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European Integration
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John C. Smith
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Feb 20, 2004, 10:06 PM
 
What are your thoughts on European Integration?

I believe economic unification is very smart for europe, however the euro has not yet shown itself to be a sustainable currency. Political unification is more tricky, and I am against a european constitution, a european military, or european foreign minister. I have a pragmatic view of the whole situation, rather than the idealistic view held by Chirac and Schroder. I don't believe in a future where europe is just one country, since the people, religions, and customs are too diverse.

However, I think that the European Union has to tackle the issue of immigration, because quite frankly I believe that too many "outsiders" are moving to countries like France and Holland, which causes too many problems for the native people.

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FeLiZeCaT
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Feb 21, 2004, 08:13 AM
 
Quote from John C. Smith:

which causes too many problems for the native people
_____________________________________

What do you mean exactly by "problems" and "too many"?
( Last edited by FeLiZeCaT; Feb 21, 2004 at 08:45 AM. )
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theolein
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Feb 21, 2004, 08:40 AM
 
Whenever someone from the UK talks about European integration and complains about the people's being too diverse, I see an Englishman who is too lazy to learn another language.
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phoenixboy
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Feb 21, 2004, 09:21 AM
 
Originally posted by John C. Smith:
What are your thoughts on European Integration?
it's total sh*te.

the only thing that's going to happen, is that the social divide is going to become ever so much bigger. european integration (which is only a part of whole globalization™ scheme) is going to hold a brave new world for those "on top", for the "others" ethnic strife, corruption, nationalism and isolationism will be on the menue (see france (le pen), the country formerly known as yougoslavia, russia etc.)
( Last edited by phoenixboy; Feb 21, 2004 at 01:27 PM. )

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John C. Smith  (op)
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Feb 21, 2004, 12:20 PM
 
Originally posted by theolein:
Whenever someone from the UK talks about European integration and complains about the people's being too diverse, I see an Englishman who is too lazy to learn another language.
What's with the insults?

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Feb 21, 2004, 01:20 PM
 
Originally posted by theolein:
Whenever someone from the UK talks about European integration and complains about the people's being too diverse, I see an Englishman who is too lazy to learn another language.
___

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Logic
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Feb 21, 2004, 01:39 PM
 
Originally posted by John C. Smith:
What are your thoughts on European Integration?

I believe economic unification is very smart for europe, however the euro has not yet shown itself to be a sustainable currency. Political unification is more tricky, and I am against a european constitution, a european military, or european foreign minister. I have a pragmatic view of the whole situation, rather than the idealistic view held by Chirac and Schroder. I don't believe in a future where europe is just one country, since the people, religions, and customs are too diverse.

However, I think that the European Union has to tackle the issue of immigration, because quite frankly I believe that too many "outsiders" are moving to countries like France and Holland, which causes too many problems for the native people.
Economic Unification:

Needs to get more effective with less influence from politicians, but is well on it's way and will be very important in the future.

The Euro:

Is a bit too strong at the moment and needs to settle at some level. It's bad for European industries to have a currency that fluctuates that much and at the moment it is hurting the import/export balance because it is so strong. IMO all EU nations should be apart of it. One currency would be much stronger and could make a serious impact on how trades will develop, like the OPEC changing to Euro instead of Dollars.

European Constitution:

I support it as long as it respects each nations culture and makes sure the smaller nations won't be trampled by the big ones. It could make fighting crime easier if it made sure cooperation between the different countries becomes better. Like I said, most important is that it prevents the bigger nations from taking control. If it will do that I would probably support it.

European Military:

Should have been done a long time ago. Should be kept out of NATO and only depend on EU decisions. This is the only way Europe can create a really strong military, that is useful. But has to balance between being a primary defense force and assault force. I know several nations in EU would not want the EU military to be involved in crisis all over the world. Then there is the problem of determining if each nation should have the right to veto or if it should be some kind of force that people sign up for and will then be under the complete control of the majority of the EU. I don't know but really want to see this happen sooner rather than later.

European foreign minister:

I would like to see that as well. See no problem with that.


Overall I would like to see more integration and Europe moving into being "one nation". There are a few problem but those could probably be resolved if the will is there. And about the immigration part. I'm against the policy of nations importing people for work when there is a shortage of labour and then cut the "quotas" down when there isn't enough labour. Have to fix that but I'm not sure restricting it even more will solve anything. If anything we should show that we(Europeans) believe we live in the world, and not(what seems to be the belief in certain countries) that we only live in our own country. IMO the world won't be a better place until then.

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John C. Smith  (op)
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Feb 21, 2004, 02:19 PM
 
And what of Turkey? Do you think they should join the EU? Personally I think that the EU should stop expanding, and in the meantime should encourage Turkey to treat its ethnic minorities better. Turkey should also become more democratic before it is allowed in. I do think though that there's a good chance it will someday join the union.

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Feb 21, 2004, 04:35 PM
 
I think it's good overall, but creates an international crisis.

Europe becoming unified means it acts as one body. One country can't go to war without others agreeing. It's becoming more and more important for it to act as one hand, rather than each on it's own.

With that said. It's treated individually by bodies such as the UN. Meaning a several votes, that will more and more often, always vote the same way. We see this already quite a bit, and over time it will become more and more common.

There's nothing wrong with working together, or agreement. But it becomes a problem when one group dominates what should be an international organization.

All one needs to do is persuade Europe to agree... and they have extreme amounts of power. It's no longer several countries that you need to persuade.

