Tag Archives: failure

The EU is doomed to failure

The EU is only an episode in European history – and is doomed to failure
Europe is not the same as the European Union. The European Union is only an episode in Europe’s history. The two, nevertheless, are frequently treated as if they were identical. It is, however, entirely possible to be a Europhile, in the sense of valuing and engaging with Europe’s cultures, peoples and history, and to be opposed to the European Union and thus to Britain’s continued membership of it.

Britain and continental Europe share much. Cultural, religious, philosophical and political movements and ideas have spilled across from one to the other. It would be strange if they had not, given their proximity. Nevertheless, exchanges of this kind are hardly sufficient to justify political union. The histories of Poland and Russia are similarly entangled, but no one would now suggest that they should join together.

The way that ideas have spread in Europe is important. One of the strengths of Europe has been its diversity. The separate experiences of Europe’s countries have acted as inspirations and warnings to others. The example of British manufacturing in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, underpinned by the free-trade philosophy of Smith and Ricardo, overturned the regulatory and protectionist regime that prevailed across much of Central Europe. Bismarck’s early welfare state and Swiss federalism had their own emulators. Across large parts of Europe, the lesson of the French Revolution stimulated the politics of conservatism and of gradual change, and so on.

The high modernist ideology that underpins the EU is predicated on the erosion of differences between countries. It would seek to impose single solutions that are blind to complexity and inimical to the sort of local experimentation that has been one of the driving forces in European history. Not only therefore are the EU and Europe different things. By putting its stress on political, economic and social convergence, the EU may also be antithetical to Europe’s historical dynamic.

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Posted by on June 2, 2016 in EU


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The eurozone is doomed

The monetary union was flawed from the start—and now Europe has “its foot on the accelerator and is running out of road,” says Heather Conley, of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

The nearly 16-year experiment with a financially integrated Europe is instead tearing the continent apart, stirring ugly ghosts of history and fueling the rise of extremist political parties that could one day control a NATO partner.

So warns Heather Conley, director of the Europe program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. I sat down with Conley, a former top State Department official, for the latest installment of our CSIS iTunes podcast “Smart Women Smart Power,” which you can hear by following this link:

While Greece’s latest travails capture the world’s attention, Conley sees dire consequences for all of Europe from a fatally-flawed monetary union of 19 countries. “It was a structurally flawed project,” Conley says of the Eurozone, born in 1999. “They were warned about it. This was an economic project designed politically to make Europe more united. But instead it’s pulling Europe apart.”

Greece, she adds “should never have been let in; it did not have the economic indicators and strength to participate in this currency union. But as a political project people said, ‘How can we not include the birthplace of democracy? The great recession showed the weakness and flaws, and we saw all of this unravel.”

That unraveling has launched a number of dangerous political trends. Economic pain and anger at European leaders, on the left and right, is combining with the type of anti-immigrant sentiments that fuel the rise of populist and xenophobic parties. France’s far-right National Front and Spain’s far-left Podemos Party are on the upswing. In Britain, which held onto its own currency, the UK Independence Party has successfully pressured Prime Minister David Cameron to call a referendum on whether to stay in the European Union. And Conley notes that even 25% of EU parliament members can be labeled Euro-skeptics.

“There will come a moment with a far left or far right party in a NATO country potentially forming a government,” she predicts, “and that is a nightmare because then we have to question the democratic credentials of our allies. That’s a thought we don’t want to have.”

Conley warns of a dark era, not unlike 1914, with the world “sleep-walking” toward an abyss. “The free movement of labor is under attack,” she says. “The free movement of capital is under attack because of the Eurozone crisis,” she says. “Many EU officials will say Europe evolves through crisis. But this is not forging Europe, it’s pulling it apart.”

As the continent’s strongest economy, source of bailout funds and enforcer of Eurozone rules, Germany is a target of populist wrath. There is historic irony to this, Conley notes, since “the euro was created right after German reunification to ensure that Germany could not economically dominate Europe.”

