"When we build the euro - and with what a success - when we advance on the European defence, with difficulties but with considerable progress, when we build a European arrest-warrant, when we move towards creating a European prosecutor, we are building something deeply federal, or a true union of states. The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union must become a charter of rights that is applicable and effective. I wish this Constitution to be the Constitution of a rebuilt Union, able to reflect its social cohesion, deepen its political unity, express its power externally."
~M.Pierre Moscovici, French Minister for Europe, Le Monde,28 February 2002 ~

World Wide Web of Taxes

Fearful that overtaxed consumers might want to escape the value-added tax, the European Union concocted a plan to impose VAT on software, videos, computer games and music downloaded via the Internet from non-EU companies. This raises the possibility that U.S. companies selling goods to EU customers will be forced to collect taxes on behalf of European collectors. The EU claims that this extra-territorial tax scheme is necessary to create a so-called level playing field. But this plan is just another attempt by the Union to prevent tax competition and will only lead to higher prices and higher taxes. More »
02-09-03 | 22:33 |

A Botched Constitution

When in January Donald Rumsfeld, responding to reporters, distinguished between “old” and “new” Europe, he misspoke. He intended to note differences between old and new components of NATO — between the older members and the Eastern Europeans who have fresher memories of tyranny. Rumsfeld had been bombarded by reporters’ questions containing dubious assumptions of continental homogeneity — “Europe” believes such and so; “Europe” opposes this or that. Wanting to make a point about NATO, he instead made a provocative characterization of the entire continent. More »
02-09-03 | 22:27 | 1 comment

Speech to the US Congress on 17 July

There is a myth. That though we love freedom, others don’t, that our attachment to freedom is a product of our culture. That freedom, democracy, human rights, the rule of law are American values or Western values. That Afghan women were content under the lash of the Taliban. That Saddam was beloved by his people. That Milosevic was Serbia’s saviour. Ours are not Western values. They are the universal values of the human spirit and anywhere, any time, ordinary people are given the chance to choose, the choice is the same. Freedom not tyranny. Democracy not dictatorship. The rule of law not the rule of the secret police. More »
02-09-03 | 22:25 |

Denmark: A Case Study in Social Democracy

In a previous article—”Denmark: Potemkin Village”—I documented the downside to Denmark. Despite its reputation as a showcase of political utopia, 40 percent of its adult population live on government transfer income, full-time, all-year. A little more than a third of these people are pensioners and the rest are working age. About one third of the people who actually hold a job work for the government or government-owned companies. The effective tax level is around 70 percent, not the 50 percent that is usually reported (the lower figure comes about by disregarding the effects of the sales tax and excise taxes). More »
02-09-03 | 22:22 | 1 comment

Denmark: Potemkin Village

A heritage of honesty and hard work are marvelous tools for papering over the failures of welfarism and subtle servitude. With the right attitude, even a prison population can settle into a comfortable and egalitarian existence, one that might even impress Queen Catherine passing by on a boat. But lacking energy, enterprise, entrepreneurship, and freedom, such systems of economic control exact a huge toll with the passage of time. More »
02-09-03 | 22:20 |

EU Won't Ban Hamas

Rebuffing Washington, the European Union decided last week that it will not reclassify the political wing of Hamas as a terrorist group, insisting that its activities qualify it as a legitimate organization. More »
02-09-03 | 22:16 |

European Unification as the New Frontier of Collectivist Redistribution

One of the most important contemporary debates is the one on the European unification and the project to create a centralized State: with a single currency, a democratic parliament and a monopolistic government. In this context, the current failure of the EMU is used as a good argument in favor of an even more accelerated path toward the transfer of powers from the old Nation-States to Brussels and Strasbourg. According to many economists and political scientists, the bad performance of the European single currency is the consequence of a lack of institutional unity. Hoping for a reversal in the declining power of western socialist ideals they want more and more political centralization and economic planning. These discussions are plagued by four main superstitions, and in the first part of my lecture I will try to show how irrational it is the idea of unifying this continent. Europeans seem to have accepted the idea of a “European democracy” without analyzing its implications. More »
02-09-03 | 22:16 |

The Euro-Revolt

Two seismic world events have defined our times. They’ve framed a generation’s hopes and its fears. On 9th November 1989 the Berlin Wall came down – the Cold War was over. The second historic event produced a very different kind of shockwave, evil and destructive in nature. More »
02-09-03 | 22:11 |

Eliminating 'Eurosclerosis'

For many centuries Europeans have been fascinated with America’s political and economic developments. One of the best-known European explorers of the secret of America’s success was undoubtedly Alexis de Tocqueville. Dissatisfied with the prevailing political situation in Europe, especially France, he was eager to understand why America had apparently succeeded in realising the ideals of the French revolution (liberté, égalité, fraternité), while France was not. He went to the States and ‘sought the image of democracy itself’. More »
02-09-03 | 22:08 |

Socialism's Farewell Note

The proposed European Constitution represents the last gasp of European socialism. With its 260 pages and 70,000 words, it is one of the longest and most uninspiring farewell notes in human history. Like the Roman Emperor Diocletian, who tried to avert the demise of his weak and economically mismanaged empire by carving his absurd decrees in stone, Giscard D’Estaing and his fellow all-too-conventional “conventionalists” labored for months to codify Europe’s venerated model of “social market economy.” History suggests that their efforts will have been in vain. More »
02-09-03 | 22:05 |