"We must now face the difficult task of moving towards a single economy, a single political entity. For the first time since the fall of the Roman Empire we have the opportunity to unite Europe."
~EU Commission President Romano Prodi, European Parliament, 13 April 1999 ~

Free Speech: The EU Version

Freedom of speech on political matters is a crucial part of the Anglo-Saxon political tradition. In that tradition, any opinion, even one popularly viewed as an evident truth, is, and should be, open to challenge. The 1689 Bill of Rights contains provisions for free speech, and a hundred odd years later, the first amendment to the Constitution of the United States guarantees freedom of speech and the press in unequivocal terms. Freedom of speech has served us well. We should not abandon it or allow it to be taken away or restricted. More »
11-11-03 | 10:18 |

Shall We Borrow from the Children?

Tax and spend” is the usual charge levied against democratic governments seeking popular support by dipping into the pork barrel. “Spend and tax” would be more accurate. The typical pattern is for expenditure on worthy and less worthy programs to rise first, with revenue seldom if ever catching up. The money never runs out, for unlike households, the government can always borrow whatever it needs to cover the deficit, almost regardless of how large it is. It owns a sort of widow’s curse whose magic lies in the state’s power to raise the taxes in the future that it has no stomach to raise in the present. More »
05-11-03 | 09:54 |

Why we should fight anti-globalists

We risk repeating Hayek’s error when we choose not to take anti-globalists seriously. Many serious thinkers adopt this approach, however. Typical are the comments of a trade economist who told me that it was a great waste of time to confront anti-capitalists. They are guided by ideology and not facts, and do not understand economic principles, so reasonable arguments won’t change their minds anyway. This argument is fine as far as it goes, but it misses the point that anti-globalists must be met head on not to convince them, but to make sure they don’t convince others. If they are not challenged in a public debate, their confused views will guide all public policy soon. More »
27-10-03 | 10:49 | 4 comments


“Individuals have an absolute ownership over themselves and an absolute moral right to sell their own organs. Moreover, the EU is doing poor people in the Third World no favours by trying to prevent them from bettering their economic position by engaging in free trade. British Labour MEP Robert Evans, who is promoting this ban smears voluntary free market trade as “exploitation”, but it is only such so-called “exploitation” that creates – as history and economic science have conclusively shown – economic progress and prosperity for ordinary people.” More »
24-10-03 | 10:35 |

A Constitution to destroy Europe

A MARKED AND DEEPENING divide is spreading across the face of Europe. It is a divide between the Europe as envisaged in the draft Constitution, and the Europe as we know it today. This divide is evident from the draft’s opening sentence. It runs to more than 400 words. It describes a noble and lofty European ‘destiny’: billowing effusive clauses about European civilisation, humanism, equality of persons, respect for reason, culture, aspiration, inalienable rights and inviolable laws, solidarity, peace, justice, unity and, of course, ‘destiny’. But there is another Europe. It is the real Europe as we know it. And it is hard to detect anything in this draft that bears serious relation to the Europe it seeks to define and ennoble. Europe is trapped in a growing constitutional gridlock. More »
23-10-03 | 13:23 | 2 comments

France: The Agony of Decline

Having recently emerged battered from national education strikes and months of street demonstrations over reduced retirement benefits, Jacques Chirac’s administration is looking on with dismay at media encouragement for right-wing intellectual claims that France is now the weak man of Europe, mired in hypocrisy nationally and internationally, indifferent to popular needs such as care of the aged, and shaken by the aftershocks of vain defiance of the US-led war in Iraq. In short, that France is going down the pan. x- Continue in the Guardian
21-10-03 | 13:07 |

Queen raises fears over EU constitution

The Queen is growing more concerned about Tony Blair’s plans to sign a European constitution that she fears could undermine her role as sovereign. The Telegraph has learnt that Buckingham Palace has asked for documents highlighting the constitutional implications of the EU’s plans to be sent to her advisers. Her worries came to light as Tony Blair prepared for an EU summit today in Brussels, where European leaders will begin final negotiations on the text of a new EU treaty. x- Continue in the Telegraph
21-10-03 | 13:01 |

A Growing Euroscepticism

European integration, of which the European Union offers the most visible institutional expression, has deep roots. It can be perceived as a successful, yes even magnificent venture to come to grips with Europe’s erstwhile endemic internal power struggles, which since 1870 caused four Franco-German wars, two of which escalated into world wars, whereby entire generations of young men were butchered at the European battle fields. More »
20-10-03 | 10:50 |

EC Launches Excessive Deficit Procedure Against France

Despite an apparent rapprochement between the French government and the European Commission on the French budget following a meeting between Finance Minister Francois Mer and Economics Commissioner Pedro Solbes on Monday, the Commission has decided to call France’s bluff by commencing an excessive deficit procedure in defence of the Growth and Stability Pact. More »
13-10-03 | 16:28 |

The Keynesian Way

There has been a collective sigh of relief in Europe – and elsewhere – ever since the European Central Bank yielded to pressure and lowered its interest rate in an effort to boost growth. Politicians were delighted by this decision. But my colleagues and I do not share their analysis. On the contrary, we are worried about this return to Keynesianism. More »
07-10-03 | 10:36 |