the Netherlands and Denmark for good measure.

There are other trojan horses...Blair and the UK knew what they were doing with rapid accession of former Warsaw pact nations, but all in all (though the egregious behavior of the Czech and Polish Republics sometimes makes this hard to say, and it's understandable why Chirac would have a hard time with this as well) their history excuses them, and anyway, they've most of them large constituencies of people like ourselves, who know something other than neo-liberalism and are starting to tire of their experiences with it.

The Anglo-British countries in the EU, and the other mostly protestant countries of northwestern europe...they don't have the excuse of history, and have for generations shown their fondness for social organisation which I would say is anathema to the Europe I want to see. So no, I don't cut them slack.

And a few political leaders who, upon extreme political-economic stresses, find themselves in a generationally abberrant position of potential power, I don't see this as the stable expression of vox populi. And, unless European political and economic institutions become overnight robust enough to supplant national ones in matters social, economic, military and diplomatic, I don't really want any nation in the EU whose core popular values do not comprehensively mirror my own. That's a simple political preference, I know, but it's important to me that, if we are going to imagine the Ukraine, Turkey or Morocco not sufficiently European for admission into the EU, we be very clear why not, and apply the rule equitably. And, in so doing, find certain other applicants also not particularly worthy.

And, also, kick a few out.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Mon Feb 2nd, 2009 at 04:14:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
redstar:
The Anglo-British countries in the EU, and the other mostly protestant countries of northwestern europe...they don't have the excuse of history, and have for generations shown their fondness for social organisation which I would say is anathema to the Europe I want to see. So no, I don't cut them slack.

No doubt you've written a few Diaries about what you would like to see, but which countries in the EU come closest to your vision?

redstar:

And, also, kick a few out.

And after kicking a few out, which ones do you reckon should be left? In order of preference, maybe?

Strictly no snark here: I'm genuinely interested.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Mon Feb 2nd, 2009 at 06:11:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The only diary I've directly written on the subject was my first one ever, which I think also may have been the biggest food fight I ever started. It's really about how federal Europe must become in order to be economically cohesive, with a large enough federal budget to do regional income transfers and investment schemes properly and thereby make all of us prosperous.

Italy is probably the first country I think of when wondering what they hell are they doing in the EU. Lack of respect for and protection of ethnic minorities of the sort Turkey has been kept at arms length for years. Vast, institutionalised under Berlusconi, public corruption. Exceedingly unfree press. Unabashed official re-embrace of its fascist past, the sort of thing which practically made Austria a pariah two decades ago (funny how timpes change). Seriously crappy economy a drag on all neighbors in its what, fourth recession in the past decade or so?
If Italy is in, so should Turkey be, or Serbia, or Croatia, why not Albania or Macedonia?

There are other countries whose commitment to Europe has always been suspect, notably the UK, which is why its accession was initially (and properly in my view) vetoes. The UK ever since has been a hindrance to greater EU integration, advancement of EU institutions all the while introducing quite a lot of discord via its Eastern strategy. But that's an obvious target and anyhow, most of the Eastern nations are core Europe, so we need to address that integration, it's not their fault they were hostages for decades in the US proxy war against the Soviet Union, and they need now help, not that the UK would have anything to do with such help.

Countries closest to my vision in Europe? France, Spain, Belgium, Germany, Sweden, Finland, Norway. Not all in the EU today. All in need of some reform after a couple of decades of neo-liberal experimentation (often introduced by social democrats claiming to have the people's interests at heart) but all with a long tradition of proper state control of industry, of historically well-run institutions of solidarity and with varying degrees, often expressed throught history via means other than the ballot, of popular support for and requirement of equality and solidarity. To these, no doubt many of the central and eastern-European new entrants also have a recent history of proper state involvement in the economy, egalitarianism, and solidarity and, while most of these nations went on their own often times extreme implementation of the neo-liberal economic consensus, as the Baltics are now seeing, there's a price for this, and it's not worth paying. So while they do not today correspond to where I think Europe should be going, I do think they will end up there.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Tue Feb 3rd, 2009 at 05:17:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Diary!

