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Old 12-15-2011, 07:58 PM   #81
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Good and timely quote. Thatcher always suspected the EU of being an essentially a socialist project. Can't say I disagree with her.
The EU project if it was a socialist project, it was way long ago, even before Thatcher.
The biggest and most flagrant difference between Socialism and Social-Democracy (and that all pseudo-socialist leaders and parties avoid to talk and to explain) is that Social-Democracy accepts the market-type economy and its basic rules and Socialism doesn't, better, Socialism avoids it.

So, not only the European leaders of the 1970's accepted with open arms the total desregulation for the financial markets of the early 1970's that included Europe, but the 1980's and 1990's leaders decided not to go back into it and to follow an european construction based, precisely, on the free market concurrency.

Other examples that THIS european construction is now way socialist at all is the project of European Constitution and the Lisbon Treaty. I remember somethings that I have already posted on this forum about the Lisbon Treaty and the project of European Constitution. I'm going to do copy/paste of a post I did in November about this subject:

- It's a liberalist constitution;
- When it's approved it's not possible to change it;
- The word "bank" appears 176 times (in more than those 800 pages), "market" 78 times, "competition" 174 times... And "social progress" 3 times... "brotherhood" or "fraternity" appears... 0(!) times;
- "Public service" is reffered... Only 1(!) time and only to talk about transport coordination;
- "The right to have a job", "the right to a minimum salary, income or retirement pension", "the right to health" are reffered... 0(!) times. There no "right to accomodation", but only the "right to be accomodated";
- It reffers that "public services must be privatized and oppened to competition" and it says that "public help funds" must be restricted;
- The European Parliment has no right to propose laws, that's a function of the European Commission which is not directly elected in the european elections;
- The priority of the EU is to fight - not unemployment, not poverty, but... - inflation;
- European Central Bank is... completely independent, it has no control, which means that the UE is not allowed to define its own monetary policies;
- In case of war, the priority is - not the UE intervention to stop it, not an appeal to United Nations, but instead... - to avoid turmoils in the financial markets;


So, where in the hell is the EU a socialist project nowadays, when there's not even a single real-Socialist party is any of the countries of the EU?
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Old 12-16-2011, 07:51 AM   #82
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Good and timely quote. Thatcher always suspected the EU of being an essentially a socialist project. Can't say I disagree with her.
The EU a socialist project? Gimme a break. The EU is incredibly neo-liberal. For example, nationalization is practically forbidden under EU law. So is making things free for your citizens: some years ago, the Dutch government had devised a plan to make textbooks free for secondary school students. The EU forbade it because the plan meant that private companies couldn't sell textbooks to secondary schools anymore.

Yet another example: under EU law, subsidizing an important regional airport amounts to illegal government support, as the Belgian region of Wallonia found out after they helped financing Brussels South Charleroi airport. This low-cost airline hub is an important contributor to the Walloon economy so every right minded politician in Wallonia - one of the poorer regions in North-Western Europe - would want to support its existence. But not the neo-liberal EU, which believes in fairy tales and thinks "the free market" will solve all our problems. Well, we've seen how that worked out, didn't we? The biggest economic crisis since the 20s... hurray for the free market.
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Old 12-16-2011, 07:59 AM   #83
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The EU a socialist project? Gimme a break.
Oh, you don't see Brussels having rubber stamp approval over national budgets, spending, and borrowing of sovereign countries as an issue?

E pluribus shitshow.
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Old 12-16-2011, 08:47 AM   #84
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Oh, you don't see Brussels having rubber stamp approval over national budgets, spending, and borrowing of sovereign countries as an issue?

E pluribus shitshow.
When did imperialism become a socialist thing?
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Old 12-16-2011, 10:17 AM   #85
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The EU a socialist project? Gimme a break. The EU is incredibly neo-liberal. For example, nationalization is practically forbidden under EU law. So is making things free for your citizens: some years ago, the Dutch government had devised a plan to make textbooks free for secondary school students. The EU forbade it because the plan meant that private companies couldn't sell textbooks to secondary schools anymore.

