13
   

Will the European Union Survive?

 
 
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Sat 22 May, 2010 05:05 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
Quote:
The major problem is that we got from one day to the other 17 million new citizen who paid nothing, not a pfennig or a cent in our system, but got out of it the very same as if they had paid
thanks for pointing out another piece of why I argue that the Germans are getting to enough is enough. I suspect that the former east Germans are much like the former mexicans, who once they get to American and get citizenship normally are interested in America preventing the rest of the hoard from coming across, because they want to protect their new found riches. I think that all Germans will look at the money they are counting on for retirement being handed over to other European nations and say "screw this".

I have seen no one who has been able to argue against the claim that Germany is going to need to support Europe off of their accounts for decades to come if the EU is going to make it. I lived in Germany during reunification, and based upon what Germans told me about their feelings of spending so much money on that I think there is no way in hell Germans are going to agree to what the German Political leaders are going to have to ask from them.
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  1  
Sat 22 May, 2010 05:16 pm
@Setanta,
Quote:
The French threw us out because of national conceit


When it comes to national conceit, there is no one, no one that even comes anywhere close to the USA.
0 Replies
 
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Sat 22 May, 2010 05:31 pm
Timely:
Crisis Imperils Liberal Benefits Long Expected by Europeans
By STEVEN ERLANGER
Published: May 22, 2010
Quote:
.

According to the European Commission, by 2050 the percentage of Europeans older than 65 will nearly double. In the 1950s there were seven workers for every retiree in advanced economies. By 2050, the ratio in the European Union will drop to 1.3 to 1.

“The easy days are over for countries like Greece, Portugal and Spain, but for us, too,” said Laurent Cohen-Tanugi, a French lawyer who did a study of Europe in the global economy for the French government. “A lot of Europeans would not like the issue cast in these terms, but that is the storm we’re facing. We can no longer afford the old social model, and there is a real need for structural reform.”
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/23/world/europe/23europe.html?hp
0 Replies
 
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Wed 26 May, 2010 10:28 pm
I have been arguing that the Germans are getting to "enough is enough". As usual there is a lot of truth to what I say..

Quote:
Now, at the worst possible moment, Germany is turning to nationalist illusions. Europe’s past economic successes are now viewed as German successes. Europe’s current deep problems are everyone else’s except Germany’s. That is neither realistic nor sustainable. But German politicians and commentators are callously and self-destructively feeding these ideas.

Earlier this year, when Germany was still refusing to participate in a bailout, the country’s largest newspaper by circulation, Bild, suggested Greece should sell the Acropolis to pay off its bond market creditors. (It estimated the monument could bring in $140 billion.) A senior member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party suggested auctioning off some of Greece’s Aegean islands. Meanwhile, a Bild poll showed a majority of Germans in favor of expelling Greece from the euro.
.
.
.
Instead of committing to more spending, Germany is now preparing a multiyear program of deep spending cuts. Given its troubled history, we can understand its fear of deficit spending and inflation. But right now more German austerity will likely cripple Europe’s nascent recovery and Germany’s own prosperity. That is another hard truth that Mrs. Merkel needs to tell her party and her country.
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/27/opinion/27thu1.html?hp

What the Editorial writers of the NYT's get wrong is that Germany is strong enough to go it alone, they can and maybe should pull the plug on the EU out of self interest. What everyone needs to get though their fat skulls is that the EU does not continue to live if it is not good for Germany for it to live, like a most marriages this relationship between Germany and the rest of Europe is conditional.
Francis
 
  1  
Thu 27 May, 2010 12:33 am
HE wrote:
As usual there is a lot of truth to what I say..

By inference, the rest is BS...

0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  1  
Thu 27 May, 2010 10:32 am
@hawkeye10,
That there are political frictions among the major EU powers concerning the efforts required to support the Euro, save the large French, German (and other) banks exposed to Greek debt; and their common interests in preserving their union, is hardly surprising. This aspect of the problem is simply the normal democratic process, and I don't believe it illustrates any weakness or danger to them or anyone. In short I believe Hawkeye's concerns miss the key issue and aren't of much lasting importance.

Instead, I am concerned that objectively the European nations will be unable to both preserve their social welfare systems (the European model they tout so much) and save the Euro, given the realities of their public debt, relative lack of economic growth in an increasingly competitive economic world, and increasingly unfavorable demographic situations. This is the key underlying issue. The political dialogue has not yet addressed this fundamental issue - that will probably come later after after the current debate is resolved and the remaining, underlying problems confront them.