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 3rd, 2009 at 05:18:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for the encouragement.

I'll throw something up there when I get home, it's half written already, related to the economic storm brewing right now. Unfortunately have to work the rest of the day!

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Tue Feb 3rd, 2009 at 05:47:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Definitely a Diary there...

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Tue Feb 3rd, 2009 at 05:24:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
outstanding overview, thanks redstar!

now to read the links about italy...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Feb 3rd, 2009 at 05:33:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
redstar:
The Anglo-British countries in the EU, and the other mostly protestant countries of northwestern europe...they don't have the excuse of history, and have for generations shown their fondness for social organisation which I would say is anathema to the Europe I want to see. So no, I don't cut them slack.

excellently put.

america, russia and china are all embracing totalitarianism and rule by fear, intimidating their own people from free expression of dissent.

we have a real chance in europe of doing it differently, so i resent the efforts of neo-libs here to 'reform' our ways so they reflect the needs of big business, and their blind seeking of profit-uber-alles, at great cost to the majority.

we are seeing the havoc that causes in spades...

as for kicking some out, can i assume italy is high on that list, from another of your comments here?

mybe italy would have to get its shit together (to run buses!) if it were threatened with expulsion from the EU.

it is so trying to watch politics in italy, it beggars description.

yet i think that kind of pressure could work miracles. right now they're an embarrassment to the EU, infecting it with another disease, arrogant impunity and viscuous corruption, combined with a flagrant reversion to kinder, gentler fascism.

the effect of the vatican acts also as a brake on the secularisation of europe, which i think is vitally important to cope with the eclectic belief systems we are adapting to cohabit with in immigrant populations.

and since we have chosen not to reproduce, yet are quite high-maintenance, it seems inevitable that europe will continue to absorb a growing influx of economic refugees from all quarters.

 

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Feb 3rd, 2009 at 06:09:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not every country.

Name one, just one EU country where neolib or neolib-tainted or neolib-compromising forces weren't the majority for at least a decade.

Vectors into the EU? UK (arguable a source if not a host), Ireland and Iceland. Arguably also the Netherlands and Denmark for good measure.

Meh, I think the neolibs operating in Italy, France and Germany had more influence than Dutch ones, and say Denmark catched cold more recently (just in the current decade - don't confuse historical Danish Euroscepticism with the British version). Ireland wasn't anywhere near the picture-book liberaliser neolib propaganda wants to paint it, either (as discussed several times since ET's conception by Colman and Frank Schnittger). Iceland contacted the Friedman disease two decades ago, but whether it had the influence of a vector even as an offshore central, I wonder.

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

by DoDo on Tue Feb 3rd, 2009 at 06:10:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Regarding the supposed duality of vectors of the neolib disease and those who catch it in Europe, let me add a note focusing on France.

Private media play an important role in the Thatcher-Reagan-etc right-wing project. Indeed private TV was usually introduced by right-wing governments in the EU, with more or less explicit justifications of 'balancing' 'left-leaning' public TV -- with effects on public discussion ranging from moderate (Germany) to severe (Italy). Now in this field, and media concentration in the hands of readily influence-exerting right-wing media barons in general, France is one of the worst in Europe.

Another field is retailers. Contrary to the (not just) Anglo stereotype of France as the land of corner shops, France is the land of strip malls: even if they are of higher quality than WalMart, Auchan and Carrefour have plastered the landscape, and are giants expanding throughout the EU.

In other fields, France is holding on. However, the same is true of the Nordic countries, only in differing fields. For example, Sweden was one of the pioneers of rail liberalisation (ahead of Britain; and followed in intent if not execution by Germany) even while staying much more socialistic than the rest of the EU, especially in taxes.

