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[P]
EU expansion approved

By MSBob in News
Wed Oct 09, 2002 at 04:51:45 PM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

The auntie reports that after over a decade of having their applications considered the European Commission gave a nod today for ten new applicant countries to join the elite club of nations that the European Union is.


The ten new members invited to join in 2004 are: Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia.

Most of those countries are former eastern bloc nations that were occupied by the Soviet Union for over forty years. Free from the outside influence they worked hard for the last thirteen years to rebuild their shattered economies and admittedly, most succeeded to a certain extent.

Not all is well however, as the biggest roadblock on the way to EU expansion is Ireland or more precisely, their refusal to accept the Nice treaty. Without the Irish public vote of support for the Nice treaty there will be no EU enlargement which effectively means the Irish, with one swift referendum, can put an end to a thirteen year project that the candidate countries embarked on.

It is not clear what the motives were for the Irish to reject the Nice treaty in their first referendum. Unfortunately they effectively created a large stumbling point for the ten candidate nations which is quite selfish of them given that they are a country that arguably benefited from joining EU the most.

Stay tuned for the news about the second Nice referendum in Ireland to be held on October, 19th.

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EU expansion approved | 78 comments (66 topical, 12 editorial, 0 hidden)
From the BBC article (4.00 / 2) (#5)
by KilljoyAZ on Wed Oct 09, 2002 at 11:18:12 AM EST

The point of Nice was simply to make the decision-making process less cumbersome when the EU becomes a much larger collection of states. And in that it can scarcely be said to have been a great success.

(snip)

The mixture of "weighted" votes and "blocking minorities" could make progress almost impossible.

(snip)

The Union would then muddle on, with the existing rules on QMV, until a new treaty is negotiated.

Not perfect, of course - but then neither, by a long chalk, is Nice.

Sounds to me like the Nice treaty sucks. And you're wondering why the Irish rejected it? A better question is why did the rest of the EU ratify it, instead of forcing their governments back to the drawing board?

===
Creativitiy cannot be SPELT by over 98% of all American troops. - psychologist

Nice (4.75 / 4) (#6)
by DullTrev on Wed Oct 09, 2002 at 11:32:43 AM EST

There is another theory...

At present, Ireland gets a fair bit of EU aid, as they have some of the economically most deprived areas in the present EU. However, that would change massively if these former Soviet bloc countries joined, with them getting the lion's share of the aid.

However, the commonly accepted answer is that the Irish were registering a protest with their governments domestic policies, as everyone thought the treaty would go through easily. Whoops.


--
DullTrev - used to be interesting. Honest.
[ Parent ]
Subsidies and the lot (none / 0) (#15)
by HereticMessiah on Wed Oct 09, 2002 at 11:50:45 AM EST

The subsidies argument is a red herring, just like the military argument. We're about to become net contributers to the EU coffers, like Germany.

There's many other reasons to reject the treaty besides that.

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[ Parent ]

Expansion expensive for existing members? (none / 0) (#19)
by DodgyGeezer on Wed Oct 09, 2002 at 11:58:33 AM EST

In another interesting BBC aricle that I saw today (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/2311185.stm), they suggest that the 20% population growth will only add 5% to the EU's wealth.  That has to be a factor in this too.

[ Parent ]
But that misses the whole point behind the EU. (4.33 / 3) (#21)
by HereticMessiah on Wed Oct 09, 2002 at 01:11:06 PM EST

The EU is supposed to be subsidiarist - the rich countries helping the poorer countries raise their level of wealth and prosperity. Over time, the once poor nations will eventually reach a level of prosperity where they can become net contributers. If anything that gives even more reason for the existing members to invite new members into the club. My sole worry is that it's a large number to join in one go, maybe even too big.

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[ Parent ]
Ten is a lot ... (4.00 / 1) (#30)
by Simon Kinahan on Wed Oct 09, 2002 at 02:39:59 PM EST

... but I believe part of the agreement already concluded will mean the new members will not be eligible for the full volume of EU subsidies for some time after they join. The hope (at least in Britain and Germany) is that the existing members will have a reality attack and reform some of the most expensive and pointless EU schemes before the new guys become eligible for them.

Hopefully they will become eligible for the more useful things, though. Spain, Portugal and Ireland have all benefitted massively from EU subsidies.

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]

Possible reasons why the Irish referendum failed (4.00 / 2) (#7)
by HidingMyName on Wed Oct 09, 2002 at 11:38:59 AM EST

The linked article cites 2 reasons.
  • Loss of subsidies from the E.U. if poorer countries are admitted.
  • The requirement that Irish soldiers participate in E.U. actions is mandated by the treaty (interfering with the Irish tradition of Neutrality).


