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EU believes it is witnessing a new UK ascendancy


Blackleaf

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October 15, 2004

How Britain rose from its sickbed and became the envy of Europe

From Charles Bremner in Paris

The European Union believes it is witnessing a new British ascendancy

IN BERLIN, a thousand German music fans wave Union Jacks to a relayed broadcast of the Proms and Rule Britannia. In the Czech Republic, Tesco becomes a household name. In Paris, officials lament the British takeover of the European Union.

These are among many images that illustrate what much of the Continent sees as a new British ascendancy in Europe. Twenty years from the Thatcher revolution and a decade since the peak of Franco-German power, the former sick man of Europe has recovered to set the pace in a union that little resembles the version that reigns in the media and pub conversation of Albion.

In the view of much of Europe, Britain’s longstanding sense of inferiority, its perception of battling to defend beleaguered interests against a French-driven machine, has blinded it to a new reality: the British social model, business methods, diplomacy, economic affluence and cultural power are paramount in the new union of 25 members.

Less loved than admired, often grudgingly, Britain has perhaps not exerted so much all-round influence since the Edwardian age a century ago.

“The British model is very largely dominant in Europe,” says Nicolas Baverez, author of Falling France, one of a stream of books on French decline. “The French like to think that they are still the masters of Europe when they are no longer. The British refuse to believe that they are the new masters of Europe because they hate Europe so much.”

Britain’s lack of self-confidence often masks the country’s success as the pioneer of a looser, de-regulated, globalising, market-driven union. While Britons were anguishing this summer about giving up sovereignty under the new EU Constitution, much of “old Europe” was marvelling at London’s triumph.

Italy’s La Stampa newspapersaid: “Blair’s United Kingdom has been and still is the lion . . . and it alone has won the bout.”

Germany’s Handelsblatt said: “The British have fought excellently and achieved what they wanted . . . the remaining member states, including Germany, have realised that and have long since accepted London’s diktat.”

The new image of the British as fiendishly efficient negotiators, diplomats and businessmen is especially prevalent in France and certainly excessive. “It is almost embarrassing,” says one British envoy. “The French think that we have colonised Brussels, just taken it over, which is nonsense of course.”

The sense of British renaissance should not be exaggerated. The old Franco-German core that created and drove four decades of postwar integration is still active. Tony Blair’s Britain may enjoy the highest per capita income and lowest unemployment among the big states, but is still seen in some of old Europe as a rough-and-ready place of social inequality and crumbling infrastructure.

Mr Blair’s alliance with President Bush over Iraq has also damaged Britain in the eyes of much of the Continent. The British Prime Minister is still seen across the EU as the most dynamic national leader, but no longer as the hero that he was in the late 1990s.

In many places, drunken tourists and football hooligans shape the local view of Britons as much as those universal icons Harry Potter, Robbie Williams, David Beckham and James Bond. It could also be argued that French football players, Mediterranean cuisine, and the arrival of European companies have brought the Continent to Britain rather than the reverse.

But there is no dispute that Britain has achieved pre-eminence, thanks to a confluence of factors, including luck, talent and timing. Membership of the American-led “Anglo-Saxon family” has fuelled Britain’s economic and cultural penetration. The English language, which has eclipsed French as Europe’s lingua franca, is the main vector.

More than 40 per cent of Europeans claim to speak English as a first or second language, more than French, German, Italian and Spanish combined. Over the past decade, English has come to dominate work at the European Commission, long a French bastion.

Big companies such as Thales, the French-based defence and electronics firm, Germany’s Siemens and EADS, the Franco-German-led aerospace giant, have adopted English as their corporate languages. The Paris Education Ministry decided this week to impose “international English” as one of the five essentials in a new back-to-basics syllabus.

Since the collapse of communism, the “Anglo-Saxon” view of economic management, with the accent on competition and low taxes, has set the European agenda while the old regulated economies have struggled to shed the burden of the welfare state.

