Random EU roundup
I'm off to Hay on Wye this afternoon for work purposes. Looks like it'll be raining. Joy. I'll also certainly be surrounded by far too many snobby "intellectuals" and wannabe authors for my liking (and unable to tell them that I already am one - twice - without sounding like a tit, as I did just then). Either way, it means no more posts until Monday. In the meantime, have this:
All About Latvia has a bit of background on yesterday's vote by the Latvian parliament which provides a nice bit of context.
Meanwhile, Margot Wallstrom, perhaps inadvisedly, seems to have started to echo Tony Blair - "we have listened and... we have learned something". She's also evidently been reading the comments section of her blog, for there are a fair few concessions/admissions to the sceptics in there: "This has been a project by the political elite" being a fairly major one. Well, she may have learned - but will the rest of them?
Meanwhile, the speculation continues - the Guardian's summary of some (but by no means all) of the possibilities - and Britain is pushing for more delay, apparently, which is the only sensible thing to do considering precisely no one has any idea how the hell to proceed (although is this just a bargaining tactic?).
Some are calling for more prevarication and an official cancellation of the British referendum (Ireland too is pondering halting its own); others - including the eurosceptic Sun - are calling for the vote to happen regardless (but considering Sun owner Rupert Murdoch pays no tax in the EU, what the fuck business is it of his anyway?). Then the equally eurosceptic Evening Standard reveals the Sun's poll that 75% in Britain would vote No should the referendum go ahead. It's high, but plausible.
Others in Europe are not so sure that the treaty is dead, some even arguing that referendum votes should be ignored and ratification continue.
No, no they shouldn't and no it shouldn't. Not unless you want to piss everyone off even more. Listen to Margot for a while.
And more crises threaten, as worries about the euro reach an all-time high, including speculation that some countries may wish to leave the Eurozone. Here's a handy round-up of other economic woes. Germany, meanwhile, looks ready to take one for the team and compromise over the divisive EU budget proposals. If Gerhard Schröder wasn't already going to be out on his arse in the next election, he certainly is now...
The current confusion and in-fighting is for some outsiders making membership a less attractive prospect (Norway) and for others means that the EU is no longer worth watching as a potential new way of working between nations (Canada), while yet others reckon that "the collapse of enlargement verges on national tragedy" (Bulgaria).
For those who hate the EU full-stop, and see this current confusion as a sign that we should disband the whole thing - and especially those who denounced all the "the EU has helped prevent war" stuff a week or so back - check this alternative opinion: "all outstanding issues in our region would be much more difficult to resolve if the EU membership perspective is cancelled".
The EU can be a force for good whether you like it and agree with it or not. At the moment they're confused, they're grapsing around for support. Now is the ideal time to get in there and propose alternative models. Who knows - they may even finally twig that a "one size fits all" is not the way forward...