My vote goes to.. (2.50 / 2) (#11)
by MSBob on Wed Oct 09, 2002 at 11:44:31 AM EST

Subsidies. Unfortunately. I have heard a number of Irish people express concerns about the level of subsidies their country would receive if enlargement went ahead.
I don't mind paying taxes, they buy me civilization.

[ Parent ]
On those reasons (4.00 / 1) (#13)
by HereticMessiah on Wed Oct 09, 2002 at 11:48:00 AM EST

The military requirement is a bit of a red herring, to be honest, and the subsidies only affect the farming community, which, though sizable, aren't enough to defeat the vote.

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[ Parent ]
Hmmm. (none / 0) (#58)
by another pete on Thu Oct 10, 2002 at 04:04:45 AM EST

The requirement that Irish soldiers participate in E.U. actions is mandated by the treaty (interfering with the Irish tradition of Neutrality).

I wonder how long before someone mentions the Irish "neutrality" in WWII...oops.

Anyone for refuelling a U-boat?



[ Parent ]
WARNING: Contains weak USAian analogy (2.25 / 8) (#8)
by DLWormwood on Wed Oct 09, 2002 at 11:39:17 AM EST

It sounds like Ireland is doing what a Senator in the States can do by "filibustering." Just that in the EU's case, the scope is much bigger.

Was this a forecasted or intentional aspect of the EU's governance structure? Or is something more serious at work here?
--
Those who complain about affect & effect on k5 should be disemvoweled

"USAian" is offensive slang, rated " (1.22 / 9) (#32)
by xah on Wed Oct 09, 2002 at 02:44:32 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Right! Proper Yanks prefer USian, no "A" (2.66 / 6) (#35)
by Pop Top on Wed Oct 09, 2002 at 03:09:01 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Oops... Sorry about that! (-; NT (none / 0) (#68)
by DLWormwood on Fri Oct 11, 2002 at 01:06:08 PM EST


--
Those who complain about affect & effect on k5 should be disemvoweled
[ Parent ]
Veto (none / 0) (#57)
by another pete on Thu Oct 10, 2002 at 04:00:00 AM EST

As I understand it, "filibustering", is the act of occupying the floor until the time allotted to pass a bill is exhausted.
The Irish are not doing this, as the Nice treaty has to ratified by all member states, they have a de facto veto.
The difference between Ireland and elsewhere is that they put their agreement to a referendum, rather than handling it at a government level.

[ Parent ]
A few points (4.75 / 8) (#10)
by HereticMessiah on Wed Oct 09, 2002 at 11:43:57 AM EST

Firstly, the "stumbling block" is not all it's made out to be. That which is in the treaty concerning the accession of the new member states doesn't have to be in there - the treaty failing won't stop the new members from joining.

Secondly, it's the same treaty we voted on before. Imagine for a moment a small child coming up to you and asking for a biscuit, and you say no. Five minutes later, they ask you again. This is essentially what's happening here. Asides from some meaningless constitutional amendment that's being bunged in on neutrality, it's the same treaty!

Thirdly, the treaty puts too much power in the hands of the Commission. Personally, I feel it has too much power as it stands, that it should be disbanded and have its powers tranferred to the parliament, but that's just me.

Fourthly, if you want to blame anybody, blame the idiots in Fianna Fail who were voted into power. It was those idiots who gave the go-ahead to the other member states to ratify the treaty themselves after the first referendum defeat. Had that not happened, we wouldn't be in this position.

I could write more on the topic, much more, but I'll leave it at that for now.



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Power of the commission (4.00 / 2) (#29)
by Simon Kinahan on Wed Oct 09, 2002 at 02:33:30 PM EST

The whole thing about the power of the commission is exaggerated. It's usually buck-passing on the part of the governments on member states. All new EU-wide law has to be made by the council of ministers, and at least some decisions also have to be approved by the parliament. The commission only implements what our beloved politicians have already agreed.

The main thing in the treaty of Nice - aside from some further expansions of EU powers - is further extensions on qualified majority voting in the council of ministers. That takes some power away from smaller countries (like Ireland), which is really the only legitimate reason for Ireland to reject it.

The EU has many faults, among them a lack of democratic accountability, and corruption so blatant the US House of Representatives would look virtuous in comparison, but the overweening commissioon is largely a myth made up by national governments to excuse their own spinelessness and/or complicity in the making of bad EU laws.

