Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The United States Of Europe

I love our continent. I love Europe and I love European Union in most parts. But I also love Finland.

I stand by everything EU has decided before adding 10 countries in one go, even if I don't agree with all of the decisions. After that there has been some poor decision making every now and then and my faith towards this union is shaking..

The end of European Union started when we expanded by something like 65% larger to the east. First 10 countries then 2. Not that I have anything against those countries being in EU, but the expansion was too quick. What's the hurry? Take couple of the countries, see how it goes. When everyone is again on the same level, take some more. And so on.

To put some scale, here's a timeline in a nutshell: When EEC was formed in late 50's, it took more than 10 years, until 70's, for three more countries to join. 8 years later one more country. 5 years later two more in the 80's. From that it took 7 years, until 1993 to become EU. It took Finland, Sweden and Austria 2 more years to decide whether they want to be in EU, but we joined and helped built the union better. This is a slow progression on a western scale. So after waiting 9 long years, instead of taking 2-3 countries along we expanded with 10 countries and 2 more in couple of years. Great. Just in case we have ten(ish) more countries we want to assimilate. Not all of them are even in Europe!

Of course it was us westerners who need to be in such a big hurry. In Asia, they can wait for longer than one man's lifetime. We can't wait even a half a lifetime before we start destroying what we built. Too much, too quickly is never a good idea. Try it out yourself with marshmallows, for example.

Now they have done it. We have a European Constitution. Ok, they don't call it a constitution, but what is a paper that overrides individual country's (referred from here on as a state) law but a constitution?

This is not going to ease up tension. It's going to gather it. For example just recently big wine producing states close to Mediterranean Sea wanted that only those drinks that have no added sugar and are made only from grapes can be called wines. I'm fine with that. I come from a Nordic state and we value our Vodka kind of the same way as Mediterranean states value their wine. Then those states started to blabber something weird. Only wine-producing states can sell wine. What? Did I read right? No, can't be right. Error in Finnish translation in the newspaper. Must be. But wait, there's more! They want that anything with alcohol, sugar and water can be sold as Vodka.

So... wine that you like must have very strict rules - since you have long roots with them and we just don't understand since we don't have that wine-culture? And at the same time Vodka should be allowed to be produced from cow manure if one likes to do so, since you don't understand the delicate differences in Vodka?

This is how we agree on a recreational drink level. And now we need to agree about common rules on a political level?

I support EU as a trade union, not on a constitutional level. There's no way I'm going to war if some crazy lady on some island-state wishes me to. Trade borders open, good trade regulations, some shared laws, but every country can keep their own laws and constitution. I also have nothing against sharing information about serious offenders between EU countries, either. But it must be a serious offense. But I do have a lot against state-like governing which may lead EU to resemble of a country it tries to imitate.

As I said earlier, not too much, not too quickly. Slowly but surely. I want Europe to be a strong continent. No rush. I prefer to think we have 27 wise men* who decide what is good and share their wisdom with us and each country can decide for themselves. I know it's too utopistic way of thinking, but I'd like it. We need to equalize our economic differences first, before massive expansion. We don't need to follow the footsteps of the promised land of lawsuits in handling our money. Sure, when you have a lot, your expenses are different, but you handle the money differently also. We are the older brother. We have strong roots in banking. And I know we can keep our cultures intact, rich and yet united as they are. Let's show we can be a strong economic force, with no interest in brute force. Let's show the world we can be the smarter brother.

More info:
Brussels Journal

* Sounds fairy-tale like.


FlyingRhino said...

Finally! Somebody that's also against the expansion of 10 countries into the EU at the same time. Would have make more sense to me as well to let 2 or 3 countries enter at first. Preferably the richest (or less poor) countries of the 10, like the Czech republic, Hungary and Malta. It wouldn't have to take long before those countries are well integrated countries within the EU.

Now all 12 countries that came into the EU since may 2004 need financial support from the 14 countries that were in the EU already. In this way, development in the 12 recently added countries only takes up more time. But apparently, the EU is desperate to keep it's mainly powerful economic position in the world with Asian countries, like China and India, keen to take over this position. No wonder they can wait for a lifetime in Asia with an annual economic growth of 10%.

In the meanwhile, I'm still not very positive about the EU. Probably because us Dutch folks have paid shitloads of money to the EU in the past without having some kind of influence into the European government because we are such a tiny country. And the worst of it all is that the Dutch government doesn't give us a second referendum for the new European treaty after we massively said no (together with the French (usually people that don't have much problems to afkraken everything that's no particular part of their culture, such as the almighty vodka) although that's not really a surprise, is it?) against the first model of the new European constitution. No wonder that faith in politics is just as rare as sunshine or even daylight during arctic winters...

Sami Rautiainen said...

(Ach... Not happy with all my non-sequitur mistakes/arguments in my U.S.E. post...)