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Juncker's State Of The EUnion Address
#11
(09-14-2017, 11:18 AM)Protheroe Wrote: "straw man" <groans>

Don't tell me that me the UK would have been somehow immune from the federalist tendencies if we'd voted to Remain. It would only have encouraged them FFS sake.

We would have been immune as we would have continued blocking it. There was no indication that the UK wouldn't have continued blocking it. The EU would need a unanimous verdict to become more federal, you can't get a unanimous verdict if the UK was against it (and the Eastern European states, Denmark, Sweden and the Dutch which are also vehemently opposed to more a more federal EU).
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#12
Come on, BB - you know we are powerless to resist: we didn't want to join the Euro, but we had no choice; we were railroaded into Schengen, and dragged kicking and screaming into tax harmonisation.

Or not...
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#13
(09-13-2017, 04:13 PM)Protheroe Wrote:
Quote:What a pickle. If Brexit is a success, it will bolster anti-EU sentiment across Europe. If Brexit is sabotaged by the EU, it will expose the EU’s nature… and bolster anti-EU sentiment across Europe and elsewhere.

The EU must feel surrounded by problems. To the west, the UK is leaving. To the south, bizarre government budgets require steady bailouts, support from non-EU institutions, and absurd monetary policy. In the north, the mood for integration is fizzling. And in the east, you have open defiance of EU policy. Behind that, literally and financially, you have Russia.

You might think Brexit is the big story of the lot. It obviously is for Brits. But I’m not so sure Brexit itself is the key to Brexit. That resides in how the EU reacts to our departure.

One year ago, I was touring eastern Europe with the Free Market Road Show. A bundle of speakers from all around the world tried to espouse free-market values and explain the benefits to an audience between 50 and 500 people across dozens of cities.

We talked about the surprising amount of Land Rovers at Moldova’s border with EU nations, why Uber was turning to governments for protection like former Soviet state-owned enterprises, and how so-called free trade agreements are like a thief offering to give you back some of the cash they stole in the first place. Then we’d charge off to the next city.

The flaw in the plan, as I could see it, was that some in the audience implicitly understood what we said and therefore planned to leave for western Europe at the earliest opportunity to join the others who had figured it out.

The rest of the audience planned to work for the government because that’s the only secure job around. In other words, the collectivist culture dying around them had turned the locals into individualists of the wrong kind. Runaways and those motivated by fear, not optimism, ambition or wealth.

That explains why eastern Europe is turning nationalist. People want the security once promised to them. Those willing to pursue a dynamic life have left for western Europe. And the rest turn to a strong government.

Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and soon Czechia, which changed its name from Czech Republic without anyone bothering to take note, have all fallen to eurosceptic, anti-immigration and populist leaders. Many of Italy’s leading parties increasingly campaign for a new currency too. The movement didn’t die with Marine Le Pen.

But back to eastern Europe because it’s the key to Europe’s future. These are the nations supposedly benefiting most from being inside the EU.

The first thing you notice in these poorer nations of the EU is how many bridges the EU has built there. Bright blue footbridges proudly declaring EU funds built them scatter the countryside in all sorts of surprising places. Behind one such bridge on the way to Montenegro I saw a queue for an outhouse in the middle of a bunch of fields. The American sitting next to me in the car asked what it is and why there are people queueing there.

Of course, it’s not just bridges and EU government funds. Western European companies have used the east’s low cost of labour to build factories. I met a Swiss-German packaging magnate who had filled eastern Europe with his booming factories. Thomas Piketty recently wrote in one of his co-authored economics papers that eastern European countries are “Foreign-owned countries”. Foreign direct investment has been pouring in at an enormous pace. This means profits flow straight back out of the country too.

The whole deal doesn’t look so good from their point of view. Czechia’s president recently declared the country would be better off rejecting the EU’s refugee quota and forgoing EU subsidies.

These sorts of problems are inherent in the EU. Throwing a bunch of cats into a bag and beating it with regulations and mass refugee immigration does not work well to promote harmony even if you pour in cream. Eastern European states are familiar with unions that benefit others.

Signs of the breakdown are spreading right across Europe though. I spent half an hour waiting at the German/Austrian and Austrian/Italian border in the last few days thanks to border controls. Google Maps explains how to bypass them with its traffic warnings if you bother to check in time.

The cracks in the EU are getting deeper all the time. This results in good and bad changes. With the UK gone, it will increasingly be bad changes. Negotiating with an EU that has its back to the wall will be hard.

We're off just at the right time. My avatar wasn't supposed to be an instruction manual.

What a pile of crap. Whilst there still is a level of flight from central Europe west there's an increasing flow both back and from the south of Europe as younger people do what the freedom of movement is supposed to do and allow high unemployment areas move to places where there are lots of jobs. Incomes are rising and fast for younger people in particular and certainly my company is paying about 20% more than we were 3 years ago for the same level.
There are a few bridges to nowhere but they exist in most places, corruption is still a problem and yes the old and poorly educated do lean back to the days of old but is that much different to the brexit vote?
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#14
"What a pile of crap"?

So the Visegrad 4 aren't broadly nationalist? Broadly protectionist?

Even Piketty recognises that the extractive regime of the 'old' EU is bleeding Eastern Europe dry whilst throwing them the odd bone of infrastructure subsidies. I pity Poles, Hungarians, Czechs & Slovaks - they swapped one form of extractive tyranny for another. As Gorbachev famously said “The most puzzling development in politics during the last decade is the apparent determination of Western European leaders to re-create the Soviet Union in Western Europe.”

Thank goodness we're going.
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#15
(09-14-2017, 03:47 PM)Protheroe Wrote: "What a pile of crap"?

So the Visegrad 4 aren't broadly nationalist? Broadly protectionist?

Even Piketty recognises that the extractive regime of the 'old' EU is bleeding Eastern Europe dry whilst throwing them the odd bone of infrastructure subsidies. I pity Poles, Hungarians, Czechs & Slovaks - they swapped one form of extractive tyranny for another. As Gorbachev famously said “The most puzzling development in politics during the last decade is the apparent determination of Western European leaders to re-create the Soviet Union in Western Europe.”

Thank goodness we're going.

I wouldn't consider the party you support much less extreme, nationalist or protectionist these days, they have certainly long left the center ground.

Slovak government is populist but far from extreme, Hungary and Poland more so but looking at US, Italy etc they are no worse. Economically the countries continue to progress.
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#16
(09-14-2017, 07:56 PM)Bratislava Baggie Wrote: I wouldn't consider the party you support much less extreme, nationalist or protectionist these days, they have certainly long left the center ground.

I'd be obliged if you could let me know what specific policies you consider "extreme", "nationalist" or "protectionist"?

I'm not sure I follow. Granted, I'd prefer a extremely liberal Brexit but I'm struggling to comprehend what you'd find extreme about this lot. They strike me to be left of Blair right now.
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