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]

Corruption... (5.00 / 1) (#39)
by aitrus on Wed Oct 09, 2002 at 03:49:42 PM EST

If the Commission is so corrupt, has zero accountability to its contituents, then WHY on earth would you want to concentrate even more power in their hands?

Why would you continue a process of concentration of power, while so many other problems exist?

If an entire society (the Irish) fears the growing power and control of the Commission, and feel it lacks any form of check on power, why should they be forced to concentrate yet more power into it?  Why does their fear make them "selfish"?

[ Parent ]

Well, ... (none / 0) (#48)
by Simon Kinahan on Wed Oct 09, 2002 at 07:04:18 PM EST

The commission *doesn't* have much power. That was the point I was trying to make. The commission and the EU parliament and both blatantly corrupt, but the council of ministers is not especially, since it consists of national politicians. The reason they're corrupt and unaccountable is that noone cares what they do. Almost all the powers of the EU created by Nice rest with the council, and it is in their hands that the new powers will be placed.  

The reason for the continuation of the process is the avoidance of another European war. It may not be clear in Britain, Ireland, or Sweden, let alone the USA, but to the French and Germans it is still very much the reason. I would imagine some Poles see it the same way.

The reasons the Irish referendum went against the treaty first time round were, in order of importance:

1. Only 30% of the population voted
2. Many of those who voted treated as a referendum on the government and the EU, not the treaty.
3. Ireland loses its veto over some decisions, and gets less votes in others under the regime anticipated by Nice. It is still vastly overrepresented in proportion to its population.

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]

Considering those points (none / 0) (#65)
by HereticMessiah on Thu Oct 10, 2002 at 12:37:27 PM EST

  1. In a referendum, it really doesn't matter how many people vote. Seriously. It's not a valid reason for recycling exactly the same constitutional amendments.
  2. There's a chance of that happening now due to the corruption "revealations" in regard to Ray Burke. Gotta love the Flood Tribunal! And Charlie McCreevy's truly dismal handling of the economy will have an effect on the result for sure. What people are most galled about is that FF's campaign slogan was 'So much done, so much to do'. What? They haven't buggered a thriving economy up enough? Ever since that tosser was made Minister for Finance I warned that he'd fuck up big time. It's was obvious in each one of his Budgets. And I've been proven right. I wish I hadn't been.
  3. True on both counts, but I'm not to bothered by that. At least we're not as overrepresented as Luxembourg though! :-)


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[ Parent ]
Finger pointing (none / 0) (#42)
by Betcour on Wed Oct 09, 2002 at 04:17:17 PM EST

Indeed, it's traditionnal that every politician will make promesses that are not possible, then turn around and claim that the European Union won't let him do it and that it's not its fault. That thing should be in the "Politics for dummies" handbooks (section "101 ways to shift the blame")

[ Parent ]
Power of the commission (none / 0) (#55)
by Amorsen on Wed Oct 09, 2002 at 10:46:59 PM EST

The commission has the arguably most important power of all - it is the only body that can propose new laws. It is the commission that decides the formulation of new laws, or whether to introduce new legislation at all. The council of ministers then has to approve the legislation, in a few cases unanimously but in most cases with a "qualified" majority vote. The parliament matters very little - its most important power is that it can theoretically decide to dissolve the commission so a new one has to be appointed. This has never happened; even when the commission admitted to widespread corruption it did not get voted out but instead chose to dissolve itself.

[ Parent ]
Hmmm .... (none / 0) (#64)
by Simon Kinahan on Thu Oct 10, 2002 at 05:35:07 AM EST

I guess this is a matter of perspective. I believe that the authority of the council forces the commission to check with the member states before drafting new laws. The threat of removal by the parliament did force the last commission to resign en masse, so it is not an entirely theoretical possibility.

I'm not arguing the EU's constitution is perfect by a long shot. It is clear that the parliament needs many more powers, and the commission needs to be replaced with a more conventional separate executive and bureaucracy, with democratically accountable ministers.

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]

I don't know about you... (4.71 / 7) (#18)
by Run4YourLives on Wed Oct 09, 2002 at 11:54:50 AM EST

...but I don't have the time nor the inclination to read a treaty of the EU. What is it all about?

It is not clear what the motives were for the Irish to reject the Nice treaty in their first referendum.

 I highly doubt it. Guess you haven't read it either.

 I'm sure there's a valid reason why Ireland hasn't ratified it yet... if you can't explain what it is, then don't write an article about it.

I need more information if I'm too vote (or discuss) this article.