“The model that took the EU through the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s is now failing the people of Europe,” Digby Jones, the CBI’s Director-Gerneral, said recently. “It is not British arrogance or Little Englander to say this. Britain has taken some very hard decisions over the past 25 years . . . these policies have delivered the most successful economy in Europe.”

The long-reviled NHS is attracting interest in France, Germany and the Netherlands, where more lavish systems are threatened with bankruptcy. German and French doctors are even migrating to work for the NHS, where pay is better.

London has prospered as the EU’s business capital. Britain has become the top destination for European investors. The UK is now the favourite for investment in research, development, software, electronics, pharmaceuticals and financial services. “London is the place to be. There is a buzz like nowhere else,” a senior manager in a Spanish multinational said.

The opulence of South East England, where salaries are the highest in any European region, is striking to visitors, who are amazed by the luxury cars and prices. On the Continent, British homebuying is pushing the poorer natives out of the market in some regions. Thanks in part to British budget airlines, Britain now has the EU record for foreign holiday homes.

Britain’s open, pragmatic approach to business is influential from Scandinavia to Portugal. In Germany, Anglo business values have lately driven out postwar thinking about the social market economy. Senior German executives ended up on trial last year over “fat cat” payoffs derived in the take-over of Mannesman by Britain’s Vodafone. The case collapsed this year, implicitly enshrining the more naked style of British capitalism in Germany.

Praising the British model, Rainer Bonhorst, an influential German commentator said: “Britain today has the most flexible and effective job agencies in Europe. This would have been unthinkable 20 years ago when the UK was the European model of stagnation and decline.” Thomas Kuehr, of T-Ventures, a pioneer of the private equity market in Germany, said: “Britain is way ahead of the field in Europe in creating a mature private equity market. The example of Britain shows that one can be toppled from the pedestal and yet climb out of a depression again. Our task is to learn the English lessons without experiencing the English decline.”

While big British firms now own local brand names in the EU or have made themselves household names, such as Tesco in Poland and the Czech Republic, less visible successes are the entrepreneurs who have moved in to local business. John Sutcliffe, who developed Felixstowe port, is rebuilding the Polish port of Gdansk. Richard Hardman, who made his name prospecting North Sea gas, has five drilling prospects in Poland.

Miles Graham, who has just taken over Body Basics, Central Europe’s leading cosmetics retailer, in Prague, says: “There is undoubtedly a perception in the Czech market that the Brits do business differently from other Europeans and I am proud of that. The Brits are seen as being reassuringly straight and open.”

Britain’s success in the grittier game of EU politics springs from a native tradition. Despite its self-imposed exile from core policies such as monetary union and the Schengen border-free zone, Britain has used its skills as an old-world power to forge its dominant place in Brussels. Mr Blair’s tactics won the appointment as new Commission President of José Manuel Durão Barroso, the pro-Atlantic former Portuguese Prime Minister. Paris was aghast when he appointed free-market liberals in the Anglo-Saxon mode to the most powerful commission seats, including Peter Mandelson at Trade. “The British do not just have their hands on the official levers, they make all the running in the lobbying and lawyering in Brussels,” a French diplomat said.

With the tide running in Britain’s favour, it has become fashionable to forecast the end of the present union. After the British reject the constitution, the argument goes, France and Germany will relaunch a federalist, euro-zone club around the old community core, leaving the British to lead the rest in an “Atlantic arc” trade zone.

However, this vision is already out of date because it would lock the slower-growing, slow-reforming economies inside a ring of high-performing, modernising nations.

François Bayrou, leader of the UDF, the pro-European centrist party in President Chirac’s coalition, says: “The EU cannot survive without Britain, which is much admired everywhere. It must find a way of keeping Britain inside and not resort to trying to relaunch a core of federal- minded states.”

