Monday, May 30, 2005

Vive la France!

The Frogs have finally done something right that does not involve gastronomy or oenology. Yesterday they voted ‘NON’ in a referendum on ratification of the EU Constitution.

I used to be in favour of the EU. The European Economic Community was a good idea, allowing for the free movement of goods in a common market, and benefiting everyone from an economic perspective. But as the EEC developed into the European Community and then the European Union, national governments started giving up too much power to Brussels. In recent years people have started to speak of the “United States of Europe” in order to emphasise the direction in which the EU seems to be heading.

While studying law in England, one of my mandatory subjects was EU Law. I remember being surprised upon learning how much power sovereign countries had been willing to give up for the sake of the Union, and that when a member state’s laws are in conflict with EU law, EU law prevails. That always seemed offensive to me.

The Czech Republic joined the EU in May of 2004. At first I thought it was a positive development, that it would benefit the country politically and economically, but now I am not so sure. For one thing, it puts me at a disadvantage, not being a citizen of an EU member state. And the Czechs have already started to rebel against governance from Brussels, which is hardly surprising since they have spent most of their recent history unhappily being ruled from somewhere else, whether Vienna, Berlin or Moscow.

To return to the EU Constitution, it has to be ratified by every state in order for it to come into force. Nine countries have already ratified it. Certain countries, considered more ‘euro-sceptic’, e.g. the UK and Denmark, have been expected to reject the constitution, but France, which was one of the EEC’s six founding states and generally pro-Europe, was until recently expected to vote ‘yes ’ with a comfortable margin.

As to what will happen next, predictions are that either a new draft constitution will be introduced, leaving out some of the more controversial articles, or that the important articles will be implemented through other legislation.

At any rate, the Frogs have struck a blow to the EU, and I hope that it will lead a movement towards decentralisation of power from Brussels.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Howcome our RTM got a birthday ghetto shout but our friend Howie gets a warm steamer?

AG said...

Anonymous,

Don't you think it's time to come out of the closet and let us know who you really are? Are you that shy, or just too afraid to let us know who the fuck you are?

I though it was RTM who got the warm steamer... or was that a warm streamer?

Anonymous said...

This anon had a beer or two with you yesterday and stumbled off into the magical city that we called home.

We'll have to ask RTM exactly what he got, though I hope it wasn't a 'warm streamer' (though it does sound a bit appealing. Go figure!)

Anonymous said...

Sorry, call not called. Must be all the stress from being refired.

Max said...

Anon, why are you comparing birthday commemorations? Don't you have anything to say about the EU Constitution? Or France? Au Petit Fer à Cheval? Displaced frogs?

AG, this particular Anon stays anonymous due to paranoia and a fear of the DHS, i.e. the gestapo of the Bush government.

Anonymous said...

Erm not really. Just too much hassle to register and create a non-existent blog, etc.

I have lots to say about the coming collapse, re-org, etc of the EU and think was a great harbinger of things to come.

Looks like the frogs may be on the front lines in this one.

And Au Petit Fer à Cheval is my most favorite restaurant/pub(?) in Western Europe. However, I was disheartened when I discovered they were one branch of a French restaurant corporation ala Lettuce Entertain You of Chicago. See: http://www.leye.com/restaurants/restaurants_index.htm
They have Italian, tapas, Vietnamese, French etc restaurants and the ones that I have been to are good. I just don't like the idea of corporate dining on any level.

Max said...

Sorry, Anon, I should have specified "a healthy and shrewd paranoia".

Máš pivo?

AG said...

As for the EU, Max, I've said all along that the Czech Republic would have to join for economic security but that it would be the worst thing that could happen to this little island of madness we call home.

France and Germany, in the past, have seemed to dominate EUpolicy making. I always knew that one day they would come to blows and have said, repeatedly, that the next time Germany invades France we (Americans) should let them have it. Today I'm not so certain. Unless, of course, the French have done this in the hopes of gaining yet more power over other nations in the EU, as they have been wont to do in the past.

Fortress Europe is still in the planning stages and I have always opposed the Schengen Agreement. Coming from a country that has always benefited from the influx of foreigners (their energy, willingness to work and imagination), I think the policies of the EU to be typically European (don't mean that in a good way), and probably one of the greatest reasons that both sides of my family emigrated away from Europe.

Most Europeans who left, I believe, did so because they were tired of having their sons killed and daughters raped by one army or another as they passed through the different warring countries during the last two thousand years. Enough already! A saying that probably came from this tiny little country, uz dost, and get on with life.

So YES, horray for France. But I'll still look for their real motivation behind this particular decision. I've never known France to do anything statesman-like just because it's the right thing to do.

Anonymous said...

Nemam. Ty mas jo? Ale mam spatny Cesky vino. Fuj.

AG said...

Sorry, Sweetheart Anon, didn't know it was you. Was afraid the anons from yesterday had returned to bother us.

Max, thanks for erasing them. Can we do it permanently?

Anonymous said...

Jeste dobre ze nemam deti, vis? A ty taky. Ze jo?! Tak mam zizen.

Max said...

Co děti? Co bysme dělali s dětmi?

Anonymous said...

Hi - This is the real ANON...I will prove it.

POO

Thank you..thank you very much.