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown

Yeah, there's a valid reason (1.00 / 1) (#26)
by MSBob on Wed Oct 09, 2002 at 02:15:15 PM EST

Regional subsidies Ireland receives from EU coffers. I didn't state that because I didn't wanna sound like a troll. Besides this is a NEWS article not an in-depth analysis of Ireland's love/hate relationship in with the EU.

The Irish aspect is only tangential to my article (about EU enlargement) but you seem to be really hung up on it. Get off my back, will you?

I don't mind paying taxes, they buy me civilization.

[ Parent ]
If the Irish aspect is tangential... (4.00 / 1) (#28)
by JavaTenor on Wed Oct 09, 2002 at 02:21:19 PM EST

why did it take up half the article?

[ Parent ]
one comment (4.00 / 1) (#31)
by Run4YourLives on Wed Oct 09, 2002 at 02:41:18 PM EST

does not a hang-up make.

Half of the article talks about how Ireland is a problem to further expansion. If you're going to put something in the article, then it becomes valid. Otherwise, don't mention it.

As it stands, after your previous comment, It does seem like you're trolling... Why do they recieve subsidies? How will the treaty affect those subsidies? How does expansion affect those conditions? And that only scratches the surface...

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]

That's hardly the whole story. (none / 0) (#63)
by Arker on Thu Oct 10, 2002 at 05:17:12 AM EST

Ireland has a long and noble tradition of not interfering with others affairs. The Nice treaty would oblige them to join in the creation of a permanent military for the purpose of such meddling. Interesting that you don't even mention that.



[ Parent ]
-1 (2.85 / 14) (#20)
by FuriousXGeorge on Wed Oct 09, 2002 at 01:02:35 PM EST

Too EUROsian centric.

--
-- FIELDISM NOW!

Eurosian? (4.00 / 1) (#24)
by Platy on Wed Oct 09, 2002 at 01:44:29 PM EST

Though there are probably more people from the USA than from the rest of the world on k5 I still think Europe politics - specially in this scale - are interesting for anyone. Think about it - the population of the EU is already larger than the population of the USA. Europe is not that unimportant - even for people from the USA!

by the way - did you invent the word eurosian?
--
Tongue-tied and twisted, just an earthbound misfit, I.
[ Parent ]
Euro influence on the US (4.33 / 3) (#25)
by DodgyGeezer on Wed Oct 09, 2002 at 01:56:28 PM EST

I think any American who doesn't pay attention to this is being increasingly short-sighted.  Europe might not compete on military terms with the US, but economically they have increasing clout.  It's highly likely that there will be time in the next 20 years that the US starts paying serious attention politically to the EU to avoid economic consequences.  

Even now, the EU puts pressure on the US on such internal matters like the death penalty, or international trade.  Just recently they were talking of imposing tariffs on goods produced in states that were marginal in the last presidential election (e.g. oranges from Florida) as a way to put pressure on GWB over US steel tariffs.  These situations are likely to occur more often as the EU grows economically bigger.  A confrontation between N. America and Europe is not something that I look forward to.

[ Parent ]

Uh...where'd you get this from...? (1.50 / 2) (#38)
by aitrus on Wed Oct 09, 2002 at 03:32:32 PM EST

Really, where did you get this?  The European Union, in its current form, in moving towards a centrally controlled economy with high taxation.  This, economically, is extremely negative.

How are they putting pressure on us, in terms of the "death penalty, or international trade"?  No one in the US cares about the opinions of Europeans, on such local matters as the death penalty.  And it's good that they challenge some of our industries in terms of international competition, because it means our products are going to keep improving in quality.

There is a good editorial on the subject:
http://denbeste.nu/cd_log_entries/2002/10/EUTaxpolicy.shtml

[ Parent ]

Humm (none / 0) (#41)
by Betcour on Wed Oct 09, 2002 at 04:12:07 PM EST

The European Union, in its current form, in moving towards a centrally controlled economy with high taxation.

Quite the opposite. The EU is pushing for deregulation and opening of internal markets. The "high taxation" is already there without the EU - the EU doesn't have any stance on taxes besides the requirement to keep the governement debts and deficits in line.

How are they putting pressure on us, in terms of the "death penalty, or international trade"? No one in the US cares about the opinions of Europeans, on such local matters as the death penalty.

That's cool. But you are only scratching the surface :
  • Product made and/or sold in US often have to pass the European regulations eventhough this wouldn't be necessary otherwise. Look on your PC monitor cardbox : most of the nice little logos on it are European regulations, which the manufacturer had to follow eventhough it was made in China and sold in US
  • Every big company merger has to be approved by the EU. Two US companies who wants to merge have to follow EU laws. Some mergers in US had to be cancelled because the EU said "no".
Basically the EU is way too big to be ignored, and since its laws/regulations are usually more stringent than anywhere else, that means they are considered the standard (unless you want to market and do business only outside European nations - which is difficult nowaday).

