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So, so, so doomed.

by Colman Tue May 27th, 2014 at 06:02:31 AM EST

French President Francois Hollande has said the EU must reform and scale back its power, amid a surge in support for Eurosceptic and far-right parties. Mr Hollande, whose party was beaten by the far right in last week's European Parliament election, said the EU had become too complex and remote. (BBC)

Yup, that's the problem. The EU is too distant and complicated. Not that the governments have been using it to push forward and justify an extremist policy of austerity, privatisation and generally making sure the benefits of globalisation accrue to a small elite rather than the citizenry.

Obviously the solution to our problems is to agree with the eurosceptics and dismantle the EU, not change the underlying policy (which would be greatly advanced by downgrading the EU to a simple free-trade zone).


Display:
I wonder how much worse it'll get before it gets better?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue May 27th, 2014 at 06:11:02 AM EST
Give it 100 years of misery...

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue May 27th, 2014 at 09:19:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What would make it to "get better", um?
by das monde on Tue May 27th, 2014 at 11:54:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Leaders with heads out their asses.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue May 27th, 2014 at 12:06:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For now at least, leaders tend to gravitate towards the 1% asses. Or learn their alpha perks.
by das monde on Wed May 28th, 2014 at 02:53:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I doubt that the EU will dismantle itself or that the Euro-Zone will reform itself before one or more countries leave - if then.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue May 27th, 2014 at 09:18:42 AM EST
European Commission press release: Statement of President Barroso on the outcome of the 2014 European Parliament elections (26 May 2014)
When assessing the results, the fact that this election follows the biggest financial, economic and ultimately social crisis in decades must be kept in mind. It is extremely important that the political forces that led and supported the essential steps in the Union's joint crisis response, notably the political forces represented in the European Commission, have overall won once again. They are indeed those with the biggest representation in the new European Parliament. Results show that a very solid and workable majority in the European Parliament is possible. These political forces do not agree on each and every policy detail, but they share a fundamental consensus for Europe that should now be reinforced.


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue May 27th, 2014 at 09:21:48 AM EST
"The beatings will continue until morale improves."
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue May 27th, 2014 at 09:22:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the political forces that led and supported the essential steps in the Union's joint crisis response, notably the political forces represented in the European Commission, have overall won once again
Never mind that the EPP lost 61 of 265 seats, ALDE lost 29 out of 84 seats and the Greens/EFA lost 11 of 55 seats, while the PES only gained 4 seats.

All this before the whopping 79 MEPs from new parties declare group allegiances, of course.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue May 27th, 2014 at 09:27:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I watched Antoine Ramboll on the PBS Newshour Monday evening. Five minutes of the program elapse before the first mention of the Euro, the Eurozone or the ECB and then it was the US guest commentator who brought it up. Ramboll might well have just been reading from Barroso's press release. 'People fear the future will be worse than the past,...' etc. And then trot out the failure of France to embrace reform! Then on to the impact this will have on such issues as the trade partnership and the miniscule possibility that Europe's Atlantic orientation might be affected.
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/swinging-right-left-anti-eu-sentiment-sweeps-europes-parliamentary-el ections/

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue May 27th, 2014 at 09:40:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
<sigh>

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue May 27th, 2014 at 09:42:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We're going to continue to piss on you, but double our PR releases on rain.
by tjbuff (timhess@adelphia.net) on Tue May 27th, 2014 at 10:15:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EUROPA - PRESS RELEASES - Press release - Statement of President Barroso on the outcome of the 2014 European Parliament elections
This is the moment to come together and to define the Union's way forward. The concerns of those who voted in protest or did not vote are best addressed through decisive political action for growth and jobs, and through a truly democratic debate.

"We will continue not to do what we said we were doing before, but weren't".

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue May 27th, 2014 at 01:05:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A river in Egypt:

European Green Lanterns - Paul Krugman - NYTimes.com

Sitting in a room listening to EU officials reacting to the European Parliament elections -- and it seems to me that they're deep in denial. Barroso just declared that the euro had nothing to do with the crisis, that it was all failed policies at the national level; a few minutes ago he said that Europe's real problem is a lack of political will.
by Bernard on Tue May 27th, 2014 at 03:59:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
he said that Europe's real problem is a lack of political will.

Well, he's the expert on that. He's the EU's lack of political will made flesh.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed May 28th, 2014 at 05:19:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Somehow Hollande's problems don't have anything to do with his embrace of Say's law, either...