A social/economic system that worked wonderfully well during the economic boom of 1950 - 1990, propelled in part by the large generation born after WWII and the early benefits of European economic union, no longer functions as it once did, now with sclerotic, over-regulated labor markets, chronic high unemployment among the young, accumulating public debt, and the shrinking and ageing populations resulting from profoundly changed demographics, particularly among the central and southern European nations.
Setanta
 
  1  
Thu 27 May, 2010 10:46 am
@georgeob1,
Nothing which "Hawkeye" writes is ever worth wasting much time on. He's a doom and gloom clown, our resident Chicken Little.

georgeob1 wrote:
A social/economic system that worked wonderfully well during the economic boom of 1950 - 1990, propelled in part by the large generation born after WWII and the early benefits of European economic union, no longer functions as it once did, now with sclerotic, over-regulated labor markets, chronic high unemployment among the young, accumulating public debt, and the shrinking and ageing populations resulting from profoundly changed demographics, particularly among the central and southern European nations.


You point here to something which i don't think gets examined much. As the generation of the baby boom ages and retires, social program costs increase, and increase dramatically. In the United States, this should not have been a problem if the Congress had not been looting the Social Security Trust Fund almost from the outset.

But what happens to two digit unemployment when more people retire than newly enter the work force? Would Europe not rather have Eastern European migrants filling jobs the local population finds less attractive than to have them filled by economic refugees from Africa or from the Muslim world? Is it not reasonable to assume that the retirement of, and eventual die-off of the baby boom generation will solve more problems than it creates?
Setanta
 
  1  
Thu 27 May, 2010 10:55 am
@hawkeye10,
hawkeye10 wrote:
Quote:
The European Union reminds me the United States before 1787, when it was a clumsy, limping, ineffectively governed "nation" of bickering states
the flaw in your thinking is

1) we did not have states that had a long history of being successful states on there own

who also

2) know that they are big enough and strong enough that they don't need the US to continue to exist in order for their state to survive


You really are profoundly ignorant of history, even of the history of the United States. What do you think was going on during the English civil wars? Do you even know anything about the civil wars in England? Do you know when they took place? Do you know how many there were, and why they were fought? Do you know what their immediate effect on the North American colonies was? Do you know what profound influence their origin had on the American polity? Do you know, especially, how those civil wars affected the amendment to the constitution undertaken by the First Congress?

Are you aware of King William's War, Queen Anne's War and King George's War, and how the North American colonists responded to them?

I doubt that you have a cogent answer to any of these questions. I suspect that you don't know a goddamned thing about the history of the North American colonies prior to our revolution. Otherwise, you wouldn't have made such stupid remarks.
Francis
 
  1  
Thu 27 May, 2010 11:22 am
George wrote:
I am concerned that objectively the European nations will be unable to both preserve their social welfare systems


George, you have this extraordinary gift to make me laugh, even with simple words.

This time it is objectively..
georgeob1
 
  1  
Thu 27 May, 2010 11:27 am
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

But what happens to two digit unemployment when more people retire than newly enter the work force? Would Europe not rather have Eastern European migrants filling jobs the local population finds less attractive than to have them filled by economic refugees from Africa or from the Muslim world? Is it not reasonable to assume that the retirement of, and eventual die-off of the baby boom generation will solve more problems than it creates?


That, or something like it has been the argument of those asserting the European model can continue. I have two reservations about it; (1) It isn't happening. Indeed the young 20+ year olds who presumably should be among the first beneficiaries of this transition continue to endure unusually high levels of unemployment. Moreover many who are employed serve under temporary labor contracts which don't provide the social protections of other. "normal" workers. (2) The reason it isn't happening appears to be a structural consequence of a rigid, highly regulated labor market which reduces the rewards for investment in domestic jobs-producing industries, and the combined effect of social/economic policies which have significantly reduced economic growth in the EU (relative to similar economies) for the past decade or more. Thus a combination of direct and second order effects appears to have confounded the good effects that might otherwise have occurred.

Even if this aspect of things were working well, the problems of low economic growth, growing segment of the population supported by government pensions and a shrinking segment still in the workforce will eventually doom the social welfare model.
georgeob1
 
  1  
Thu 27 May, 2010 11:29 am
@Francis,
Well this time Frnacis you are incorrect. I used "objectively" precisely to emphasize my belief that Europe cannot do it, even though many among them (yourself apparently included) continue to believe that they can.

Pedantry is not your best quality.
0 Replies
 
Francis
 
  1  
Thu 27 May, 2010 11:33 am
Setanta, replying to Hawkeye wrote:
You really are profoundly ignorant of history, even of the history of the United States. What do you think was going on during the English civil wars? Do you even know anything about the civil wars in England? Do you know when they took place? Do you know how many there were, and why they were fought? Do you know what their immediate effect on the North American colonies was? Do you know what profound influence their origin had on the American polity? Do you know, especially, how those civil wars affected the amendment to the constitution undertaken by the First Congress?

Are you aware of King William's War, Queen Anne's War and King George's War, and how the North American colonists responded to them?

I doubt that you have a cogent answer to any of these questions. I suspect that you don't know a goddamned thing about the history of the North American colonies prior to our revolution. Otherwise, you wouldn't have made such stupid remarks.

I cannot see why you are wasting your typing skills in a so little rewarding task..
georgeob1
 
  1  
Thu 27 May, 2010 11:48 am
@Francis,
Francis wrote:

I cannot see why you are wasting your typing skills in a so little rewarding task..


The same could be said about your post, Francis.
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Thu 27 May, 2010 12:06 pm
@Setanta,
Quote:
I doubt that you have a cogent answer to any of these questions. I suspect that you don't know a goddamned thing about the history of the North American colonies prior to our revolution. Otherwise, you wouldn't have made such stupid remarks.
saying nothing other than the speaker is an idiot is not in any way a response to the ideas presented. Your post is a long winded dodge.
Francis
 
  1  
Thu 27 May, 2010 12:07 pm
@georgeob1,
The difference is that I don't take myself seriously..
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Thu 27 May, 2010 12:30 pm
Quote:
Published: May 21 2010 02:54 | Last updated: May 21 2010 02:54

European Union member states must come to grips with a more assertive Germany, the country’s interior minister said, serving notice that the hard stance displayed by Berlin in the Greek debt crisis was likely to remain a lasting feature of its European relations.

Thomas De Maizière acknowledged a new mentality in Germany, and said the country would increasingly seek to defend its own interest in the EU while shedding its long-time role as a passive paymaster for the European project.

"For our European friends, they need to come to terms with the fact that Germany is going to act just as other European countries do in Brussels and this will not make it automatically anti-European,” said Mr De Maizière, acknowledging that Germany was now defending “its national interest with a lot of vigour” " just as France, the UK, Italy and other member states had done.

Mr De Maizière, who enjoys close ties to Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, was seeking to explain a fundamental shift in Germany’s approach to Europe that has burst into view in the messy wrangling over the Greek rescue package.

Berlin’s reluctance to open its cheque book and quickly come to the rescue has frustrated and surprised many of its European partners, who blame Ms Merkel for allowing the crisis to spread and ultimately driving up the price of a €750bn ($940bn) rescue package.

Many were fuming again on Wednesday, after Germany imposed a ban on naked short selling without consulting other member states.

Mr De Maizière emphasised that Germany was still committed to Europe, but pointed to a “change in mentality” in national politics that was only just taking root 20 years after the country’s reunification. Specifically, he envisioned Germany playing a more influential political role in Europe and the world to match its economic dynamism.

“We can’t continue to do business as usual. We have to assume international responsibility,” he said, adding: “The biggest net-payer in Europe has to formulate its interests in Europe.”
The Germans seem to be saying pretty much the same thing that I have been speculating about...
0 Replies
 
talk72000
 
  1  
Thu 27 May, 2010 12:31 pm
My two cents bit is that as a political unit such as a United States of Europe will be very difficult as most ofthe nations would fight tooth and nail to remain nations unlike the USA with people who were of British stock in general and those who came after decided to give up their nationalities to start anew as Americans. Only Germany and France and few nations that were originally part of Charlemagne's Empire would most feel comfortable enough to form a united Europe.
0 Replies
 
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Thu 27 May, 2010 12:34 pm
@Francis,
Quote:
The difference is that I don't take myself seriously..
I take ideas seriously, not imaginary people, not myself. I enjoy jousting in the arena of ideas, if you think that you have better ideas than I do then feel free to show up.
Francis
 
  1  
Thu 27 May, 2010 01:34 pm
@hawkeye10,
Problem is, I cannot take your ideas seriously..
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Thu 27 May, 2010 01:46 pm
@georgeob1,
georgeob1 wrote:

Instead, I am concerned that objectively the European nations will be unable to both preserve their social welfare systems (the European model they tout so much) ...


Just out of pure curiosity: what do you call "the European model" of welfare systems?

I am aware that the German conservatives created after WWII the so-called 'Wohlfahrtsstaat' ("welfare state"), which was a development of the social insurances here introduced under Bismarck.

Our constitution (basic law/Grundgesetz) says:

Quote:
Article 20 [Basic institutional principles; defense of the constitutional order]

(1) The Federal Republic of Germany is a democratic and social federal state.


Quote:
Article 28 [Federal guarantee of state constitutions and of local self-government]

(1) The constitutional order in the states must conform to the principles of a republican, democratic, and social state governed by the rule of law, within the meaning of this Basic Law.


I doubt that we'll change our constitution just because of some temporarily economic issues.



I'm not sure about how this is handled in other European countries.
 

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