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  • Russia annexes Crimea: a new world order?

    13 April 2014  17:39, by Alexander Peters

    APPEASEMENT FOR OUR TIMES?

    “Divergence” from US Policy at this juncture will exactly not lead to the “strong, federal and united Europe” envisaged by the author. Yes, independence from US military protection could - and should! - have been easily achieved after 1989. But due to Europe´s laziness and stupidity there still is no European army that would be a match for Russia´s. Thus, the EU´s highly alarmed Eastern members (Baltic states, Poland, Roumania) will look for their reassurance not to Brussels (Berlin, Paris) but to Washington. If Western EU-countries would under these circumstances attempt an autonomous, NATO-critical diplomacy, that would be perceived in the EU´s Eastern capitals as a betrayal undermining US efforts to assist them. Such diplomacy would therefore not strengthen but split the EU - it would lead to the reemergence of Rumsfeld´s “new Europe” “of the willing” in the East and create a fifth column of US-loyalists within EU-institutions, which in exchange for US-security-guarantees would promote US-interests there - say, with regard to NSA-spying, climate change denial or genetically engineered crops.

    Being a “strong Europe” and at the same time a Europe not willing to take responsibility for its own defence or to confront Putin´s aggression? - A contradiction in terms!

  • Democracy shamocracy - wuthering times in Europe

    10 April 2014  18:19, by Iwantout

    Your readers might find this informative. You start this article “Voters can no longer complain that there is no such thing as choice in politics.”

    Contrast that sentiment with “Juncker and Schulz struggle to find differences in first TV debate. The top two rival candidates to lead the European Commission struggled Wednesday (9 April) to find real policy differences in the first live television debate ahead of European Parliament elections next month.”

    This is the headlines as put out by the Euractiv website which is nothing whatsoever to do with the UK or any eurosceptic grouping but does work very closely with the EU.

    http://www.euractiv.com/sections/eu-elections-2014/juncker-and-schulz-struggle-find-differences-first-tv-debate-301474

    As I asked before, where exactly is the choice ?

  • Russia annexes Crimea: a new world order?

    7 April 2014  22:31, by Alexander Peters

    No, Russia has not invaded Crimea out of fear of Western invasion, but out of a conviction that the West is mentally incapable of efficient action. It knows it has nothing to fear from squabbling EU/ Nato politicians keen to spend less on tanks - and energy - and weary of making a stand. If Putin had ever believed that the EU - three times the population, eight times the economic potential of Russia - would actually DO anything worth mentioning about his aggression, he would never have entered Crimea in the first place. Of course he TALKS about Napoleon and Hitler - but we must not take Putin for a fool: he KNOWS that there is nothing “Napoleonic” about Steinmeier, Barroso or even Obama.

    No, changes of government brought about by months of sustained popular resistance - as on Maidan - are NOT usually “classified” as “coup d´etats” - that term is reserved to surprise take-overs by the military - but as “revolutions”. The lack of solidarity by “knowing” Westerners with the brave Ukrainian people in their our of need and under the threat of foreign attack is one of the most disturbing aspects of the present situation.

    No, we have not been “fed” the story of “free world” versus Russian “authoritarianism” “far too long”. Putin runs a regime based on the denial of human rights, freedom of opinion and free elections. The West - the US - has its flaws, but it is ridiculous to put it on a level with the FSB-Mafia-methods of Putin´s Russia - the Russia of the Chodorkowski imprisonment, the Politkowskaya murder, the Litwinenko poisoning, the Chechen slaughter. Saudi-Arabia MAY be comparable,but that is not what Maidan is about: Can´t the author see that Ukraine strives to become another Poland and NOT another Saudi-Arabia?! If fear is involved in current Russian decision-making, its source should be sought here: What Putin really is afraid of, is not the establishment of Nato structures in Ukraine, but of a working democracy there. For,if Ukrainians - the people culturally closest to Russians - can prosper with free press and rule of law, why not Russians themselves?

    No,this is not the time to display EU/US “divergence”. Yes, “Europe for the Europeans” - but this requires that Europe IS DEFENDED BY EUROPEANS. Since 1989, independence from US military assistance could have been easily achieved - but due to our laziness it HASN´T. There is no European army now, which on its own would be a match for Russia´s. Thus, the legitimate desire of the Eastern EU-nations for military insurance against the Russian menace can only be satisfied by the US. If under these circumstances Western EU-nations should prove lukewarm in their support for a US-policy of reassuring Poland, the Baltic states or Roumania they would thereby not strengthen Europe but split it. They would alienate Eastern Europe and turn it into Washington´s fifth column within the EU - it would be Rumsfeld´s “New Europe” “of the willing” all over again.

  • Unemployment in the globalization age

    1 April 2014  21:28, by Iwantout

    It is stated that the economic crisis is becoming a social due to the austerity policies imposed by the EU. With the wildly differing needs of economies and the inability of euro countries to devalue, the only option left is ‘internal devaluation’ as a means of dealing with the uncompetitive economic position some find themselves in. This was inevitable and was recognised at the launch of the euro.

    Clearly the EU has no central government, there is clamour for one and absolutely no mandate. It was clear when the euro was launched that the lack of central control was a fundamental flaw, the failure of all but one country to successfully qualified for membership was another and the waiving of the Growth & Stability Pact when it was inconvenient a third.

    The jobs we are all looking for have not vanished. A very great many of them have simply moved to parts of the World where the business environment is more favourable, that does not just mean lower wages. The mass of bureaucracy imposed by the EU is a positive brake on investment and employment. This has been recognised repeatedly, even by the Commission e.g. Gunter Verhuegen (Commissioner for Enterprise & Industry) calculated in 2006 that EU over regulation cost the EU economy 5.5% of GDP (approx 600bn euro at 2006 prices, the Single Market at the same time was estimated to add 160bn euro to the economy ie costs exceeded benefits by 440bn euro !) The Sapir Report reached similar conclusions regarding the negative impact of the EU on economic growth. The very last thing you can say about the EU is that it “has abdicated its responsibility to submit the market to rules and institutions.” Given the comment in the final paragraph “the EU is the most intensively regulated region of the world” this is a point the writer ultimately agrees with despite his earlier arguments.

    With regard to the “more equitable distribution of labour” we can see how such a policy works in the EU today. France has restricted the working week to 35 hours since 2000 for the reasons suggested. The result ? Unemployment overall at 10.2%, youth unemployment of 25.4% and an environment where business does not flourish. This does not suggest that such a policy has been at all effective.

    Finally everything is to be funded by a financial transaction tax. The comments of Christian Noyer (Governor of the French Central Bank and ex ECB official) as published on the 28/05/13 on FTT are instructive. “The analyses we’ve done show that the project, as it has been prepared by the commission, will first of all raise nothing at all, there’ll be no revenue.” He goes on to say “The immediate effect will be either to destroy financial sectors……..the cost of borrowing in the real economy will increase for everyone.” Increased borrowing costs are inhibitors to growth and increased employment.

    The EU as a new global social and economic model ? Hardly.

  • Galileo, the UK and China – the wrong trio for the EU?

    1 April 2014  14:30, by akku

    It is a very exclusive report that concludes that the Chinese have taken advantage of the Europeans so that they can get one foot in the stirrup. Really thank you for sharing this shocking news and the details.

    snoring remedies

  • Democracy shamocracy - wuthering times in Europe

    3 March 2014  21:54, by Iwantout

    “Voters can no longer complain that there is no such thing as choice in politics” is your opening comment.

    After the elections in May a new President will have to be selected, under the provisions of the Lisbon Treaty (itself put in place without any popular vote after its ill-fated predecessor the European Constitution was roundly rejected by the electorate despite massive support from the political elite – a true example of post democratic politics in action) he / she will have to reflect the outcome of the election.

    There are three potential candidates with a realistic prospect of success. Martin Schulz, Jean Claude Junker and Guy Verhofstadt. While they have minor differences in tone they are all enthusiastic federalists, all want a single European legal system, tax harmonisation, military union etc. In short where exactly is the choice ?

    Amusingly Jose Bove (a potential Green candidate for President) who you mention approvingly in your last paragraph, commented in your own interview posted on the 28th January 2014 (http://www.thenewfederalist.eu/interview-of-the-green-candidates-for-the-european-commission ) that “Federalism is not understandable for the large public” and that is why he does not use the word in their campaigns despite the Greens being absolutely in favour of the “Ever Closer Union”; so no choice there then either.

    Its own surveying has shown 60% do not trust the EU and it is entirely possible that the voters will turn their back on these polls in even greater numbers than ever before. So perhaps it is possible to describe the EU as a leading shamocracy.

    With regards to following the example of Ecuador, it is a country I have never visited and can only refer to reports by credible NGOs such as Human Rights Watch. You seem to describe it in very positive terms particularly in the claim that it enshrines the right of nature in its constitution, it may, but it is not what is written in the constitution that is important so much as what happens. HRW World Report 2013 paints a very much less flattering picture (http://www.hrw.org/world-report/2013/country-chapters/ecuador ) particularly when it notes that legislation designed to deal with terrorism and sabotage is used against participants engaged in public protests against environmental and other issues.

    Seems to me what we really need is straight forward old fashioned democracy. The politicians gain a direct mandate for their actions, it is painfully clear they have lacked any such authority in continental Europe since at least since 1992 and in the case of the UK they have never had such a mandate. A campaign of six months followed by a simple question, “Do you support the creation of a Federal United States of Europe?” If you think people would say NO but still want to move in that direction, are you not part of the ‘shamocracy’ problem ? At least eurosceptics want to put the decision to the people.

  • Let’s rejoice in the formation of an anti-European alliance!

    3 February 2014  19:16, by Joe Arillo

    If these parties of radical-right form their “European Alliance for Freedom”, that will be great for us on the federalist side. UKIP, arguably the most irritating, obstructive anti-federalist party, loses its power in the Euro Parl and relegated to the NI back benches where they will be forced to sit alongside their so dear friends, BNP, Jobbik and Golden Dawn.

    Also, this “EAF” becomes no different to the Tea Party of America, a laughing stock of a federation-wide movement that serves to draw normal, sane, mainstream people together against it. The Tea Party is still less popular than the US President is at the moment, despite his bout of recent scandals and mistakes. We can use the EAF to deflect euro-hatred, if we make the European people hate the EAF and their EU shutdown more than their misguided hate for a free federal Europe.

  • Europe, don’t kill my vibe. The view from Romania.

    2 February 2014  14:30, by Iwantout

    The GDP ($) per capita by purchasing power parity for some EU nations. (2012 Figures) Romania $11,443, Bulgaria $12,177, Greece $20,921, France $29,819, UK $32,722, Germany $34,765, Netherlands $36,599.

    It is rational from an individual perspective for people who can, to move from a poor area to a rich one. Even if they are only able to secure a relatively poorly paid job in a rich area they will be better off than if they remained in a highly paid job in a poor area.

    E.g. the Colegiel Medicilor (professional organisation for doctors in Romania) reported that in 2012 the average salary for a doctor in that country was 300 euros per month. The UK minimum wage is £6.31 per hour (7.69 euro as of 02/02/14) or 307.60 euros per 40 hour week. So a person on the lowest wage in the UK is earning about four times that of a doctor in Romania. The cost of living is also higher but assorted tax credits, housing benefits etc. help and the minimum wage is a national figure so you do not have to live in the expensive areas to achieve it.

    The consequence is that the Colegiel Medicilor reports 1605 doctors left Romania in 2012. Most of the doctors leaving were specialists, anaesthetists, surgeons, urologists, orthopaedic specialists and paediatricians. The favoured destinations for these highly skilled people were unsurprisingly France, Germany and the UK. So by the end of 2012 there were 1.95 doctors per 1000 people in Romania against an EU average of 3.18.

    I assume that lower status jobs in Romania pay lower rates than doctors; the argument becomes even more powerful. As the higher skilled, articulate and most dynamic individuals leave, those that remain are sentenced to an increasingly bleak outlook. Undoubtedly the regions that suffer will then seek financial support from the central government or EU.

    The impact on the receiving countries has tended to centre entirely on the cost / benefit in relation to benefits claimed against taxes paid. On this level there is certainly a case to be made that migrants are beneficial to the host country, at least whilst they are young and active. This is particularly true for the employing companies. Such discussions however ignore the infrastructure and social cohesion costs which are born by the state and the local community. Once these are factored in the positive result for the host country as a whole is entirely less certain.

    Unfettered movement is indeed central to the EU, for the individuals who use make use of it, it is undoubtedly almost entirely positive. For societies as a whole the case is much more ambiguous and can result in extremely serious social issues and costs.

    As a closing fact, despite the authors report of a booming Romanian economy I would remind him that the country has shown a net emigration every single year since at least 2000 and that this has continued and increased since 2007

  • Goodbye Spain, Hello Europe?

    19 January 2014  13:39, by Klaus

    United States of Europe? Same role as Massachusetts? Is this serious?

  • Are the European Commission’s new powers legitimate?

    18 January 2014 16:00, by Artus Galiay

    Bonjour Magali, Merci pour ton commentaire. Le TSCG aura bel et bien un impact sur les pays sous EDP, principalement au niveau de la coordination des politiques économiques: “the TSCG sets stones for a reinforced surveillance and coordination of economic policies, with ex ante coordination of debt issuance plans among Contracting Parties and economic partnership programmes for Member States in EDP, which detail the structural reforms needed for an effective and durable correction of their excessive deficit.”

    Je ne nie pas la légitimité du Parlement Européen, et ne considère par que sur chaque question il faille consulter tous les Parlements Nationaux. Ce que je critique, c’est la logique profondément diplomatique et intergouvernementale de ces choix, alors que ce sont des choix politiques considérables qui doivent être débattus publiquement et faire partie d’un projet plus vaste.

    Un exemple simple illustre très bien mon propos: en Novembre 2011, le Premier Ministre grec Papandréou avait proposé de faire un référendum sur le plan d’austérité proposé par l’UE. Angela Merkel et Nicolas Sarkozy s’y étaient immédiatement opposés, en indiquant que s’il y avait un référendum à faire, ce serait sur la participation de la Grèce à l’euro, car le plan d’austérité ne représente que le coût de rester au sein de la monnaie unique, dont les grecs savent très bien que sans elle, leur économie s’effondrerait. De même, faire un référendum sur un potentiel droit de veto de la Commission Européenne sur les budgets nationaux serait profondément erroné car il ne se focaliserait que sur le coût politique d’un vaste projet, et non ses avantages. Il ne s’agit pas d’envisager uniquement les référendums que l’on pense gagner, mais de formuler la question honnêtement, pour que celle-ci soit explicite quant aux coûts et aux avantages d’un projet, qui doivent naturellement être débattus publiquement.

    Artus

  • Let’s rejoice in the formation of an anti-European alliance!

    18 January 2014 15:25, by Artus Galiay

    Dear Iwantout,

    I do apologise for the fact that we haven’t published comments in English for a while, we have had internal website issues, but do not worry, they are now solved and you can continue commenting the articles! You are right to point out that this article does not mention UKIP, but there are plenty of other TNF articles which do, and we will surely be covering the evolution of UKIP’s position towards the new anti-European alliance. All the best, Artus

  • Are the European Commission’s new powers legitimate?

    15 January 2014  13:35, by Magali Pernin

    Bonjour, Plusieurs éléments ont retenu mon attention:
    - Vous indiquez que le TSCG a défini la procédure de déficit excessif: cette procédure a été institué en 1997 avec le Pacte de stabilité et de croissance et réformée en 2011 avec le “Six-Pack”. Elle n’a pas été impactée par le TSCG.
    - Le TSCG n’institue pas le pouvoir de sanction par la CJUE en cas de non respect des critères de stabilité. Il s’agit “uniquement” de sanctionner les Etats n’ayant pas adopté la règle d’or en droit national.
    - Je suis un peu surprise par votre critique de la légitimité démocratique de la réforme de la gouvernance économique. En effet, les réformes des “Six-Pack” et “Two-Pack” ont largement intégré le Parlement européen qui a pu infléchir certaines dispositions. Pensez-vous qu’il faille intégrer les Parlements nationaux, voire les citoyens, dans ces réformes? Si oui, comment? Si je vous suis, cette question aurait du être intégrée dans une réforme des Traités ? Dommage que votre ambition démocratique trouve sa limite dans la construction d’un projet que vous pensez pouvoir être accepté par les électeurs... Vous excluez l’idée de consulter les citoyens sur le point précis du contrôle des budgets nationaux car ce serait un “suicide”. N’envisagez-vous que les référendums que vous pensez gagner ?

  • Let’s rejoice in the formation of an anti-European alliance!

    10 January 2014  20:05, by socrates

    I hope we will soon see really pan-European parties and ideas get the space they deserve, since I believe they are currently underrepresented in media, whereas dividing movements tend to get much more attention. But in the end it might be two sides of the same coin. We all need to talk much more directly to each other, instead of being limited due to a recurrent national(istic) bias.

    Thank you very much for your positive view!

    http://eurocitizens.net

  • Let’s rejoice in the formation of an anti-European alliance!

    9 January 2014  17:07, by Iwantout

    An article entitled “Let’s rejoice in the formation of an anti-European alliance!” with a photo-shopped picture of Union Flag hovering in the open hand of a person wearing a suit. Clearly we are intended to think that in some way this item will discuss the situation in the UK. The picture then appears on the German, French and Italian pages of your site, although one assume that the majority of readers there will only see the picture and are unlikely to read the full article.

    The article itself talks mainly about the FN and France but does also mention Belgium, Austria and the Netherlands. There is no mention of UKIP, nor the fact that UKIP has stated that it will decline any form of deal with FN and PVV let alone the Austrian Freedom Party or the VB in Belgium. A case I think we can all agree of precisely the sort of misleading journalism than the pro EU camp are always accusing anyone who is eurosceptic of.

    Given you have refused to publish any English responses for 78 days I will not hold my breath that this will appear any time soon, but the suppression of debate by yourselves must be of interest to your readers across the Continent.

  • Best wishes from The New Federalist!

    4 January 2014  17:13, by Iwantout

    Democracy - with an example from 1933 we are told that “it is in the European Union’s DNA to be weary of democracy”. I would contest the view that anyone in Europe is tired of democracy because of Hitler’s rise. Democracies do not as a matter of course have such things as the Enabling Act 1933, Article 48 Weimar Constitution, or storm troopers all of which were essential for his rise to power.

    Any weariness with democracy in the minds of ordinary citizens is due to the contempt shown by the federalist elite to the wishes of the electorate expressed in elections / referenda and the way individual votes in different countries for the European Parliament or QMV are so hugely unbalanced. IF there is a significant rise in eurosceptic parties in May it will in part be because the people have come to more fully understand the EU and are rejecting it.

    The economy – You are right that in some areas the last quarter shows improvement in GDP, Ireland, Spain and Greece are all finally showing some growth, France shows decline and Italy, contrary to your comment, is still in recession, -0.3% last quarter. But looking at annualised figures (basing commentary on a single quarter is notoriously speculative) Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Finland, Cyprus, Netherlands etc still have contracting economies. (The EZ as a whole is showing -0.4% growth.) This compares with 4.9% growth for Iceland, the country hit hardest by the financial crash.