Yet another example: under EU law, subsidizing an important regional airport amounts to illegal government support, as the Belgian region of Wallonia found out after they helped financing Brussels South Charleroi airport. This low-cost airline hub is an important contributor to the Walloon economy so every right minded politician in Wallonia - one of the poorer regions in North-Western Europe - would want to support its existence. But not the neo-liberal EU, which believes in fairy tales and thinks "the free market" will solve all our problems. Well, we've seen how that worked out, didn't we? The biggest economic crisis since the 20s... hurray for the free market.
Let me guess: this happens in Wallonie, but in Flanders is the opposite situation. Right?
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Old 12-16-2011, 12:52 PM   #86
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Let me guess: this happens in Wallonie, but in Flanders is the opposite situation. Right?
How would you define 'the opposite situation'? In any case, there's no 1:1 comparison possible because Flanders does not have any low-cost airline hubs. For Ryanair, Wizz Air, etc., Brussels South Charleroi airport is the only Belgian destination.
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Old 12-16-2011, 05:10 PM   #87
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so when the crisis started it was the fault of every banker, speculist and any member of any of the economically irresponsible government
and some rules might be initiated to prevent this from continuing we're all socialists?

consider my mind freed indeed
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Old 12-16-2011, 08:06 PM   #88
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How would you define 'the opposite situation'? In any case, there's no 1:1 comparison possible because Flanders does not have any low-cost airline hubs. For Ryanair, Wizz Air, etc., Brussels South Charleroi airport is the only Belgian destination.
Oh, I thought it had the same kind of companies too. But is there such a big difference between Flanders and Wallonie in terms of richness/GDP and quality of life?
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Old 12-18-2011, 09:31 AM   #89
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Oh, I thought it had the same kind of companies too. But is there such a big difference between Flanders and Wallonie in terms of richness/GDP and quality of life?
Well, there's a clear difference for sure. Wallonia used to be the richer of the two regions because of its iron and coal mines, but it lost the market to new players in the mining industry such as Brazil and South Africa. Subsequently, enterprises chose Flanders instead of Wallonia as the place to settle, because the former has sea ports and had lower wages at the time. The Belgian government created legal incentives for companies to settle in Flanders, thereby accelerating the relocalization of the country's economic core from south to north. Nowadays, Wallonia contributes 23.8% to the Belgian GDP while Flanders contributes 57.1% (the remaining 19.1% represents the Brussels Capital Region).

Still, this is only relative. Even with the lower wealth compared to its northern counterpart, Wallonia is still a rich, developed, Western region.

It's nonetheless sad that the EU tried to thwart the attempt at revitalizing the Walloon economy by subsidizing its airport. It's a textbook example of neo-liberal policies actually impeding economic growth.
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Old 12-18-2011, 12:52 PM   #90
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Oh okay, now it makes sense for a foreigner like me. It reminds me of Italy, with a much richer North and a poorer South.
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Old 12-18-2011, 08:00 PM   #91
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Other examples that THIS european construction is now way socialist at all is the project of European Constitution and the Lisbon Treaty. I remember somethings that I have already posted on this forum about the Lisbon Treaty and the project of European Constitution. I'm going to do copy/paste of a post I did in November about this subject:

