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Old 11-01-2012, 10:35 AM   #196
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I agree with this. A single government-like institution can't force people to forget about their history and culture in a short time span. If it could ever happen, it would take many generations. And even then, there will still be a pocket of people who remember their background.
Let's imagine the EU turns into a federation like the US. Then, we all go to elections to elect a president. The president elect is, let's imagine, austrian. Can we all imagine the tensions in the southern and eastern countries against the central Europe countries, in times of unpopular policies applied by "a man who comes from the same country Hitler did"?
And this is a mere example. It could be the opposite, it could be greek president that would generate hatred from the balcains people's (Macedonia, Serbia, Albania... even if some of these countries are not in the EU... yet) and in central Europe countries.
If Spain starts a new civil war between kingdoms who want to be independent, do y'all think that finish, danish or czech armies are interested in a conflict that they don't feel it belongs to them? I mean, a New Yorker and a Californian feel American the same way. A swedish and a maltese, or a slovakian and spanish don't.
Federalism, true federalism in Europe is an utopia, it will never happen or succeed. And judging on the history of the EU, who has been built on the people's walls (there was no referendums for most steps of the construction of the EU), forced federalism will end so badly...
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Old 11-01-2012, 10:37 AM   #197
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In regards to other European countries, I don't think the Baltics are travelling all that well at the moment. Not to mention countries like Ukraine and Russia are never really heading in positive directions, notably the latter and I think it's commonly known that Russia is home to a staggering amount of fascists, on the streets and in the government. But then again, you can't really think positively of a country which has a political situation which has people like Zhirinovsky still somehow relevant.
Russia in not interested in the collapse of the EU because of the economical and commercial advantages. But Russia is interested in the embrittlement of a few regions like Greece and the Balcains.
When Greece collapses and enters into a military regime... Who do you think is gonna "help" them in the "turkish question"?
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Old 11-01-2012, 10:52 AM   #198
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I agree with this. A single government-like institution can't force people to forget about their history and culture in a short time span. If it could ever happen, it would take many generations. And even then, there will still be a pocket of people who remember their background.
absolutely - i see this here in my village, at micro-level - some older families have owned their homes here for many (4 +) generations and even French people who come from just a few miles away or another region (not to mention "Parisians") are referred to as "foreigners"!

yet the rural community, the farmers depend on the EU for their livelihood - they are desperate to stay within the EU so that they can get their subsidies - otherwise they would not be able to survive and the countryside would die...
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Old 11-01-2012, 11:01 AM   #199
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Really interesting insights Aygo. Portugal has gotten very little (if any) press in North America compared to Spain/Italy/Greece and even Ireland a couple of years ago. I also think that because of the 2008 financial crisis, North America is even more insular now and concerned with its own problems which pushes the European financial crisis to the back of our minds.

Oddly enough the Balkans are actually a region that I would be least worried about. Nobody there has any interest in physical conflict anymore - these people fought and died a mere 20 years ago and I don't want to say that they got it out of their system, but in a way, yes. The appetite for conflict among nations there doesn't exist like it did in the past, but what does exist is the appetite for domestic social unrest. Very similar numbers re: unemployment, especially of young people. Whereas their tourism is concerned, a country like Croatia is very lucky that it doesn't operate on the Euro at this point. A move to the Euro would really have disastrous effects, much like Portugal, Spain, Greece are seeing in their tourist sectors.
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Old 11-01-2012, 11:02 AM   #200
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absolutely - i see this here in my village, at micro-level - some older families have owned their homes here for many (4 +) generations and even French people who come from just a few miles away or another region (not to mention "Parisians") are referred to as "foreigners"!

yet the rural community, the farmers depend on the EU for their livelihood - they are desperate to stay within the EU so that they can get their subsidies - otherwise they would not be able to survive and the countryside would die...
This.
In some countries like mine that doesn't exist much (although there's some indifference of North vs South or Continental Portugal vs Islands), but that's a reality in most countries in Europe.
If this kind of tensions exist inside the countries, now imagine it between very different nations in a Europe that's small in area but huge and with great distances in cultural diversity.
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Old 11-01-2012, 11:09 AM   #201
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If this kind of tensions exist inside the countries, now imagine it between very different nations in a Europe that's small in area but huge and with great distances in cultural diversity.


not to mention the different languages too!
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Old 11-01-2012, 11:10 AM   #202
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Really interesting insights Aygo. Portugal has gotten very little (if any) press in North America compared to Spain/Italy/Greece and even Ireland a couple of years ago. I also think that because of the 2008 financial crisis, North America is even more insular now and concerned with its own problems which pushes the European financial crisis to the back of our minds.

Oddly enough the Balkans are actually a region that I would be least worried about. Nobody there has any interest in physical conflict anymore - these people fought and died a mere 20 years ago and I don't want to say that they got it out of their system, but in a way, yes. The appetite for conflict among nations there doesn't exist like it did in the past, but what does exist is the appetite for domestic social unrest. Very similar numbers re: unemployment, especially of young people. Whereas their tourism is concerned, a country like Croatia is very lucky that it doesn't operate on the Euro at this point. A move to the Euro would really have disastrous effects, much like Portugal, Spain, Greece are seeing in their tourist sectors.
Croatia will join the EU on January 1st 2013 and the Lisbon Treaty says that all countries that are entering or in the EU are required to join the Euro.
I wouldn't be so peaceful about the Balcains. The Kosovo question is not resolved. Serbia still doesn't recognize independence. Even inside the EU there are oposite positions. Example: Portugal recognizes Kosovo as an independent state but our neighbour Spain doesn't. There's also the Voivodina question, similar to Kosovo's. And Albania is also a case that's never close. History has shown that in the Balkans, simply throwing logs around the fire is enough for the barrel to explode again.
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Old 11-01-2012, 11:15 AM   #203
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not to mention the different languages too!
Exactly. When I mentioned cultural diversity, I included the language.
Imagine me or mama_cass being governed by a President that comes from Czech Republic.