    Youth unemployment continues to climb in Italy (41.2%), Portugal (36.5%) and Spain (57.4%), in the EZ the last quarter saw youth unemployment hit 24.4% another record. We can only hope your optimistic predictions are accurate. (All figures above from Eurostat or national statistical bodies.)

    As you say the position in France and Italy is bleak, remember they represent nearly 40% of the EZ population. The situation is a long way from being resolved and it is still entirely possible that the EU (particularly the EZ) will be presiding over a jobless recovery.

    1914 – Without doubt war is a catastrophe; the First World War was at least in part caused by the ruling elite deciding that they knew what was best for them and their peoples and acting accordingly. In this respect I sometimes I think little has changed. We can be grateful that up to the present the social issues arising from the ‘European Project’ have not manifested themselves in terms of wide scale extreme violence, simply riots and peaceful protests. The UN ILO ‘World of Work Report 2013’ (June 2013) makes disturbing reading in this context, as do the warnings of Bekele Geleta (Secretary-General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’s May 2013).

    World Cup – It would be churlish to harp on about the unrest in Brazil caused by the expenditure on stadia which the country cannot afford. With regards to the play itself, the less said about England’s prospects the better

  • Is it high time we revisited the EU Treaties?

    27 December 2013  16:11, by tnemessiacne

    @ Andy

    If we want the election of the european president at the “suffrage universel” we need i think to change an article of the Treaty of Rome. No ?

    We need also i think give more power to the european parliament. And for this we have to change some articles in the “european law”, i think.

    Do you see others changes for the European institutions ?

  • A short history of the Young European Federalists

    12 December 2013  02:49, by Johannes Langer

    A really good idea to publish it. Very interesting indeed!

  • The ALDE Party Congress in London

    9 December 2013  14:10, by Iwantout

    Well done, you managed to write an entire article with the UK Liberal Democrat as one of the main themes yet managed totally to fail to refer to the full support Nick Clegg gave to David Cameron on stopping the total free movement of people throughout the EU. I would have thought that you might have a view on this fundamental attack on one of the four pillars of the EU, but apparently not.

  • Europe and the British media

    5 December 2013  23:13, by Jon Danzig

    I was there, and asked a question about the appalling and inaccurate reporting of EU affairs by our British media. I believe this to be a serious problem, but then if you look at the owners of the newspapers who seem anti-EU, they have no roots in Europe or allegiance.

    Readers here may enjoy my article on why I value being a citizen of Europe at www.eucitizens.mythexploder.com and my blog on Europe, www.eu-rope.com

  • 23 MEPs support European Citizens’ Initiative for an Unconditional Basic Income

    5 December 2013  12:21, by Iwantout

    Given that it nearly two months since you posted any comments I assume you have finished with that aspect of your site. But this initiative is so economically illiterate that comment has to be made.

    While of course in an ideal World everyone would be guaranteed a dignified existence regardless of their choices, actions or inaction it is simply something that no state of any size could afford. This is just a call to further inflate a social model that is slowly imploding already. The employment situation is dire because frequently EU wages are too high. Believe me I would like to earn more money myself but you have to be seriously deluded if you think that by further increasing EU labour costs you can do anything to tackle unemployment and prevent jobs leaving the EU for elsewhere in the World.

    As for how an unconditional basic income would encourage ways of living that reduce the impact on the environment when everything we see shows that as people get richer they consume more and have a greater impact on the environment bemuses me.

    But my main point is this; here you have 23 MEPs, 3% of all MEPs, who have come up with an idea. They put it out and urge people to support it without any form of analysis of the implications and then if / when they get their 1 million signatures will present it to the Commission and demand action. How does anyone register the fact that this is in their view a foolish idea that should be taken no further ? Or did the bureaucrats who designed the ECI system forget to build in any balance into the mechanism ?

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