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue May 27th, 2014 at 09:37:20 AM EST
Well, according to the French media, you are referring to the high point of his presidency, you know...

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Tue May 27th, 2014 at 09:51:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is that so? Un-f-in' believable.

FT.com: The real scandal is France's stagnant economic thinking (Wolfgang Munchau, 19 January 2014)

Last week, we heard another Frenchman, President François Hollande, proclaiming: "L'offre crée même la demande", which translates as "supply actually creates its own demand". If you want to look for the real political scandal in France today, it is not the sight of the president in a motorcycle helmet about to sneak into a Parisian apartment building. It is that official economic thinking in Paris has not progressed in 211 years.

If you want to understand the financial crisis and the subsequent recession, Say's Law is of no help whatsoever. Mr Hollande's embrace of this defunct economist has three important consequences...

...

The third significance lies in the fact that the new consensus spans the entire mainstream political spectrum. If you live on the European continent and if you have a problem with Say's Law, the only political parties that cater to you are the extreme left or the extreme right.



A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue May 27th, 2014 at 09:59:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, you wouldn't believe what passes for profound wisdom on these shores... or, rather, you would probably believe it, and then sigh.
For a start, whatever the State does must be wasteful and what is holding back the economy.

Hollande's speech was very well received, even in what are nominally centre-left publications.

I discussed it at length there, in a post written just after the said speech.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Tue May 27th, 2014 at 10:12:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is even worse when you know that François Hollande has been teaching economic theory for 11 years (1982-1992) at Sciences-Po Paris (the manufacture of French political leaders and journalists...)

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Tue May 27th, 2014 at 02:45:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think France would be much better off it listened to that particular German rather than tried to become the western half of the rejuvenated Frankish realm.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed May 28th, 2014 at 06:54:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Frankish realm had neoliberal economic policies?

The things you learn here...

by IM on Wed May 28th, 2014 at 03:08:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
He has a point. The EU has become too complex and remote, and a lot of people would prefer the EU of 20 years ago. What happened to the subsidarity principle?

Still, the main problem is the dysfunctional Eurozone project, which due to its faulty design and the intransigence of the ECB means there is no alternative to destructive austerity.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Wed May 28th, 2014 at 06:51:43 AM EST
What happened to the subsidarity principle?

Quite right. All this nonsense about regulating everything. Drug, pesticide and food regulations, for example : they would be best regulated at village council level.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed May 28th, 2014 at 08:21:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The principle of subsidarity does not say there should be no regulations. It says things should be regulated on the lowest possible level, not above it, nor below it.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed May 28th, 2014 at 08:25:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Then give examples of what you're complaining about.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed May 28th, 2014 at 08:31:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Budgetary deficits?

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Wed May 28th, 2014 at 08:34:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Remember when Olli Rehn said that France must close its deficit, and then freaked out when France started hiking taxes? "Oh no, you need to cut the welfare state, not raise taxes!!"

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed May 28th, 2014 at 08:38:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, it still keeps me awake some nights.
Although, to be fair, that was not a problem of the EU institutions per se -he clearly violated his mandate. The problem is that you are encouraged to break the law if its in favour of Aust(e)rianism.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Wed May 28th, 2014 at 08:42:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
One Swedish example is the case of our wolf population. It's an incredibly bitter, emotional, complex and multifaceted conflict, where the government is trying very hard to achieve a reasonable compromise solution. Every time it seems a workable solution has been achieved, the EU Commission paradrops in and sabotage it.

Another absurd example is the Commission efforts to regulate Swedish school lunches, or ban the sale of Baltic herring, or undermine our gun legislation.

Is this really what the EU should be doing?

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Wed May 28th, 2014 at 08:37:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not to mention, the constant threat of an EU ban on snus...

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed May 28th, 2014 at 08:41:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And on Saltlakrids...

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed May 28th, 2014 at 08:47:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And lakritspipor...

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed May 28th, 2014 at 08:56:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They should just make the chocolate cigarettes and the liquorice pipes penis-shaped, then everyone would be happy.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed May 28th, 2014 at 10:05:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not to mention casu marzu.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed May 28th, 2014 at 02:38:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Isn't that one of their more sensible ideas?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed May 28th, 2014 at 08:57:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, but it's Starvid we're debating with here...

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed May 28th, 2014 at 08:58:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
:P

No matter if you think the idea is good or not, it very clearly does not belong on the federal level. If Belgium or Greece wants to ban them on their own, that's fine by me.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Wed May 28th, 2014 at 09:00:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And don't get me started on the idiotic detail regulations in the CAP...

