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Need of Assistance: Questions Regarding the EU and the Schengen Agreement

by XicanoPwr Sat Aug 19th, 2006 at 11:31:51 PM EST

I am working on a diary regarding American isolationism in the Americas. True we already have NAFTA and soon CAFTA will be implemented. However, there are those who would prefer us to be isolated from its neighbors to the South. It seems that their is a swift boat attack by scaring people into thinking that there is a secret plot between Canada, Mexico, US to form a North American Union, with the evil Spanish conquistadors behind this master plan. Yes, you read correctly, it is bad enough the US is worried about the evil Mexican reconquistadors taking back its lost territory, but now the original conquistadors, Spain, is wanting to get a piece of the pis and is wanting to taking back its lost territories.


This being done by Jerome R. Corsi, co-author of the book Unfit for Command with John E. O'Neill, as well as Atomic Iran: How The Terrorist Regime Bought The Bomb And American Politicians. From WorldNetDaily.com

The contractors building the Trans-Texas Corridor - a massive statewide transportation network critics claim is an important part of the controversial proposed integration of the U.S. and Mexico - have made large contributions to the campaigns of Texas politicians, including Republican Gov. Rick Perry.

As WND has reported, opposition is mounting to the little-publicized efforts by the Bush administration, aided by corporate and political elites of the U.S., Mexico and Canada, including the Council on Foreign Relations, to push North America into a European Union-style merger. Critics of the Trans-Texas Corridor see the massive project - ironically funded by Spain - as part of this movement to integrate the U.S., Mexico and Canada.

So as you can see, Spain has been thrown into our mess.

So here is the deal, I want to write a diary about this non-sense. After looking into this further, I come to realize what Cosi, Lou Dobbs et al are afraid of, the Western Hemisphere will some adopt an agreement similar to what Europe has, the Schengen Agreement and one of the fears that they are promoting, is that the nations in Europe have lost all sovereignty.

Therefore, I was wondering if anybody could give me a pro and con about the European Union and the Schengen Agreement. I would rather have personal accounts than research I know I could find. What parts of the policies do you agree or disagree? How can the policy be improved? Most importantly, has your country actually lost their sovereignty?

Thank you in advance for your help.

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When the premise is equating the Schengen Agreement with the European Union, I have to admit I don't know what to say. This all seems borne out of the lunatic ravings of American right-wingers with no grasp of how the EU is organised. Admittedly the EU is very complex and not at all logical, soo they might be excused if they did not act on their misunderstanding.

Schengen is a great thing. It allows me to travel as a private individual all over the EU15 (minus British Isles) plus Norway and Iceland without having to go through border checks. Practically this manifests itself mostly in that flights within the Schengen area are handled like domestic flights at airports. The UK did not trust the rest of the EU's border security and police work, so they opted out of the agreement. That's it.

The European Union is based on a Common Market (for goods, services, capital and labour) with free movement [hence Schengen], a Common Foreign and Security Policy [in name only] and on Police and Judicial Cooperation (the three pillars).

I honestly don't know what is meant by "has your country lost its sovereignty?". The Spanish Constitution is still paramount. From an individual perspective, the EU can only be a good thing as it guarantees me the right to vote in local and European elections wherever I live, so for instance I can vote in the local council elections for the London Borough where I live and pay taxes instead of being forced to vote in the local elections for the Madrid City Council. I also don't think it's a loss of sovereignty that British retirees get to vote in the local council elections of Spanish beach communities.

The one thing I have a problem with is how the European Parliament does not have legislative initiative and can only advise or amend legislation depending on the area. But, you see, to fix that Spain would actually have to actually give up a measure of Sovereignty. I did say I didn't know what the fixation with sovereignty is all about.

Honestly, for the purposes of US political debate about sovereignty, these right-wingers might as well claim that the EU is the Antichrist. It is on the same level of accuracy as these mad ravings about "the EU, Schengen and sovereignty", and it would not be a new concept.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Aug 20th, 2006 at 05:04:49 AM EST
You answered my sovereignty question.
The one thing I have a problem with is how the European Parliament does not have legislative initiative and can only advise or amend legislation depending on the area. But, you see, to fix that Spain would actually have to actually give up a measure of Sovereignty. I did say I didn't know what the fixation with sovereignty is all about.
What I have heard about the EU is that richer European countries make major investments in the economic and educational infrastructure of less wealthier nations within the EU to prevent mass migration.

Corruption and hypocrisy ought not to be inevitable products of democracy, as they undoubtedly are today. - Gandhi
by XicanoPwr (chicanopwr at gmail.com) on Sun Aug 20th, 2006 at 09:00:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I said that one problem with the EU is what is called the "democratic deficit" (i.e., that its decision-making is not seen to be adequately democratic) and that fixing it would probably entail a transfer of sovereignty from the National Parliaments to the EU Parliament, which IMHO wouldn't be a bad thing. Currently all decision-making is effectively intergovernmental.

