Unfulfilled promise - a business perspective
A nice little overview of the current condition of the EU from the perspectives of a couple of businessmen sets out some of the reasons why the union must constantly evolve. But it also, without making too much fuss about it, notes the primary reason for opposition to the idea of further EU development:
"Europeans live well, so there is not much of an incentive to change"Of course, and as is noted - if not in these words - in the article, without change there is a risk of stagnation. During the 19th century, British industry started spending less time and money on research and development; as a result, the country failed to maintain its sizable industrial lead over its competitors.*
However, the problem remains that even if you accept that constant development is necessary, no one can agree on which direction we should take to best maintain and improve on our global competitiveness. Should we join together as one trans-continental trading block, with a population greater than that of the US, and attempt to compete in every economic area? Or should we break back down into our constituent states and each attempt to dominate niche areas of the global market? Is it possible to do a bit of both, or is there another alternative?
Considering the EU is supposed to be all about safeguarding the future prosperity of the people of Europe, this sort of thing really bears much thinking about. This is the sort of thing which should have been discussed at length during the Convention on the Future of Europe, from which the proposed constitution sprang. But the question is so complex, and the future so uncertain, no one can really tell what the best route may be.
When it comes to the EU, you have to rely on gut feeling as much as logical projection. That is why it is so hard for the pro-EU camp to convince Eurosceptics and vice versa. We all agree that the current set-up isn't satisfactory - we just disagree on what should happen in the unknowable future.
* Yes, I know it was far more complicated than this - you needn't bother telling me