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

by DoDo on Wed Feb 4th, 2009 at 01:53:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Blair and the UK knew what they were doing with rapid accession of former Warsaw pact nations

I'm not sure he had the grand vision initially at all. (Later, when the EU wouldn't dance to his tune and his hopes for a Franco-German-British EU Directorium were dashed, sure he got it.) Bliar was a change from the just xenophobic Tory EU (non)expansion policy, but I don't remember much enthusiasm from his government until the last few years. The main promoter of expansion was Germany; France tried to sabotage it first by insisting on hoped-for ally Romania, then by demanding a "Big Bang" expansion with all candidates; but what was intended as bluff for sabotage got wide support in the end, with smaller EU-15 members hoping for an increased weight against the four bigs.

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

by DoDo on Tue Feb 3rd, 2009 at 06:29:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Anti-Soviet Russian buffer zone by other means. Also - cheap labour.

The Eastern Bloc has given Brussels severe political indigestion, but union always made perfect sense from a neolib perspective.

I'm not sure how the politics would have worked out if Poland etc hadn't been swallowed by amoebic assimilation. And I suspect there may even be a quiet plan among at least some Euro-pols to treat accession as a civilising influence on the Wild East, even if it takes a generation or two.

Blair's main interest was always historical significance rather than political effectiveness, so I doubt he had a masterplan - more a need to be noticed by being involved in something grand and interesting.

Apart from the twitchy mania and the smallness of size, he's always had a lot in common with Sarkozy.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Feb 3rd, 2009 at 08:50:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Anti-Soviet Russian buffer zone by other means.

That doesn't follow from what I said at all... In fact, a "buffer zone" would be outside of the EU, not inside. In this, EU accession has less parallels with NATO extension. When neocon/neolib foreign policy strategy came into play at the EU level, that was in 2002-3, on the issue of Iraq rather than Russia.

And I suspect there may even be a quiet plan among at least some Euro-pols to treat accession as a civilising influence on the Wild East, even if it takes a generation or two.

Certainly. But, would this motivation have ruled, it might have been better. What ruled first and foremost was economic interests (assimilation of significant markets for Germany and Austria, to a lesser extent France into the common market), followed by considerations about the relative position in the EU (Germany, Austria did not like to be at the border of the EU, smaller states hoped for a greater weight).

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

by DoDo on Wed Feb 4th, 2009 at 01:41:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Strategic considerations also played a major role for Germany's push for expansion. The notion of having an unstable hostile nation on their border whose main political movement hated their guts on principle, were radical nationalists, and rather authoritarian wasn't all that appealing. Or in other words the PiS and Radio Maryja types would have been stronger, while the europhilic and pro good Polish-German relations types would have been weaker, not to mention rather annoyed with Germany. Public opinion would also have been very anti-German (same reasons - either on principle or pissed at them not supporting EU membership). Furthermore, Germany's ability to deal with that sort of situation would have been complicated by it's historical baggage.
by MarekNYC on Wed Feb 4th, 2009 at 03:37:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yep. This was one thing implicit in my "did not like to be at the border of the EU" formulation. (A similar thinking was part of the motivation for Hungarian governments to support Romania's accession, and I believe talos made a counter-intuitive point about Greece's position on Turkey's accession to the same tune.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Feb 4th, 2009 at 04:38:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
they've most of them large constituencies of people like ourselves, who know something other than neo-liberalism and are starting to tire of their experiences with it.

Also known as the Kaczynskis' base. Between the fact that occasional rhetoric aside, the post-communists have been rather neolib/kleptocratic, and that those worst hit by capitalism tend to be rather conservative other than on economics (i.e. the rural population and retirees), the natural tendency in Poland is for economic discontent to manifest itself as right wing populism. This might well start changing as a new, less nationalist, less ultra-Catholic and less socially conservative post-communist generation starts voting in big numbers, but I don't see a genuine left part emerging for at least a few more years. On the other hand those that are into EU federalism and pro building closer ties with France and Germany tend also to be neolib and have done well out of capitalism.

by MarekNYC on Wed Feb 4th, 2009 at 04:01:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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