It's like consolidating launch codes for a nuclear weapon into a 4 digit number. Removes quite a bit of security.


It's not so bad for the US, but the world as a whole. The UN being a level playing field is important. It was never quite that, but closer in the past than it's becoming in the future.


I've heard some global politics experts predict that the UN will be disolved in 10-15 years because of this (among other) issues. perhaps they are right.

I personally hope that the UN starts working on a reorganization NOW, rather than become outdated. It's a beneficial body, but hasn't kept up with how the world has changed. There's quite a bit of evolution in the world, and the UN looks like it's in a time warp.
     
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Feb 23, 2004, 01:28 AM
 
1. The Euro is a relatively stable currency and it is expensive due to the cheap dollar: the Euro is not overvalued, the dollar is extremely weak.

2. European Military. No new idea, a European Military was supposed to be created in the mid-50s as a reaction to the Soviet Threat. It failed, because the French Parliament did not ratify the treaties.

Using synergy effects is by no means new (NATO, troops in Kosovo, etc.), so coordinating the efforts makes sense.

3. The current condrum of contracts that the EU is woven from are contradictive and need a new major overhaul. Fixing things in writing is not bad. They just clarify the details and shift the power from the foreign ministers to the European Parliament. Contrary to popular belief, current EU legislation is already infringing on national laws on a broad range of topics.


4. France and Germany: Idealists? I don't think those two countries have too many idealistic ideas about the European integration, as can be seen from the dispute of the Big Three with Poland and Spain: they do fight for their interests and the EU has a strong French character. If any nation, then Germany is rather willing to sacrifice own interests for the European idea because of its benefits.

5. Diversity among Europeans. From what I can see here in Japan, where we have built up a strong European community, mainly French, Germans, British and Polish, is that the diversity is much smaller than many people would think it is. Within Germany (and for instance the States or Japan -- all countries where I have lived for a longer time) the regional differences are about as big as the differences between Europeans from different nations. So incorporating different nations into one political body is a difficult task, but it is (as we can see on a regional level) by far not impossible.

6. Benefits. The benefits for a common currency for instance are very much clear: just the absence of the risk of volatile conversion rates stabilizes economy. The Euro is also not a weak currency, as the ECB is modeled closely after the German Bundesbank system that had made the Mark a stable currency.

Political unification is another matter. On a practical level, there are so many common interests, especially with regard to any kind of crisis prevention and crisis intervention (be it financial, war, poverty, etc.), but also strong economical interests, convinced European countries to create European agencies to set common standards (e. g. so that certain appliances don't have to be approved by each country separately). Globalization forces single countries to cooperate with other countries if they still want to be able to prevent harmful developments (creation of monopolies).

Then, there is the big field of common culture. That's probably the hardest point as we can see with the discussion about Turkey. The current standards would allow e. g. Turkey to become part of the EU, i. e. full membership. Obviously, that's a tricky question, so I'll discuss the benefits of an integration instead. What I notice among young people is that a European identity is forming, but maybe that's just my community here. I think, very important for them (and me) right now, is to create a new balance of powers on a global scale, to proliferate European values to other countries.

7. Typically British? I find your statement (no offense intended) typical for a Brit. In case someone from another nation cannot understand why another nation reacts in a certain way, just take a look at history.

In case of Britain, this means: geographically, it is separated from the ‘continent' (one British girl even used the term Europe for continent ). It has no written constitution, hence another legal tradition than Germany or France (case law vs. law that is fixed in writing). Also, due to the fact that for a long time, it had been the world's unchallenged superpower, Britain tends to give away very little powers to other authorities. Especially since its (economical, political) significance had been reduced from #1 superpower to one nation among others; Germany's economy (despite having lost WW2) is still stronger (after US and Japan), i. e. the the balance of powers has been shifted.
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voodoo
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Feb 23, 2004, 05:51 AM
 
Originally posted by John C. Smith:
And what of Turkey? Do you think they should join the EU? Personally I think that the EU should stop expanding, and in the meantime should encourage Turkey to treat its ethnic minorities better. Turkey should also become more democratic before it is allowed in. I do think though that there's a good chance it will someday join the union.
Turkey will never never never become a part of the EU. Not in our lifetime.
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Klaus1
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Feb 23, 2004, 06:40 AM
 
However, I think that the European Union has to tackle the issue of immigration, because quite frankly I believe that too many "outsiders" are moving to countries like France and Holland, which causes too many problems for the native people.
Other EU citizens (like myself) are not, of course, 'outsiders'. The freedom to travel between, live in and work in any and all EU countries is one of the main benefits of the EU. The only barrier to doing so is one of language.

If by 'outsiders' you mean people from non-EU countries who have shown courage and initiative to leave their own society for the freedom and opportunities perceived to be available in the EU, then they should be welcomed with open arms, assuming they can offer skills in short supply.

If you mean genuine asylum-seekers who may have risked their lives to get here, they should also be welcomed. If you mean 'economic migrants' out to 'exploit the benefit system' then one can only marvel at their choice of the UK, which has the lowest benefits in the EU!

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Sven G
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Feb 23, 2004, 11:09 AM
 
Originally posted by Klaus1:
The freedom to travel between, live in and work in any and all EU countries is one of the main benefits of the EU. The only barrier to doing so is one of language.
AFAIK, there still are borders, customs and such antiquated nonsense, sadly: regreattably, the "new" EU seems to be an almost purely economical-interests-based one...

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