- It's a liberalist constitution;
- When it's approved it's not possible to change it;
- The word "bank" appears 176 times (in more than those 800 pages), "market" 78 times, "competition" 174 times... And "social progress" 3 times... "brotherhood" or "fraternity" appears... 0(!) times;
- "Public service" is reffered... Only 1(!) time and only to talk about transport coordination;
- "The right to have a job", "the right to a minimum salary, income or retirement pension", "the right to health" are reffered... 0(!) times. There no "right to accomodation", but only the "right to be accomodated";
- It reffers that "public services must be privatized and oppened to competition" and it says that "public help funds" must be restricted;
- The European Parliment has no right to propose laws, that's a function of the European Commission which is not directly elected in the european elections;
- The priority of the EU is to fight - not unemployment, not poverty, but... - inflation;
- European Central Bank is... completely independent, it has no control, which means that the UE is not allowed to define its own monetary policies;
- In case of war, the priority is - not the UE intervention to stop it, not an appeal to United Nations, but instead... - to avoid turmoils in the financial markets;
I admit, I was not aware of much of this. I have never read the treaty, I voted no to it but for fairly broad and fundamental eurosceptic reasons (I never wanted the EU project to be anything more than a free trade zone, with perhaps some co-operation on defense and security matters tacked on, given that we live in a post 9-11 world. I don't think it should even have a constitution) rather than based on any in-depth political analysis of the details of the treaty. That said, I may have to re-assess my analysis of the EU project.
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Old 12-18-2011, 10:50 PM   #92
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I admit, I was not aware of much of this. I have never read the treaty, I voted no to it but for fairly broad and fundamental eurosceptic reasons (I never wanted the EU project to be anything more than a free trade zone, with perhaps some co-operation on defense and security matters tacked on, given that we live in a post 9-11 world. I don't think it should even have a constitution) rather than based on any in-depth political analysis of the details of the treaty. That said, I may have to re-assess my analysis of the EU project.
I totally understand your reasons. Whether we're talking about the Euro, the EU, or Europe, any of these matters are very delicate.
Last week, on a portuguese TV channel, a journalist said that Europe/the EU shouldn't be what it's doing now. The EU should look back, understand when it started to go wrong, deconstruct the Europe-project to that part and reconstruct it again. The problem is that I think that the whole EU project, although with the best intentions (because the leaders of the 1950's/60's/70's/80's were real/true stadists that remembered very well what happened in the first half of the XXth century) has big faults from the beggining. Starting on the fact that, despite some referendums here and there, the whole project was constructed against the people's (of all the countries) will. The construction of "Europe" hasn't been a democratic process at all.
Isn't that enough reason to relight the nationalist mistrust and hate that we know it still exist between most of all european countries?

I have no idea if the EU should "disband" or if it should go forward into federalism.
I'm not sure federalism would work, because Europe has highly strong nationalisms inside (even different and radical nationalisms inside countries), even though we forgot about it for a few decades.

On the other hand, since we're all going to start to suffer the real and devastating consequences of a disorganized non-planned globalization, I think the only way for Europe to "survive" in this new competition we're facing (and that we never expected because for many time in History Europe ruled alone or almost alone) is for the countries to join forces and work together... And this may have to go through federalism.

I'm a bit confused to about what's gonna happen and how it's gonna be. But I have to say that something's happening in Europe that Europe wasn't watching long long ago. And that's dangerous, not a good sign. So, I'm a little afraid too.
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Old 12-19-2011, 04:05 AM   #93
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Starting on the fact that, despite some referendums here and there, the whole project was constructed against the people's (of all the countries) will.
That is not strictly true. For example, I seem to remember people in the Netherlands being fairly excited about the euro in the years running up to its introduction. While people now look back at the time they had to exchange currency when visiting a foreign country with nostalgia, that's a bit of a false memory, because back in the day people weren't that fond of it. It was only after the euro was introduced in 2002 and people became aware that shopkeepers were using the transition to increase their prices that discontent began to grow.
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Europe has highly strong nationalisms inside (even different and radical nationalisms inside countries), even though we forgot about it for a few decades.
That's something that's beginning to dawn on me as well. I kept wondering where all this nationalism suddenly came from after decades of liberalism and tolerance, but I'm now getting more and more convinced that the nationalism has actually never gone away. It was merely dormant, waiting to be woken up in times of discontent. The Netherlands is like 1930s Weimar Republic now: blaming its troubles on an ethnoreligious minority in times of economic downturn.
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Old 12-19-2011, 09:51 AM   #94
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That is not strictly true. For example, I seem to remember people in the Netherlands being fairly excited about the euro in the years running up to its introduction. While people now look back at the time they had to exchange currency when visiting a foreign country with nostalgia, that's a bit of a false memory, because back in the day people weren't that fond of it. It was only after the euro was introduced in 2002 and people became aware that shopkeepers were using the transition to increase their prices that discontent began to grow.