I don't want him, a man who doesn't even speaks my language and that lives thousands of miles away, to rule me and probably mama_cass agrees.

And then, me and mama_cass would disagree in another point. She lives in a country who has a presidential regime - I don't know, maybe I'm wrong, but I assume that she's for the presidential regime. I live in a mostly parlamentary regime, and I'd be against presidential regime. In fact, I'm against the fact that, in European Elections today, I can only vote for the deputees in my country. But I didn't choose that asshole of Durão Barroso (I didn't vote for him for Prime-Minister in 2002 and didn't vote for President of the European Comission in 2004 and 2009). I don't recognize political legitimacy on him.
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Old 11-01-2012, 11:22 AM   #204
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Croatia will join the EU on January 1st 2013 and the Lisbon Treaty says that all countries that are entering or in the EU are required to join the Euro.
In theory. But in reality you need to meet all the economic convergence criteria. It is conceivable that this doesn't happen for 10+ years and who knows what the status of the Euro will be by then.
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Old 11-01-2012, 11:32 AM   #205
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In theory. But in reality you need to meet all the economic convergence criteria. It is conceivable that this doesn't happen for 10+ years and who knows what the status of the Euro will be by then.
It's in the statutes of the EU, revised by the Treaty of Lisbon in 2007.
The first members of the Euro also failed to care about economic/fiscal/social/financial convergence and harmony when they founded the currency, nor the countries that followed.
Europe is not learning one single thing from the mistakes commited, including the architecture of the Euro. Why should they care about it now?
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Old 11-01-2012, 11:35 AM   #206
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And then, me and mama_cass would disagree in another point. She lives in a country who has a presidential regime - I don't know, maybe I'm wrong, but I assume that she's for the presidential regime.
hehe i've known both systems actually - i'm English so was brought up with parliament and a queen, but have lived in France most of my adult/working life... tbh, i think i prefer parliament + the queen - i think the French president has too much power - too Napoleonic-like which would be pretty scary if someone nasty got into power, not to mention the power the local mayors have here - i see very little democracy at local level as the mayors have so much power and our mayor in particular will regularly override the local councillors on various local issues which is quite disturbing and very frustrating... i do think the French system needs a democratic overhaul especially at local level for sure - apparently the Swiss system is meant to be a good model - lots of decision-making at grass-roots level by local councils - apparently it is very effective and democratic... i think decisions should come from the people in a democracy, not be imposed from the top - i always thought that was the difference between a democracy and a dictatorship lol!!
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Old 11-01-2012, 11:53 AM   #207
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It's in the statutes of the EU, revised by the Treaty of Lisbon in 2007.
The first members of the Euro also failed to care about economic/fiscal/social/financial convergence and harmony when they founded the currency, nor the countries that followed.
Europe is not learning one single thing from the mistakes commited, including the architecture of the Euro. Why should they care about it now?
There are countries that have been members of the EU for 16-18 years and have not yet managed to adopt the Euro. No way does Croatia get anywhere near the Euro for a long, long time. Much has been written on this in Bloomberg and so on. Frankly I'd say it's a better bet that the Euro won't exist by then.
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Old 11-01-2012, 12:25 PM   #208
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There are countries that have been members of the EU for 16-18 years and have not yet managed to adopt the Euro. No way does Croatia get anywhere near the Euro for a long, long time. Much has been written on this in Bloomberg and so on. Frankly I'd say it's a better bet that the Euro won't exist by then.
Oh I definitely would advise countries (special small economies) not to join the Euro and to mantain their own soveraignty.
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Old 11-01-2012, 12:31 PM   #209
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hehe i've known both systems actually - i'm English so was brought up with parliament and a queen, but have lived in France most of my adult/working life... tbh, i think i prefer parliament + the queen - i think the French president has too much power - too Napoleonic-like which would be pretty scary if someone nasty got into power, not to mention the power the local mayors have here - i see very little democracy at local level as the mayors have so much power and our mayor in particular will regularly override the local councillors on various local issues which is quite disturbing and very frustrating... i do think the French system needs a democratic overhaul especially at local level for sure - apparently the Swiss system is meant to be a good model - lots of decision-making at grass-roots level by local councils - apparently it is very effective and democratic... i think decisions should come from the people in a democracy, not be imposed from the top - i always thought that was the difference between a democracy and a dictatorship lol!!
I agree with most of this. Altough I don't like monarchies (to me, the idea that someone was appointed by a divine entity or whoever to rule a territory, is somewhat hallucinatory in terms of psyche - and of course this is an exaggeration on my part), I'm 100% republican (not in the "American Republicans" sense, because I'm mostly lefttist) and pro Parlamentary system. So, I think the british system (with the exception of the Queen instead of a President elected by universal suffrage like any other representant) is better in terms of distribution of the power.

But, by curiosity, hasn't the french system already suffered several changes through the last decades, or am I wrong and mixing it with something else?
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Old 11-01-2012, 12:32 PM   #210
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Question for you about the sentiment in Portugal - if, suppose, Greece was able to default and go back to the drachma, what would the views be in Portugal/Spain on staying with the Euro? In theory Greece on a drachma could significantly outcompete these countries in terms of tourism (why not go to Greece for 1/4 of the cost, for example). Any other southern European country with a significant tourist component would be very negatively impacted, no?
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