Thursday, April 07, 2005

The European Constitution (and a snicker)

According to the BBC,

The French government has destroyed 162,000 copies of the EU constitution because the phrase "incoherent text" was printed on a page by mistake.

My guess is that the phrase could have been legitimately printed on all 232 pages. The US Constitution takes only a couple pages including amendments--and that's if you use a large font.


Anonymous said...

The United States Of Europe: The New Superpower and the End of American Supremacy

While the United States flexes its economic and military muscles around the world as the dominant global player, it may soon have company. According to the Washington Post's T.R. Reid, the nations of Europe are setting aside differences to form an entity that's gaining strength, all seemingly unbeknownst to the U.S. and its citizens. The new Europe, Reid says, "has more people, more wealth, and more trade than the United States of America," plus more leverage gained through membership in international organizations and generous foreign aid policies that reap political clout. Reid tells how European countries were willing to discontinue their individual centuries-old currencies and adopt the Euro, the monetary unit that is now a dominant force in world markets. This is noteworthy not just for exploring the considerable economic impact of the Euro, but also for what that spirit of cooperation means for every facet of Europe in the 21st century, where governments and citizens alike believe that the rewards of banding together are worth a loss in sovereignty. Reid's most compelling portrait of this trend is in the young Europeans known as "Generation E" who see themselves not as Spaniards or Czechs but simply as Europeans. To illustrate America's obliviousness to this trend, Reid tells of former GE CEO Jack Welch, who never bothered to factor European objections into a proposed multi-billion dollar merger with Honeywell, leading to the deal being torpedoed and Welch disgraced. But what is most striking in The United States of Europe is the contrast between the new Europe and the United States. The Europeans cannot match the raw military size of the U.S., but by mixing wealth with diplomacy and continental unity (helped along by antipathy toward George W. Bush's brand of Americanism), they are forming an innovative and powerful superpower.

Darren said...

One person's opinion. I certainly don't share it.

The Europeans aren't united at all, despite what this author wants us to believe. In fact, I've read that our intelligence agencies doubt that the EU will exist in 2020.

Guess it all depends on what you want to believe.

Now anonymous, I already have an idea who you are. Want to come clean?

Anonymous said...

I must agree with Anonynmous (although i have no idea who they are). When the United States of America was formed out of 13 individual colonies, many people said that it would never last, what with different money systems and countries of origins (to name but a few differences). However not only did they manage to survive but they thrived. The EU has an extremely good chance on succedding as well. The majority of Europeans want this insititution to succeeed because they know that by doing this they will create a stronger Europe. The EU started out as a trade organisation and it has managed changed the face of trade across the continent. No longer is trade the difficult and pricey affair that it once was with different currencies and customs. In fact, the fact that the EU is willing to consider everyone, even its dubious neighbor Turkey is also commendable. The EU must suceed, if for no other reason than to assure that the US doesn't have a complete monopoly on power and commerce. Europe as a group of seperate countries is weak. It will be a mark of how far understanding and compromise has come since WWII, if such a diverse group of nations can come together is peace and consensis.
Please don't let your dislike of the French nation blind you to how truly important and monumental this idea of a united Europe is.
Katherine, 4th period pre-cal

Darren said...

Katherine, I applaud your analysis. However, I think you've drawn an incorrect analogy. The current EU isn't like the early United States under our Constitution; rather, it's like the United States under the Articles of Confederation.

Prior to 1787, under the Articles, the Congress could make laws and the states could ignore those laws at their leisure. Each states was autonomous and was only part of a confederation of sovereign states. The federal government had no real power over the states, it could not enforce its own laws.

So it is in Europe. The member-nations of the EU are not going to give up their national sovereignty. Heck, Jacques-strap Chirac is finding the EU Constitution a tough sell within his own country. Remember as well that acceptance of the Euro "required" those nations to abide by very specific limits on national deficits, interest rates, etc. Germany and France have already said that they won't be able to meet those limits this year, and there's nothing that Brussels can do about it. There's no enforcement mechanism.

Just like under the Articles of Confederation.

My contempt for the French does not mean that I want the EU to fail. On the contrary, it would be nice to have another democratic superpower in the world. Unfortunately, I don't think the EU is going to be that superpower, either militarily or economically. The German and French economies are both crumbling under the weight of their social programs. Economic expansion is almost nil because businesses find the requirements too stifling. Compare the economic growth rates of "Old Europe", or the EU as a whole, to the US and see where the future lies.

Our own CIA has predicted that the EU will cease to exist in 2020. Of course, they've been wrong before--and fairly recently! I'd like to see the European experiment succeed, but I'm not confident it will.

And this post wasn't a slam on the EU anyway. It was merely a slam on the French :-)

Darren said...

For more commentary on the upcoming French vote on the EU constitution, including links to several news sources, go here:

If only half of what's written there is true, the EU is in trouble.

Darren said...

For more on some of the economic conditions in the EU, try this article: