Re: EUR, eu, ECC, ECE

From: joost (
Date: Wed Jan 02 2002 - 16:07:50 MST

At 18:38 2/01/2002 +0000, you wrote:
>what is the real argument for the purpose and design of the european union?
>is it some sort of "european consolidation procedure for a continent not
>as expansive" or was it designed by some ARPA-oid organization in the
>united states to induce artifical economic competition between the two
>'primary' continents seeking to benefit the USA by using Europe as some
>sort of "accelerator"?

I'm cheering today. It's very convienient that when you drive 50 km you can
still pay with the same currency. There are days when i travel i have to
bring four wallets, and pay and receive in four different currencies, while
speaking three or four languages, at least i can leave three wallets home now.

In the cold war it was a common ennemy that forced the western european
countries to come together and cooperate. I think that was initially
replaced by a hope for stability and prosperity, but maybe there's also the
aspect of ongoing european integration, which has simply made it more
desireable for the europeans themselves. There are a lot of arguments for
or against a european union. To me personally, most of the current european
nation states are barely justifyable to begin with, most relying on medeval
territorial claims of their hereditary monarchs, or a supposed nation-state
idea, where the subjects are supposed to be "one people" based on common
language, religion, culture. Reality is far from it, most of the countries
historically have people within their borders that consider themselves part
of the people of a neighbouring country, or a people on their own. A lot of
countries have strong religious, language or cultural divide lines running
straight through the middle (like belgium for instance, but in the
netherlands there exists a similar north-south historical and cultural
divide), and last but not least a lot of countries have people outside
their borders (or entire countries) they feel historically or culturally
related to.

I think tourism, travel and business between these countries have made
people realize they're not that much different from eachother, or at least
not much more than from others, their nation state currently considers
their country-men. Many of the countries share a common history, were once
parts of eachother, or once considered to be the same people. Borders have
changed throughout european history, the last time on large scale only a
little more than half a century ago. A lot of europeans also have ancestors
and relatives from and in other european countries.

I can use myself as an example;

I was born in Zealand Flanders, Netherlands. Around 1800 it would be
Flandria, France, then Netherlands again, France, Spain, then Holy Roman
Empire of Germany, etc. I know i have Dutch, Flemish, Walloon, French, and
Swiss ancestors, and probably a lot more.

I have 2 brothers, 1 sister, 1 stepbrother and 4 stepsisters, all born in
the same area. One brother lives in Spain, and has a wife and son who speak
Spanish, my stepbrother and me live in Belgium, my stepbrothers girlfriend
is German. My other brothers girlfriend is Belgian (Flemish). My sister and
stepsisters all live in the north of the Neterlands, and most have Dutch
husbands. My fathers new lady friend is also German. I have worked for
Dutch, Belgian, German and French employers, My mother has worked for a
German company most of her life, my stepbrother also works for a German

Maybe this can give you an idea how much europe has integrated already. I'm
sure not every european has this kind of experience with the other
countries, but it has become more normal than an exception. And i'm quite
sure there were other periods in history (before nationalism, the nation
state, and mercantilism) when the european borders were more open than they
were say 20-30 years ago, both for trade and migration.

Most of the objections that there could be against a large european "united
states"-type state, can also be translated to the current nation states,
what were the arguments for them ?, how do they justify the power and the
borders ? I see a european state as something negative (much too large and
powerful), but in many ways more positive than the current nation states.
Because the transition of power away from the national governements goes in
both directions, to the new european governement, but to an extent also to
regional governements. I hope a bigger state will also mean more privacy to
its citizens, and maybe a more efficient regional organization and
infrastructure, based more on language and geographical barriers, And last
but not least there's the convenience

I don't see much resistance against the european union (coming from within
europe) from viewpoints other than nationalism or social & economic
protectionism, and those political ideas i don't agree with. From a
libertarian point of view i don't see how a political union that in many
countries got voted on by referenda, can be a move down from states formed
by nobles hereditary territorial claims, religion or by nationalist beliefs
which were maybe never justifyable to begin with. I do see how a social &
economically protectionist european union is harmful to free trade outside
that union, but i don't have objections against a further political union
of the memberstates, that i don't have against those memberstates


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