The Freeman's Burden:

To defend the principles of human liberty; to educate; to be vigilant against the ever expanding power of the state.

Friday, April 15, 2005

In Europe, it's 1954 all over again

For over 50 years, European visionaries have dreamed of a unified bloc of nations, a United States of Europe if you will, and repeatedly these dreams have come to naught for one very simple reason...the contrarian world view of the French. In 1954 the French parliament killed a European defense pact and, despite their deep involvement in the Maastricht and Nice processes, French politicians have been unable to convince their citizens that ceding some sovereignty and economic control to Brussels will be in their best interest. This week President Chirac went on French television to encourage and make the case for ratification of the European Constitution, a top heavy and complex document that imposes spending restrictions on member states and requires economic and employment intergration. The French have, admittedly, given up a lot to get to this point, but this EU Constitution is as good as it's ever going to get and European diplomats and politicians know it. Unfortunately, the French voters have clearly not gotten this message as fully 56% indicate that they intend to vote "NO" on the Constitution, effectively flushing more than 12 years of work down la toilette and guaranteeing the death (at least for the foreseeable future) of an intergrated Europe as unanimous acceptance of the Constitution is required. The bloc will continue to operate under the Nice framework which has less teeth then early America's Articles of Confederation. This, of course, has the greatest downside for the countries of "new" Europe such as Ukraine, Turkey and Serbia whose politicians have staked their nations future and their careers on the modernization and economic market access that the EU promised to provide. The bottom line is that many of France's citizens have become so dependent on the social welfare structure and subsidies from Paris that they are willing to undermine their future and the future of the continent to keep the pork flowing and avoid the uncertainty of change. Fear and greed, the roots of all human (especially French) motivations.
Read more about the EU Constitution debate in France here and here.


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