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed May 28th, 2014 at 09:02:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But the savages are supposed to be grateful, we do our best to civilise them.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed May 28th, 2014 at 09:15:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, the point is that an EU member state banning a product like that constitute a violation of the free movement of goods. Therefore the Federal level needs to arbitrate between the producing country and the rest, and you end with an export ban with the producing country free to decide on continued production and consumption.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed May 28th, 2014 at 09:58:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Also, the firm EU ban on snus exports to the entire EU. Where is your "free movement of goods"-talk now?

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed May 28th, 2014 at 09:08:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The principle of subsidiarity is in mint conditions, it remains so by not being used.

There is, imho, very little of vertical power sharing built into the EU structure, so decision power tends to move upwards as the upper level can over-rule the lower but not the other way around. The council could have been a counter-acting force if it gave the state parliaments a voice, but instead it gives state governments a way to circumvent their own parliaments. See for exampel the data retention directive that was introduced by Swedish soc-dem justice minister Bodström, not implemented in Sweden until the Commission threatened with fines, implemented under "Brussels makes us do it" cries, and now that the Court has struck it down, the Moderate led governemtn is seeking ways to retain it.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Wed May 28th, 2014 at 09:01:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No links, but I heard on Tv the other day that the EU dictates how much cinnamon Danish bakers can put in their rolls.

Another strange one... I heard that if you are a proprietor of a shop in Italy and want to close on Sunday, the EU fines you for lowering productivity. If either of those are true, you can see a huge opportunity for making the EU legislation be a bit more sensitive to realities on the ground, and not so carried away by the heady air of Brussels.

'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 Wed May 28th, 2014 at 10:15:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
At a rough guess, both of those are false.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed May 28th, 2014 at 10:30:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The first one is kind of true. The EU wanted to enforce a limit on certain contaminants found in cheap, low-grade cinnamon, on the grounds that cinnamon rolls using this cheap, low-grade cinnamon are clearly not a seasonal specialty, which was the exemption they had previously enjoyed.

They got a local specialty exemption instead.

And even if they hadn't gotten a local specialty exemption, they could still have substituted in a higher-grade product. And it wasn't even a protectionist racket like the apple standardization attempt a few decades back, because the crap cinnamon is not locally produced and really has no redeeming virtues save for price.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed May 28th, 2014 at 02:13:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The EU must be making a lot of money off Trento (a few stores have started opening recently, but most are still closed).
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed May 28th, 2014 at 11:05:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Italy supposedly owes much money in fines, but does anyone actually collect?

'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 Wed May 28th, 2014 at 04:40:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fines for not opening on Sunday? They probably don't exist. Do you have any references? And no,
No links, but I heard on Tv the other day
doesn't count.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed May 28th, 2014 at 05:32:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If there were fines, they wouldn't be directly EU, but Italian government in application of an EU directive. If there were an EU directive, it would apply to the other member states too.

There's a recurring public debate in France about Sunday opening, yet there is never any mention of an EU rule enforcing it with fines. There is OTOH a long-standing French rule that small food retailers may open on Sunday, but the big super/hypermarkets with salaried personnel may not (with some exceptions).

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu May 29th, 2014 at 02:18:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Interesting... So where does the fine money end up?

Did some goggling and found if anything it's the EU pushing for Sunday closing, so it was probably propaganda I swallowed.
Funny, here it's more the big supermarkets that stay open Sundays and lunchtimes, never the little shops.

'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 Thu May 29th, 2014 at 05:22:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe it's a racket of people pretending to collect an EU fine...

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu May 29th, 2014 at 05:24:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Since in Germany (and probabl elsewhere) sunday closure is still the law, this can't be true.
by IM on Wed May 28th, 2014 at 03:04:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The truth? What has it done for us lately...
Truthiness on the other end...
by Bernard on Wed May 28th, 2014 at 03:56:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Correct. You need the day for "seelischen Erhebung". As article 139 of the Weimar Costitution says
Der Sonntag und die staatlich anerkannten Feiertage bleiben als Tage der Arbeitsruhe und der seelischen Erhebung gesetzlich geschützt.
And Article 140 of the Grundgesetz says:
Die Bestimmungen der Artikel 136, 137, 138, 139 und 141 der deutschen Verfassung vom 11. August 1919 sind Bestandteil dieses Grundgesetzes.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu May 29th, 2014 at 03:07:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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