[ Parent ]
Craziness (none / 0) (#43)
by theElectron on Wed Oct 09, 2002 at 04:56:26 PM EST

Basically the EU is way too big to be ignored, and since its laws/regulations are usually more stringent than anywhere else, that means they are considered the standard

And you see this is as a good thing. This, above all else, is why the U.S. needn't have any long term fear over of the E.U.

Two US companies who wants to merge have to follow EU laws. Some mergers in US had to be cancelled because the EU said "no".

Two multinational U.S. corporations, yes, but then they're really not U.S. corporations in the strictist sense, are they? They need only be approved by the E.U. if they wish to continue doing business in the E.U. This decision is theirs alone.

--
Join the NRA!
[ Parent ]

Just as daft (none / 0) (#45)
by OAB on Wed Oct 09, 2002 at 05:47:40 PM EST

They need only be approved by the E.U. if they wish to continue doing business in the E.U.

Hmm, a market that will soon be twice the size of the U.S.A., where you can get away with charging more. Yes, I can see why giving that up would not be hard.

[ Parent ]
ever heard of Helms-Burton? (none / 0) (#47)
by martingale on Wed Oct 09, 2002 at 06:45:56 PM EST

That's when America decided it hated Cuba so much that it would penalize foreign companies who wanted to trade with them. That's companies based in another country, anywhere in the world, who want to trade with some other country, Cuba, without passing through the US market.

Tit for tat.

[ Parent ]

And the moment (none / 0) (#60)
by Curieus on Thu Oct 10, 2002 at 05:09:43 AM EST

the US really implements the law against EU companies, there will be a huge backlash.

At the time of introduction there were plans to create laws that would allow renumeration for affected companies from affecting companies or even US funds.
These laws were shelved when the US softened its stance, but they are not forgotten.

[ Parent ]

Well (none / 0) (#59)
by Betcour on Thu Oct 10, 2002 at 04:11:42 AM EST

And you see this is as a good thing. This, above all else, is why the U.S. needn't have any long term fear over of the E.U.

Well unless you love to drink arsenic, be submitted to heavy magnetic radiations and breath lead, benzenes and COČ in quantity, you can indeed call more stringent regulations a good thing. A consummer is more useful to the economy if he is alive. As for economic regulations, the ones imposed by the EU are related to monopolies and anti-competitive pratices, which are definitly a good thing for the economy.

Two multinational U.S. corporations, yes, but then they're really not U.S. corporations in the strictist sense, are they?

Show me any large company that doesn't do any business in Europe at all ? Show me any company that is ready to give up on almost half a billion rich consummers ? (yes - the enlarged EU will be about 480 millions peoples and bigger economy than US)

[ Parent ]
Or indeed, in the more genral form (none / 0) (#50)
by Phillip Asheo on Wed Oct 09, 2002 at 07:11:17 PM EST

No one in the US cares about the opinions of Europeans, on such local matters as the death penalty.

Or indeed, in the more genral form, No one in the US cares about the opinions of anyone else at all.

Not caring, and being immune to something are two wholly different things. If the USA does not slap the EU down right now, it will become much harder for it to do so in the future.

Consider the EU has some of the most educated people in the world (which Nazi nation was responsible for the US rocket program ? which EU nation invented the computer ? etc etc)

When Europe recovers its strength after the devastation of two world wars, it will become the economic powerhouse of the globe. The USA will be dragged kicking and screaming if necessary into "caring about the opinions of Europeans". It will be FUN to watch.

--
"Never say what you can grunt. Never grunt what you can wink. Never wink what you can nod, never nod what you can shrug, and don't shrug when it ain't necessary"
-Earl Long
[ Parent ]

Or indeed, in the more general form (2.33 / 3) (#51)
by Phillip Asheo on Wed Oct 09, 2002 at 07:11:28 PM EST

No one in the US cares about the opinions of Europeans, on such local matters as the death penalty.

Or indeed, in the more genral form, No one in the US cares about the opinions of anyone else at all.

Not caring, and being immune to something are two wholly different things. If the USA does not slap the EU down right now, it will become much harder for it to do so in the future.

Consider the EU has some of the most educated people in the world (which Nazi nation was responsible for the US rocket program ? which EU nation invented the computer ? etc etc)

When Europe recovers its strength after the devastation of two world wars, it will become the economic powerhouse of the globe. The USA will be dragged kicking and screaming if necessary into "caring about the opinions of Europeans". It will be FUN to watch.

