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In the paragraph starting with "Gradually, after much propaganda..." in the 5th line there's an "it's" instead of an "its".
 Great post, Frank. I'd like to know what you see in your crystal ball for intra-European relations 10 years from now. Have the frugal countries maintained their block on wealth distribution to S. Europe? Have the Visigrad group's revanchist, undemocratic powerplays been curbed?
Were the investments dedicated to digitisation, youth and the environment in 2021 successful in their tardy, but noble aims?
Has the erasure of the 5* movement been complete by 2029?

'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 Mon Oct 12th, 2020 at 09:13:22 AM EST
Thanks. Every time I look at it I see more typo's, spelling mistakes, and awkwardly constructed sentences. It's most annoying! But I have been adding bits and pieces to the text as time goes on as well.

I wouldn't pretend to be as knowledgeable about frugal four and Visigrad politics, so I would just make a few observations from experience elsewhere:

  1. There will always be tensions between net contributor and net recipient countries about the amount of contributions and the way in which they are spent. The best way to reduce this is to increase the level of the EU's "own resources" from external tariffs, global green taxes, digital taxes, and (whisper  it) global corporate taxes. Monies which aren't easily attributed to specific member states can then be spent in terms of EU wide criteria of need as opposed to the priorities of nationalist politicians.

  2. It should be noted that when Ireland joined the EU in 1973 it was an economically backward, church dominated, political cartel dominated by the civil war parties, Fianna Fail and Fine Gael. Much play is made of how Irish agriculture benefited from the CAP but the real impact of the EU was much more profound: social equality legislation, employment protection legislation, human rights, a less corrupt way of doing business. It took 40 years for all these positive influences to come to fruition and it took a new generation to come to power to fully implement them, but the Overton window has moved beyond recognition to the point where the most conservative parties are to the left of the European spectrum. Consequently, I wouldn't be too concerned about the dominance of certain reactionary parties/politicians in Eastern Europe at the present time. The EU is playing a long game.

  3. Protest parties come and go. Some are absorbed into the establishment, others disappear, some achieve remarkable longevity by adapting to changing circumstances. Occasionally they take over for a time. I think Italy has deep structural problems only it can fully address (with EU support) but I think its a fool's game to try and predict the exact constellation of parties in 10 years time.

  4. Generally speaking, investments dedicated to digitisation, youth and the environment are a good idea. Even if wastefully/inefficiently targetted they can have useful Keynesian benefits for the economy as a whole and are preferable to "tax cuts for the rich". But I wouldn't overplay the EU's role in all of this: the micro is as important as the macro, and it's what happens on the ground that can have the greatest impact and "bang for your buck". Also I think the EU somehow needs to cultivate a greater entrepreneurial spirit to generate greater dynamism in the economy: It can't all be about large corporations, economies of scale, global supply chains, complex compliance requirements and  large bureaucracies. Digitisation can facilitate much of this by making it easier for start-ups and small businesses to prosper.


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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Oct 12th, 2020 at 10:51:26 AM EST
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