Sunday, March 25, 2007

The EU Turns 50

As the EU turns 50, various sources are looking back at its long and turbulent history. The Washington Times observes, rather tongue in cheek, that the EU has been "confounding skeptics and disappointing supporters at nearly every step along the way."

The WSJ looks at the EU's birthday, commenting upon the good, the bad, and the French. Niall Ferguson observes that the EU is "unloved and mistruted, even by the French." The BBC notes the latest calls for reform of the EU, and gives their own retrospective on the Treaty of Rome and various aspects of the EU's history here, here and here. The BBC also examines the EU's economic performance as well as EU foreign policy, and other alleged benefits of EU membership. The Guardian sees the EU as being in a mid-life crisis. I have my doubts about the EU as anything other then an economic bloc, at which it has been relatively successful, and as a mechanism to keep the Europeans from killing each other en masse every thirty years or so. I think EU attempts to forge a common foreign and social policy are misguided at best, but I will save the long essay on that for another time.

Update: Tim Harnes of the U.K. Times has a somewhat jaundiced view of the EU's birthday:

Though the occasion symbolised a collective detachment from reality, it contained a message within the pious “Declaration of Berlin” that was formally launched yesterday. The heirs to Thomas Jefferson will have no reason to fear the competition from this.

The text is turgid and it is contains near-comic double-talk. It starts with the statement that “Europe was for centuries an Idea” (and there were those of us who thought that it was a geographical landmass). It moves on swiftly to “European unity has enabled us to live in peace and prosperity” (Germany has stopped invading France) and “we have to thank the love of freedom of the people of Central and Eastern Europe that Europe’s unnatural divisions are today finally overcome” (sorry that it took 15 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall to let you in, but never mind).

It detours into “only together can we preserve our European social model in the future” (we would rather put up with unemployment than do anything that smacked of the American economy). It pledges that “the European Union will continue to live in the future on the basis of its openness” (unless you happen to be Turkey, in which case the door will be superglued closed).

Do read the whole article.

No comments:


View My Stats