--
"Never say what you can grunt. Never grunt what you can wink. Never wink what you can nod, never nod what you can shrug, and don't shrug when it ain't necessary"
-Earl Long
[ Parent ]

World Wars (4.00 / 1) (#54)
by Merk00 on Wed Oct 09, 2002 at 09:33:13 PM EST

The USA will be dragged kicking and screaming if necessary into "caring about the opinions of Europeans". It will be FUN to watch.
The last time this happened the US had to participate in two World Wars. I would try to use a term other than "FUN" to describe it.

------
"At FIRST we see a world where science and technology are celebrated, where kids think science is cool and dream of becoming science and technology heroes."
- FIRST Mission
[ Parent ]

I said fun to WATCH (none / 0) (#69)
by Phillip Asheo on Fri Oct 11, 2002 at 07:22:16 PM EST

Not fun to PARTICIPATE!
 


--
"Never say what you can grunt. Never grunt what you can wink. Never wink what you can nod, never nod what you can shrug, and don't shrug when it ain't necessary"
-Earl Long
[ Parent ]

Common Agricultural Policy (4.80 / 5) (#27)
by Simon Kinahan on Wed Oct 09, 2002 at 02:18:05 PM EST

Irish acceptance of Nice is not the biggest obstacle. The Irish government will keep sending the treaty back for a new referendum until it passes. They might at some point go to Brussels for a few token concessions, but that is all it will be. Enlargement is much  too important for the Irish government to let the citizens put it at risk out of confusion, spite, and lack of concern.

The biggest obstacle is the Common Agricultural Policy. This is the insane mechanism by which European farmers are payed to grow too much food and then payed again to throw it away, and then payed again to not farm their land at all. Poland contains so many farmers that this policy will become completely unworkable after enlargement, but is so important to the net beneficiaries (principally France, not known for their flexibility in EU negotiations), that it will be very hard to reform.

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate

right (4.50 / 2) (#33)
by fhotg on Wed Oct 09, 2002 at 02:55:58 PM EST

But not all are equal in Europe. Expect that the newcomer's farmers will only get a fraction of what French and Germans receive. Until the whole mess will be overhauled for good, hopefully.

[ Parent ]
Insane doesn't go far enough! (5.00 / 2) (#34)
by HereticMessiah on Wed Oct 09, 2002 at 02:59:58 PM EST

When you read this, remember that I was born in the West of Ireland and raised in a predominantly agrarian community.

The CAP's major failing is that it encourages big farmers. Big farmers are better able to produce large amounts of produce given the equivalent acreage of a number of small farmers. This kills rural life and leads to the food mountains we have to deal with.

The CAP is in desperate need to reform. At the very least, subsidies tied to acreage should be on a sliding scale with larger farmers getting a far lower amount of aid per acre than smaller farmers. That might go some way towards easing the cash burden, the food mountains, and improved rural life for the better.

The CAP has achieved what it originally set out to do. It's not needed any more.

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[ Parent ]

Failing, or main advantage ? (none / 0) (#49)
by Phillip Asheo on Wed Oct 09, 2002 at 07:06:09 PM EST

The CAP's major failing is that it encourages big farmers

Big farms = more efficient = cheaper food + more profit.

What's not to like ? The wealth redistribution part of the CAP is there to prevent revolution. Once all the small farmers have gone, it will no longer be necessary. The aim of the EU is to let big business run everything. Its Mussolini's Corporate State writ large.

--
"Never say what you can grunt. Never grunt what you can wink. Never wink what you can nod, never nod what you can shrug, and don't shrug when it ain't necessary"
-Earl Long
[ Parent ]

That was fine back in the beginning, but not now. (5.00 / 1) (#66)
by HereticMessiah on Thu Oct 10, 2002 at 12:51:03 PM EST

What you don't realise is that the CAP has caused huge social problems in rural areas. It also has aggrivated unemployment drastically - not only does more money go on subsidies, but the CAP has increased the cost of providing social welfare and social security. These are very real failings.

The original purpose of the CAP was to encourage the use of more efficient farming practices. Big farms was a side-effect, and not entirely unforseen. The legacy this has left behind is rural pollution due to overuse of fertilisers and a drop in the amount of viable farm land.

The movement from the country to the city has also had a bad effect on city life. One just has to look at the increase in social problems and crime in european cities if one needs proof. You want one irish example? Take Dublin. And in Dublin, take Ballymun and the other projects the sprung up to cope with the influx from rural Ireland. Take Dublin's transport infrastructure, which just cannot cope with the increased needs of a fast growing population.