What you have heard about the EU is false taken at face value, I think, but that is a different issue. Richard Lyon has a diary or two about internal migration in the EU and the policies presumably designed to stem it.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Aug 20th, 2006 at 09:41:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for the link very helpful and very informative. It doesn't look like I will be cranking out my diary anytime soon. I have to digest the information. I think that is the problem here in the US, the average citizen is not very aware how the EU truly functions with all the inter-workings.

So when someone like Cosi comes along, it is easy to swiftboat the EU as one big mess and scare people into thinking it is all a big Illuminati, Trilateral, etc etc take over.

Corruption and hypocrisy ought not to be inevitable products of democracy, as they undoubtedly are today. - Gandhi

by XicanoPwr (chicanopwr at gmail.com) on Sun Aug 20th, 2006 at 12:11:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it is a bigger problem that the average EU citizen is not very aware how the EU truly functions with all the inter-workings.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Aug 20th, 2006 at 12:14:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Could you write a diary about the Trans-Texas Corridor, though? This is the second time it is mentioned (first in a comment in an open thread) as if Europeans [or Spaniards] should know about it, and we don't.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Aug 20th, 2006 at 12:17:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
be forewarned that while the Trans-Texas Corridor (TTC) is a serious(ly wrong) proposal, one of the chief writers on this is Jerome Corsi, the Anti-Kerry Swiftboater in Chief. One of the principals in the private contracting for the corridor is Madrid based Cintra, which also holds the lease on the Indiana Toll Road, and Chicago Skyway. The Indiana Toll Road concession led to a lot of questions about foreign ownership of transportation assets, and is  the reason that what was percived as a Republican congressional district is now most likely going to go to the Democrats.  

Basically, the idea in the TTC is that port facilities in Lazaro Cardenas, Michoacan, Mexico would be expanded as a way to avoid the heavily unionized and very well paid (a gantry crane operator can earn over $100,000 in a year, it's a highly skilled and dangerous job) California ports at Long Beach.  Goods would then be trucked north to a central distribution point in Kansas City where they would be inspected by Mexican customs. In addition, the oncoming opening of US highways to Mexican trucks via a provision of NAFTA creates a serious strike against unions in the transportation sector like the Teamsters, who have broken with the AFL-CIO umbrella trade union federation over trade, and have backed Republicans on issues like oil exploration in ANWR (Artic National Wildlife Reserve), and have a history of involvement with organized crime (ie, the Mafia.) The idea is that having destroyed union power in the manufacturing sector, this will allow them to attack unions in the transport sector.  I imagine that were there ever to be a bridge over the Gates of Gibraltar, there would be a push to build port facilities at Tangiers, and have Morrocans truck product north. Be glad the geography of the Mediterranean basin offers economic disincentives for this sort of trick into the EU.

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And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Sun Aug 20th, 2006 at 10:22:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That is the one I wanting to clear up. It is that infomation that is passing through the liberal/progressibe blogosphere.

Corruption and hypocrisy ought not to be inevitable products of democracy, as they undoubtedly are today. - Gandhi
by XicanoPwr (chicanopwr at gmail.com) on Mon Aug 21st, 2006 at 06:32:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Major investments is a pretty big word. The total EU budget amounts to little more than 1% of its GDP. Of this, about 35% go into the 'cohesion funds' that explicitly aim to help poorer regions, and of which the largest part will go to the poor countries (some to poor regions in otherwise rich countries). But overall this probably represents ~ 0.33% of the EU's total GDP. This is around the same figure as is given for development aid to third world countries.

It could be that within the US, the solidarity or cohesion tranfers between states is bigger.

Mass migration from east to west has partially been prevented through several Member States (notably Germany and Austria) postponing the free movement of labour. Still, a lot of people have resettled, mostly to the (economic) benefit of their new host nations.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Sun Aug 20th, 2006 at 07:59:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Schengen doesn't mean all that much, it's basically an agreement to the effect that people can travel freely within the Schengen area. It's nice for EU citizens (outside the UK & Ireland) because it means that you don't have wait in row to show your passport on the airport, don't get an extensive border check on the train or on car/bike/foot.

For foreigners (non-EU residents) it's even better because they only need to get one visum or waiver for travelling (up to 3 months). It doesn't cover free movement of persons and labour outside of traveling.

I can't see anything like this happening in the US -- the worry about terrorists entering through Canada or 'the soft underbelly' is far too big.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Sun Aug 20th, 2006 at 07:25:21 PM EST


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