Saturday, February 12, 2005

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

3 Comments:

Blogger ken said...

The Convention could have gone in that direction had it done so I feel we would have fewer problems accepting the outcome. To me the Convention was worse than wasted time which it would be, if the Constitution is rejected, but perhaps a NO vote will force another convention that will hopefully take the direction you discussed, I suspect not.

2/12/2005 06:22:00 pm  
Blogger AlanK said...

Nosemonkey

do you not agree that there is a bigger problem for Pro EU camp is that in spain results came out about its intentions on the EU constitution with 9 out of 10 voters complained knew nothing about the constitution but the majority would vote yes for it

while here in the Uk I suspect results would be similar except that voting where around 65% would vote no to the constitution

if rely on gut feeling a no vote is very likely unless pro eu camp can reach the gut feeling of the people, which obviously so far it has not

alan

2/12/2005 10:26:00 pm  
Blogger Nosemonkey said...

Ken, that would be the ideal case but, like you, I suspect it will not happen.

Alan, I agree entirely. As a general rule you should never sign up for anything you don't understand. The pro camp should focus on spreading knowledge and let people judge for themselves. As it stands, whatever the result the losing side will put it down to the people's ignorance of the issues. That's not a good situation. The result needs to be indisputable.

As I've said many times before, the current constitution is a flawed one. I think the good outweighs the bad - others don't. But my fear is tht if we vote no, Britain could end up sidelined. I think that would be a very bad thing for this country. I, again as I have said many times before, think that it is in Britain's best long-term interests to have a very close relationship with the rest of the EU. And again, please note, I say "long-term".

My hope is that some other country will vote no first so that we don't even have to bother holding a referendum and - as Ken suggests - every EU member state can go back to the negotiating table and come up with something far simpler, which can iron out the inherent problems in the current EU system, and about which we can all more or less agree.

That, sadly, is highly unlikely.

2/12/2005 11:35:00 pm  

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