That's something that's beginning to dawn on me as well. I kept wondering where all this nationalism suddenly came from after decades of liberalism and tolerance, but I'm now getting more and more convinced that the nationalism has actually never gone away. It was merely dormant, waiting to be woken up in times of discontent. The Netherlands is like 1930s Weimar Republic now: blaming its troubles on an ethnoreligious minority in times of economic downturn.
That's what's dangerous about Europe. Because Europe never was and never will be in full peace. It's a puzzle with very strong identities and mutual old hatreds that, as you, I guess they never died. But the possibility of an European dream made the peoples forget it for some decades.

You're right in the first paragraph. I didn't really mean to say that Europe has been built against people's will, what I really meant to say is that Europe has been built non-democratically, because, despite some referendums and some leaders that said what they want, in most countries no one was asked (since the 1950's and the EEC) if they wanted, not only to join the project but also to progress in the different stages of the process.
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Old 12-21-2011, 06:47 PM   #95
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Old 12-28-2011, 10:09 AM   #96
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Today, a portuguese columnist wrote an article that subscribes entirely some things I've been saying in this and in an other topic. Since the article is written in portuguese, I'm going to try to translate it myself.

2012/2013: The Years Of All The Dangers

«Adidas would be ready to the return of local currencies». Herbert Hainer, master of the german sportswear enterprise said that. Of course, right after this, he publicly communicated an optimistic statement. This statement was unthinkable just a few months ago, and now it's uttered by big businessmen in public interviews. The end of the Euro is not an unthinkable absurdity anymore. It's now a real possibility. And many people are already doing the maths counting on that.

The next year, right next week, and the following one, will determine the future of this continent. And that future is hang by the future of a currency.
There are things that after having happened have no return. The EU would have existed if the Euro didn't exist, but since it was created, the EU will die after the death of the Euro. And if the EU dies, Europe will return, in the middle of a crisis, to its worse moments. All the ghosts of the past - that we always thought that were fully overcome - may return. This small continent, with too much History, filled with ex-imperial powers, won't be able to stand a profound crisis if each one takes care of itself.

But Europe is living a dilema: to save the Euro without changing its architecture and without the democratization of the EU will have the same effect than to leave it. If we feed the illusion that we can save the currency by the destruction of the economy and the national democracies, that end will be the same or even more destructive. Those who believe that can sacrify everything in the name of the Euro have no idea of they have to save in order to save the Euro. Only the reconstruction of the european institutions and the reformulation of the economic and monetary policies can take Europe from the hole "she" did put herself inside.

At the present, the stakes are much higher than only the economy. It's much more than just the european social model. It's even more than the democracy. It's 65 years of peace. What amazes me is that before such huge dangers, the european people, with no exception, insist in electing, one after another, insignificant and "small" leaders and people. What impresses me is that, being possible to break this tragedy and existing so many people counscious of this eminence, we're all stepping forward to the abyss as if that walk was inevitable»


*sorry for my poor english, I tried to stay loyal to the original text in the translation
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Old 12-28-2011, 02:44 PM   #97
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just read a really sad article, families can no longer afford to feed their children and are abandoning them or putting them into care... these are the kind of things my friend in Uganda experiences, but this is Europe...

Greek economic crisis turns tragic for children abandoned by their families | World news | The Guardian
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Old 12-28-2011, 08:00 PM   #98
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just read a really sad article, families can no longer afford to feed their children and are abandoning them or putting them into care... these are the kind of things my friend in Uganda experiences, but this is Europe...

Greek economic crisis turns tragic for children abandoned by their families | World news | The Guardian
There are reports that the number of people recouring to the soup kitchens is increasing very fast. Last week, there was an article reporting too that the number of children that faint in schools because of not being fed is increasing too.
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Old 12-28-2011, 08:41 PM   #99
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a tragedy
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Old 05-04-2012, 02:13 AM   #100
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Fascism rises from the depths of Greece's despair - Europe - World - The Independent
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