Meanwhile, Conley worries that the U.S. is sitting on the sidelines, despite an American investment in a healthy Europe dating back to World War II and the Marshall Plan. With France and Italy right behind Greece in terms of the need for economic reform, Conley urges U.S. officials to help the continent craft bolder plans to step out of the bailout cycle and move forward economically.

Conley stops short of embracing suggestions from German officials that Greece would be better off with a temporary Eurozone exit. However, she does believe that Greece is trapped by its debt burden and the damage done to its economy by the ruling left-wing Syriza party. “The status quo cannot be sustained,” says Conley.

“Europe’s success is America’s success,” she says. “When Europe is weak, we are weakened. The stakes are enormous. Europe seems to be putting its foot on the accelerator and is running out of road.”

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Posted by on June 2, 2016 in EU


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I am Merkel, I am

I am Merkel, I am,
She said as she slammed,
Her fist on the table one day,
Then after that act,
She donned her hard hat,
And directed her troops on their way,
Their way to the front,
The EU affront,
To all we hold dear I do say
The EU import,
More important than thought,
For democracy, freedom, fair play.
But the time it will come,
When the bad is undone,
When the people of Europe will say,
Away with you lot,
Your heads for the block,
Our leaders will stand there and pay,
On the gallows up high,
They will pay for their lies,
The lies that inflicted such pain,
And when that day comes,
When the EU has gone,
The people of Europe will pray,
That the likes of those brats,
Brussel Eurocrats,
Will never ever darken our days.


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Posted by on January 15, 2016 in EU


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Greedy Bankers

Greedy Bankers (banksters)

Bankers, greedy bankers,

Hoist them up high,

Burn them on bonfires,

For all of their lies,

Dance around the bonfires,

Glory in their pain,

And when you have done it,

Do it again!


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Posted by on November 26, 2013 in Horror, humor, humour, Ireland


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Oh, well… (ba-NANA-land)

Oh, well… (ba-NANA-land)

Monday morning; full of woe,

The weekend’s gone; it’s so far to go,

Until the next one, when I can live again,

Oh, well, I suppose it’s better than living in ba-NANA-land.


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Posted by on November 25, 2013 in humor, humour, Ireland, poems


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Ireland today: ba-NAMA-land

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There was a Taoiseach, quite bad,

Who told us one day we were mad,

That we borrowed too much,

And with reality had lost touch,

I say it is he, not us, who is MAD.



ba-NAMA-land postage stamp



He thought he saw a politician,

Who lived the perfect life,

He looked again, and saw it was,

A huge, humongous lie.

That’s it, he said, I realise,

The foolishness of life. 


He thought he saw an honest man,

Within the parliament,

He looked again, and saw it was,

Another bloated blimp.

Unless they leave this house, he said,

There will be no hope, I think. 


He thought he saw a banker man,

Who made an honest buck,

He looked again, and saw he was,

Entwined in all the muck.

If I were king, he said,

His head would be on the block. 


He thought he saw a banker’s clerk,

A man of honest youth,

He looked again, and saw he was,

A succubus forsooth.

If he should stay, he said, for sure,

My savings I will lose. 


He thought he saw a kangaroo,

Hopping down the street one day,

He looked again, and saw it was,

A banker’s ill gained pay.

Were I to accept this, he said,

It would be a dark, dark day. 


He though he saw a limousine,

With groom and bride, so sweet,

He looked again, and saw it was,

The country on its knees.

We’re lost, he said, the country’s bust,

Kaput, no more, deceased. 


 He though he saw a shaft of light,

That shone through all this gloom,

He looked again, and saw it was,

The cold, reflected moon.

If I were young, he said aloud,

I’d make them swing – and soon! 


He though he saw a chink of light,

A way from all this mess,

He looked again, and saw it was,

Their New World Order – yes!

Their ways are bad, corrupt, he said

For them, not us, excess. 


He thought he saw the final words,

Inscribed upon a sheet,

He looked again, and saw it was,

Them sweating from the heat.

They thought us fools, he sorely said,

Come on, we’ve lives to lead.


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Posted by on November 19, 2013 in Ireland


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