Nor has food became cheaper. If anything, it's more expensive than ever and we're paying for it twice - once at the checkout and then in our taxes. And what's this going to? Big farmers. If they're so damned efficient why the hell do they need subsidies?

--
Disagree with me? Post a reply.
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[ Parent ]

that'll be the day... (none / 0) (#70)
by han on Sat Oct 12, 2002 at 02:34:28 AM EST

Yes, the CAP is in desperate need of reform, and it had better be sooner than later. Last summer, EU Agriculture Commissioner Franz Fischler proposed some modest reforms, which would have moved the system towards decoupling subsidies from production and limiting the aid given to the large farms, without cutting down the total aid budget for now.

The beneficiaries of the current CAP, lead by France, successfully torpedoed the proposal and the only reform agreement we now have is that something will be done in 2006. That's after the new member states are in, and since they will rely even more on the CAP subsidies there's not much hope that the reforms will be any more successful then.

Summary: this sucks.

[ Parent ]

Insane, but not uncommon (none / 0) (#44)
by J'raxis on Wed Oct 09, 2002 at 05:06:19 PM EST

This is the insane mechanism by which European farmers are payed to grow too much food and then payed again to throw it away, and then payed again to not farm their land at all.
This is the same way the farming and dairy industries operate in the U.S.

— The Raxis

[ J’raxis·Com | Liberty in your lifetime ]
[ Parent ]

Yeah (none / 0) (#52)
by Simon Kinahan on Wed Oct 09, 2002 at 07:12:27 PM EST

Agricultural price supports and subsidies are even more widely practised than they are condemned. There are actually good reasons for doing it. Without the supports, prices tend to oscilate wildly. Governments also have good reasons to keep a strategic reserve of food in case of war or famine.

While the US system is pretty crazy, the CAP is even worse. The surpluses produced are far bigger than could be considered necessary, and the prices for produce are roughly 1.5x times what they are in the USA.

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]

US Farm Subsidies (none / 0) (#53)
by Merk00 on Wed Oct 09, 2002 at 09:26:36 PM EST

The US has actually tried to phase out farm subsidies. In 2000 and 2001, there were no farm subsidies in the US. The only reason the US brought them back was the fact that the European Union farm subsidies made it such that US farmers couldn't compete. Unfortunately, farm subsidies are most harmful to small farmers in developing countries as they allow the farmers in industrialized countries to compete unfairly.

------
"At FIRST we see a world where science and technology are celebrated, where kids think science is cool and dream of becoming science and technology heroes."
- FIRST Mission
[ Parent ]

As Ambrose Bierce wrote: (none / 0) (#61)
by Arker on Thu Oct 10, 2002 at 05:11:10 AM EST

This is from memory, I may have something small wrong but I am sure it is essentially as he wrote it.

Agriculture:

1.Pillage in the name of tillage. 2. The cultivation of legislatures for the purpose of raising subsidies.



[ Parent ]
This is a big issue (5.00 / 1) (#62)
by Arker on Thu Oct 10, 2002 at 05:15:01 AM EST

In Poland and Ukraine etc. this is a huge issue, IIRC their terms of entry will minimise the subsidies paid to Eastern European farmers and preserve the enourmous sums the French are getting, for a few years at least.



[ Parent ]
CAP will be killed by the WTO? (none / 0) (#73)
by RyoCokey on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 11:00:37 AM EST

The World Trade Organization has had CAP in it's sights for a long time, and as it's original immunity under the WTO agreement is soon to expire, I wonder how the WTO will affect CAP reform?



The issue here is not the facts; Right - so how does this apply to Mr. Scott Ritter?
[
Parent ]
Let's hope (none / 0) (#74)
by Simon Kinahan on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 11:19:32 AM EST

It is, after all, one of the biggest obstacles to equal treatment of the developing world in trade matters. Apparently the law was laid down at Doha that the EU must reform the CAP. Unfortunately, much the same was tried during the Uruguay round, and it didn't work then.

Unfortunately, the lack of public esteem (or understanding) for the WTO right now is unlikely to help matters. France is the biggest beneficiary of the CAP, and also has little public support for trade liberalisation.

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]

What was the catch? (2.33 / 3) (#36)
by aitrus on Wed Oct 09, 2002 at 03:16:30 PM EST

What did these nations have to agree to, beforehand? To not make any bilateral agreements with the US, in regard to the ICC? To dedicate a certain portion of their GDP to the EU's newly proposed defense initiatives? Obviously since they won't get the US to pay for it...

selfish? (5.00 / 9) (#37)
by drivers on Wed Oct 09, 2002 at 03:20:34 PM EST

I think calling Ireland selfish in a non-editorial story is out of line. Is Ireland a democracy or has it handed over soveriegnty to the EU? I thought this quote from the "first referendum" link was interesting:
They also argue that ratifying the treaty would force Ireland to participate in the EU's 60,000-member Rapid Reaction Force, thus infringing on the country's traditional neutrality.


