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Our Leaders have agreed; "We need more Europe!"
by Christos Mouzeviris
2011-12-15 07:35:13
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Italy's, Germany's and France's Leaders have agreed in a recent Summit that if we want to get over this crisis we need more Europe! Again during this week our Leaders are having another Summit, trying desperately to solve the crisis that is engulfing Europe and save the euro! More economic governance want some, tax harmonization and hard supervision of states that do not follow the rules by the book, are some other suggestions.

I say it was about time for them to do something about it. The thing that worries me the most is that they may eventually agree on something, but what will this something be and how will it affect us? Will we have the richer and most powerful states again "taking the lead" and tell all the rest of us what to do, according to their interests? Will we have lobbies that serve the rich elites, imposing more austerity on us? Will they agree on something that will solve the problems once and for all, or will they just paste over them again?

The EU represents mostly the elites and not as much the people, there is nothing new to this. There are voices though who try and work hard, most of them being in the European Parliament. There are people in EU and its system who want the best for the citizens, work is being done and ideas flow. But somehow, the rich elites of the rich countries high jack the whole thing and think too "technocratically." Simply because the EU answers mostly to our Governments. The Council is all our Governments put together, the Commission is appointed by them. The only directly elected by the people EU body is the EP.

And it does not have the powers that it should. So here comes Mrs Merkel who answers to God knows whom and says Nein to the eurobonds. The boat is sinking and she halts the whole progress. We are going around in circles over and over again. But they are very dangerous circles, like in a typhoon. And our Governments instead of acting fast, they keep listening to the lobbies and their advisors (bankers, corporates, economists) both on national and EU level. Because the EU is a huge lobby. Meanwhile people in Greece are committing suicide, people in Ireland are emigrating, and Merkel is still saying "Nein!" What are they waiting for?

So what in my humble opinion would save us all for any future crisis? I say get rid of the Council (that is our useless governments put together), and weaken the E.U. Commission; just give the Commissioners a more "admin role." They have way too much power now days, powers that the E.P. should have. A strong E.P. and a fully functioning democracy between confederate states of Europe, sounds good to me! Become like what the U.K. is becoming. A loose federal political and economic entity. The Scots have their parliament for their national affairs, but they also have elected representatives in the House of Lords as part of Britain.

It is not the case of building a new nation, a superstate, or a federal country like the USA. If that ever happens it will take centuries to be achieved. What we should be trying to build is some kind of federal political entity, that countries and nations would still be states, but would be governed both by the E.P. and their national parliaments. Even though problems and disagreements will still exist, hopefully through a democratic way we will be able to solve them. But we have to take EU governance in our hands, ourselves the citizens of Europe and do not leave it to the hands of technocrats, bureaucrats and our national Governments. Keep active, keep involved, keep voting for the E.P.
For me a strong and fully functional EuroParliament with all European states participating, while having elected representatives from each one would mean democracy and equality among European countries. The rich Norwegians with the poor Moldovans, the developed Dutch with the underdeveloped Ukrainians, the philosophical Greeks with the more pragmatic Swedish, the laid back Italians with the punctual and control freaks Germans. All work together working for stability and progress throughout our continent. But we have still to reach that level of selfishness and solidarity in Europe.

If we became more federal or confederal, then the rich powerful nations would not be able to dictate the poorer ones. We would decide the direction and future of our Continent together as a unit, with our directly elected representatives. For our national issues we would still have our national Parliaments in place. Right now as it stands, we have the "big players" of Europe, the Governments of the richest nations breaking the deals and taking the lead. We have intergovernmental agreements that are being taken behind closed doors in the various E.U. Summits. We have no say in them. We only find out the results and how they affect us later on. This is not the direction I want for Europe, if we are talking for a united Europe of some kind in the future.

The other option of course is to go back to free trade, and reduce E.U. to something like EFTA/EEA. Some will rejoice with these news. But then we will lose the E.P. and that will mean even less say for us in those intergovernmental agreements. Like what the Norwegians are having right now. They have to accept E.U. law and legislation as part of EEA (European Economic Agreement), they have to contribute with their taxes, but they have no say or representatives in the E.P. They have traded this right for less EU budget contributions. So their Governing elites can lobby and make deals with other EU nations that the citizens of Norway have little knowledge or say on them! That is not a fully functioning democracy in international level!

Of course to achieve what I would like to see, is compromising hugely part of national sovereignty. Will that be good? Ok, let's take Ireland's example. The country is regularly "bullied" as its press mentions it by France and Germany over its tax rates. They want to harmonize the taxes across Europe, and they are right. Where I do not agree with them is that they are focusing on forcing Ireland to do so, but without giving the country an alternative source of income, a new type of economy. What will Ireland do, if it does the right thing and abolish its lower tax rate? How will it attract foreign investments and from where?

For starters Ireland is not the only country with a tax haven status in Europe or EU. So if one country agrees to do so, so must all the others; what about Luxembourg? But if Ireland agrees and loses this income from foreign companies, how will it be compensated? Not with more subsidies please. Because we know how those are being used, or misused. Besides this is not a real economy, it is another bubble. Shouldn't Ireland be a place of investment from withing EU and Europe, once it loses its foreign investors?

Why shouldn't we create European companies that will invest in all EU states, to develop and exploit their assets and resources? Not for very little or nothing as the multinationals are offering, but for the betterment and benefit of the local people first, then the rest of Europe! Exploit our resources in a local level, but with pan European benefit. For that though to happen we need European governance and management of these companies and assets, so no nation can have the upper hand as it happens now in Europe. The rich nations are exploiting the resources of the poorer ones in exchange for subsidies and other types of financial assistance and compensation.
 Take the example of Greece. We trade our fruit and vegetables for tanks, air-crafts,cars, and sub marines from the rich European states. How can you repay or trade a submarine with olives? If we were allowed to become as industrialized as the rich North (aka similar economies) then they would not have to keep bailing us out, the euro would be a success and Europe more stable and prosperous. Yes they would lose some of their wealth, but the whole Continent would gain in stability. Now we give our raw materials tax free to the rich northern Europeans, (that means at a loss) and we have to buy their industrial goods that are far more expensive than our raw materials. To balance that, we get subsidies and compensation, but then we have the northerners claiming that we are stealing their taxes.

Their Governments of course don't mention the truth and so we are left to be slandered all the time. All this must end. If our Leaders want more Europe, then let us have it our way, not their way. I do not want a Europe that there will be peripheral and core, rich and poor, developed and underdeveloped states. I want equality and democracy and that means binding our countries even closer together. If the rich countries lose their grip and power on European affairs, then this Continent can move forward united in progress. If they stop telling the smaller states what to do and the people of Europe can decide for the future of the Continent -not our Governments, then perhaps I will be in an agreement! Give us MORE EUROPE!


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Emanuel Paparella2011-12-15 09:02:01
Indeed, Napoleon too envisioned a united Europe but it turned out to be the greater France. Today’s Napoleon, Sarkozi, also speaks of a united Europe conceived as the greater France while Merkel conceives of Europe as the greater Germany and Cameron dreams of a resurrected British Empire. Sounds more like a disunited Europe. How does the song go: when will they ever learn?

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