Thursday, April 17, 2003

Convention backs Blair's plan for EU presidency (London Times, April 17, 2003)

Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, the former French President who chairs the convention on Europe’s future, supported the EU’s biggest member states who argue that the Union needs a president if it is to punch its weight on the international stage.

However, well-organised opposition from the EU’s small states, which have joined forces with the ten new entrants from Central and Eastern Europe, means that weeks of horsetrading lie ahead.

The smaller countries want to stick with the system under which each member state has six months as EU president.

But M Giscard made his views clear after protracted talks with leaders gathered in Athens to sign the treaty ushering in the ten new members. Asked how many countries opposed the idea of a president, he said: “When you assess these positions, one thing to take into account is the number of states. But we also have to take into account their populations, because we operate in a democratic way here. And the majority of the population is in favour of a somewhat more stable president.”

With all of the cultural strife that happens within a country, I don't see how a lasting union can be created among 20 different nations.

These smaller countries are going to soon feel like pawns instead of participating members. Once a country has given up their currency for the Euro, it will be harder for them to leave the union, but it won't stop them. All it takes is one country that feels like they are doing worse in the union and one populist politician to get elected to get them out. I wonder what will happen when a country decides to leave.

By 1860, we were still pretty homogenous and we had to fight a civil war to decide who we would be. Quebec is still debating independence from Canada two hundred years later. How can a central government of so many different cultures ever succeed as a unified whole? The last test of that had France abnd England on opposite sides of the war in Iraq.

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