There is a strong possibility that... (none / 0) (#40)
by walwyn on Wed Oct 09, 2002 at 03:51:16 PM EST

...Ireland will have to take a smaller amount of subsidy from the EU when the likes of Slovakia, and Slovenia join. Its difficult to move anywhere in Ireland these days without being confronted by a plaque which reads 'Paid for by the EU'.


----
Professor Moriarty - Bugs, Sculpture, Tombs, and Stained Glass
[ Parent ]

Ah! Here we go (5.00 / 1) (#67)
by yanisa on Fri Oct 11, 2002 at 07:44:25 AM EST

Although I understand that you probably just cut-and-pasted the last two countries, you are wrong. According to recent calculations, Slovenia will be a net-contributor to the EU from the moment we (yes, I'm Slovenian) join. With our 2 mio populace and some 50,000 farmers, we are hardly a big drain on the farming subsidies anyway. The real problem is Poland - it has millions of farmers and is relatively poor, so their joining will invariably skew the ratios of subsidy allotments for existing EU countries.

That said, my personal opinion is that the farming subsidies suck. Over 50% of EU's budget is used for that - money that could be much more wisely spent for research, science and the like.

Yan

I think this line's mostly filler
[ Parent ]

2084? (2.00 / 4) (#46)
by dipierro on Wed Oct 09, 2002 at 06:08:56 PM EST

In other news, talks are underway about renaming the United Kingdom to Airstrip One.

Good news for EU expansion? (none / 0) (#71)
by thadk on Sun Oct 13, 2002 at 08:49:41 PM EST

How does [ Britain to Re-Impose Direct Rule on N.Ireland ] effect the outlook for the Irish gov't voting for expansion? Does this mean the British get to cast the vote which would presumably be for it?

I guess not, (none / 0) (#72)
by thadk on Sun Oct 13, 2002 at 10:13:02 PM EST

it's the voters that choose but it doesn't really matter since it looks like they are 41% for, 27% against anyway.

[ Parent ]
It doesn't affect it (none / 0) (#75)
by daragh on Fri Oct 25, 2002 at 05:09:57 AM EST

There are two entities on the island of Ireland, Northern Ireland, which has been under British rule, and the Republic of Ireland, which has been an independant state since 1922.

No work.
[ Parent ]

No one mentioned... (none / 0) (#76)
by daragh on Fri Oct 25, 2002 at 05:24:56 AM EST

...that the Irish government probably brought about a no vote in the first referendum by not giving details of it until a bare three weeks before the date of the vote, by obscuring public debate, and by treating the public as stupid by adopting a "we know what's good for you, go on, vote yes without thinking about it" attitude. I argue that the no result was largely a protest vote against this attitude. That was the reason I voted no. I didn't feel the result was going to be valid when brought about by a poorly informed electorate. This is backed up by the large yes majority on the recent second referendum, where time had been given to debate the pros and cons.

I still feel that it is wrong to put the same issue to the people twice in quick succession, just because the first vote didn't go the governments way. Why not do this for a general election: um, ah, I lost my seat, can we go again?

No work.

What about Turkey? (none / 0) (#77)
by higinx on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 01:02:04 AM EST

The EU needs to get off its butt and get Turkey in. Membership of this moderate Muslim country would show the rest of the Muslim world that there is true acceptance of their faith in the Western world.

Turkey's exclusion is just another indication (to man-on-the-street Muslims) that the West thinks Islam is beneath them.

The EU ought to be better than that.

--
Send me a nickel: http://www.ginx.com/nx/donate/patrick

First... (none / 0) (#78)
by melia on Sun Nov 24, 2002 at 11:09:19 AM EST

...i want to make clear that i'm all for Turkey joining the EU.

I would say, however, that a major reason for Europe's caution is that Turkey, with a population of 80m? (Something like that) would have a huge say over Europe's affairs and the tiddly Belgiums etc. aren't keen on being sidelined by a newcomer.

I wouldn't necessarily say that religion has nothing to do with it, but to reduce it to that is, as you say, beneath us.
Disclaimer: All of the above is probably wrong
[ Parent ]

EU expansion approved | 78 comments (66 topical, 12 editorial, 0 hidden)
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