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I don't know how important seating arrangements are, but viewing the EU from the US suggests that it is a long way from being taken seriously on this side of the pond.

I would bet that if you asked 100 Americans about the EU you would get a blank stare from 99 of them. We "know about" Germany, Italy, France, Switzerland, Spain, and maybe a couple of other European countries, but I know zero people who could identify Slovenia, for example, on a map--even though it is the home country of the ex-FLOTUS. And most of what we "know" comes from watching glorious WW2 movies on TV.

As for the EU, a few people might say something about the Common Market, but that is about it.

If the EU wants to be taken seriously, it needs to take that huge step from being a confederacy to a federation, with all the accoutrements, as mentioned above.

by asdf on Sun Apr 11th, 2021 at 11:41:45 PM EST
When I was a student I spent a summer working in Wildwood NJ and Virginia Beach. I was often asked where I came from and when I said Ireland I would get a blank stare followed by Iowa? Idaho? Finally, Ireland in Europe registered.

But I'm not sure if I care much about whether the EU is taken seriously in Washington. They tend to mirror Stalin's response when told that the Pope might not approve some proposed course of action. "The Pope? How many divisions has he?" was his no doubt apocryphal reply.

But I'm quite happy for the EU to be under-estimated provided it delivers the goods when it matters. You could call it the cute Kerryman strategy - pretend to be a complete gobdaw while you are buying and selling your opponent behind his back.

I would not like the EU to acquire the accoutrements of superpower status: Large army, militarised police and political culture, authoritarian attitudes and imperialist mind-sets.  If that is the price of being taken seriously by Putin, Erdogan or Washington, then it's not worth it.

What the EU DOES need to start doing, however, is to deliver more tangible benefits for its citizens. Maintaining the peace in Europe is never to be taken for granted, but it is not enough to develop a European identity, demos or civic space or to justify continued membership amongst more nationalistically minded citizens.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Apr 12th, 2021 at 06:40:58 PM EST
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