"The pooling of coal and steel production should immediately provide for the setting up of common foundations for economic development as a first step in the federation of Europe."
~Robert Schuman, Declaration on the European Coal and Steel Community, Europe Day, 9 May 1950 ~

The European Union – Soviet Union II?

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04-02-13 | 19:51 |

A dangerous euro enchantment

The creation of the euro currency was meant to be the culmination of Europe’s ever closer union. By using the same coins and banknotes, former enemies would become business partners and eventually friends, the common currency’s supporters proclaimed. In this way, the continent’s old rivalries would disappear and give way to a new pan-European identity. As naïve as this European pipedream looks in hindsight, just as dangerous are the implications of its failure. Instead of bringing Europe’s peoples closer together, the struggling euro currency is driving them further apart. What was meant to complete the European project could well bring about its downfall. More »
09-05-11 | 15:54 |

The Game is Up

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25-11-10 | 21:15 |

Betraying liberal democratic principles in the EU

On Friday, the citizens of Ireland will go to the polls to vote for the second time on the Lisbon Treaty, after apparently giving the ‘wrong’ answer the first time around. After agreement was reached in June on the so-called guarantees that are supposed to assuage Irish fears about the Treaty, the EU Presidency confirmed that “the text of the guarantees explicitly states that the Lisbon Treaty is not changed thereby.” The Irish people are therefore being served a re-heated Treaty – even more unappetising than it was before. One can argue over whether transferring more power to the EU level is a good or a bad thing. Clearly many people across Europe are opposed to it, as shown by the French and Dutch people’s rejection of the EU Constitution, whose content, in the words of the man who presided over its drafting, Valery Giscard d’Estaing, is “all to be found in the Treaty of Lisbon” . But that is not the only issue at stake here. Asking people the same question until they give the desired answer raises an utterly more fundamental debate – about the rules of the game, about democracy itself. More »
01-10-09 | 23:06 |

Brezhnev in Dublin

Only the Europeans can decide on the EU’s future. Timothy Garton Ash wrote in the Guardian of “the essential grandeur of this project we call the European Union, where nations born in so much blood work together freely in a commonwealth of democracies.” He is right, but his argument actually works against the Lisbon Treaty, or at least the current ratification process, which excludes the people forced to live under the resulting government. Declares Roger Cole: “This referendum is not an Irish battle. It is a European battle fought on Irish soil, a battle between the peoples of Europe that support democracy and the elite of Europe that want an empire.” More »
21-08-09 | 10:59 | 5 comments

The French? Frankly, I couldn't give a crepe about their view of the world

Last week, it was finally admitted that French farmers had received State subsidies, deemed to be illegal by the EU to the tune of €330m — half a billion once interest payments and the like are taken into account. The French government has promised to pay it back, following a report which criticised the payments as “market distorting”, but farmers are insisting they won’t give back a penny and their union bosses have threatened a “blazing summer” of protests if anyone tries to extract the cash from them. This coming from a country that already benefits more than any other nation from the absurd Common Agricultural Policy. Is it any wonder that France doesn’t want the Irish No vote of last year jeopardising the cosy financial arrangements it has wangled for itself in Europe? They didn’t let a No vote from their own electorate a few years ago hold them back, so they’re hardly going to stand idly by whilst a few uppity Paddies spoil the party. More »
10-08-09 | 16:57 | 4 comments

Bad news for democracy

Open Europe, an independent think-tank with offices in London and Brussels, published the fruits of many months of investigation into the EU’s unwieldy budget and concluded that it was spending more than €2.4 billion a year on a wide variety of efforts to promote European integration. Much scorn is poured on those groups which privately fund themselves to fight against the enormous EU propaganda machine and try to offer alternatives to “ever closer union.” But rarely does anybody question the EU’s huge Yes budget, which provides a continuous feed into the population and the media, not only at times of a referendum, but constantly and permanently. More »
03-08-09 | 17:31 | 1 comment

Iceland's krona proves the magic wand as Europe ails

Iceland’s krona is working its magic cure. Well-heeled Japanese tourists – once a rarity – can be seen these days sampling halibut at Reykjavik’s Siggi Hall, or buying Gymur jackets at the 66°North store on Bankastraeti. The krona has fallen by half against the euro since the `New Viking’ trio of Landsbanki, Glitnir, and Kaupthing strayed out of their depth and brought down Iceland’s financial system. Nothing is cheap, but prices have come within reach. Reykjavik’s cafés are packed with euro-youth, at last able to afford a taste of all-night dancing at this Arctic Ibiza. More »
28-07-09 | 12:08 |

Irish Foreign Minister: "would a dictatorship not be delightfully simple?"

German daily FAZ looks ahead to the second referendum in Ireland on the Lisbon Treaty, and quotes Foreign Minister Micheál Martin saying that “democracies are complex”, adding, sarcastically, “would a dictatorship not be delightfully simple?” He adds that “it was easier with the introduction of the common market and the euro.” The article quotes French President Nicolas Sarkozy telling Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen during a visit to Ireland last year: “Brian, I cannot imagine an EU without Ireland”, which was regarded as a warning. Brian Cowen is quoted saying: “We don’t lie to people. Everybody knows that it isn’t about EU membership”. More »
22-07-09 | 18:37 | 2 comments

Germans against bailing out Ireland, poll shows

There have been suggestions that Ireland will somehow be offered a lifeline in this crisis, if only they show their appreciation of ‘Europe’ and vote in favour of the Lisbon Treaty. It’s important that Irish voters realise there is no appetite among German voters for such a rescue package, which will make it very difficult to achieve in practice. More »
21-07-09 | 13:55 |