(Additional reporting by Adam LeBor in Prague, Kamil Tchorek in Warsaw, Roger Boyes in Berlin, Anthony Browne in Brussels, David Sharrock in Madrid and Richard Owen in Rome)

www.timesonline.co.uk

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This is a very interesting article blackleaf, thanks for sharing. original.gif

With all this praise for the UK economy, you have to question why anyone would want to take us further in to Europe, when we are prospering exactly how we are.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. thumbsup.gif

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With all this praise for the UK economy, you have to question why anyone would want to take us further in to Europe, when we are prospering exactly how we are.

Probably because if you look at the history books, not country's golden age lasts forever. Intergration rather segregation is the future. Deal with it people, its happening whether you like it for not. Europhobes might keep us appart for a few extra years, but in the end a united Europe is going to happen whether its 25 years or 50 years down the line.

If the UK is going to have any influence over this new Europe it is best to be there at the start, rather being the tagalong as our government's seem to insist on making us.

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You have to be careful when talking about integration, whether you mean political or economic integration. As the article for the most part talks about the UK business environment compared to the rest of Europe, I will assume we’re talking about economic integration, and not the implications of the transfer of political power to Europe.

I would hope that it's the sound Economics rather than the Europhobes that will keep us from integrating further into Europe. While I fear that we will integrate further at some point in the future, at this moment in time, with the economic environment as it is, it can only be detrimental for the UK to go into a monetary union with Europe.

the British social model, business methods, diplomacy, economic affluence and cultural power are paramount in the new union of 25 members.

The article implies that we are indeed already very influential in Europe. We seem to be a niche in the European market, and I don’t see why we should not exploit that to our benefit.

You make a valid point that we would wield more influence if we were to be in from the start, yet the UK has never been in from the start with anything concerning the EU. We were a late addition to the Union and so had to adapt to the already existing consensus among the member states. We are to a large extent an awkward partner in the EU. But because of our unique situation I don’t see why any further integration is necessary.

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You have to be careful when talking about integration, whether you mean political or economic integration. As the article for the most part talks about the UK business environment compared to the rest of Europe, I will assume we’re talking about economic integration, and not the implications of the transfer of political power to Europe.

Doesn't matter. The article has no baring on what level of intergration will exist in 80 years, or how our economy will be in 80 years.

I would hope that it's the sound Economics rather than the Europhobes that will keep us from integrating further into Europe. While I fear that we will integrate further at some point in the future, at this moment in time, with the economic environment as it is, it can only be detrimental for the UK to go into a monetary union with Europe.

Considering that most European states are more pro-worker's rights and welfare orinentated than the UK, I beleive mainland Europe could actually solve most of this countries capitalist problems.

The article implies that we are indeed already very influential in Europe.

For now. However, this constant doging around action within Europe will mean we fall further and further benhind. As Europe intergrates it will be the funding members who decide its politics, not the UK which will sit on the sidelines, and when we do enter (although it better be as seperate nations by then) we'll be entering an organisation which may look very different to what we would have wanted had we formed it.

You make a valid point that we would wield more influence if we were to be in from the start, yet the UK has never been in from the start with anything concerning the EU. We were a late addition to the Union and so had to adapt to the already existing consensus among the member states. We are to a large extent an awkward partner in the EU.

I know, and I'm arguing we should get of our backsides and do something about that

But because of our unique situation I don’t see why any further integration is necessary.

I really don't get this arguement a lot of people have that we are somehow 'unique' or seperate from Europe. We're European, they're European. Whats so unique or special about us?

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Now I know why people think I am wealthy. Far from it; as a disabled person I am marginally from the bread line and depend on benefits to survive. I know people, who are homeless, or facing homelessness without benefit.

At least, Britain the home of my birth is small, but strong. However, there are many that would argue that they are being left out of the system.

Mind you, poverty is in every nation the world over, but having been homeless in my life; my heart goes out to them experiencing it now. If only governments would do more to help the poor.

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Now I know why people think I am wealthy. Far from it; as a disabled person I am marginally from the bread line and depend on benefits to survive. I know people, who are homeless, or facing homelessness without benefit.

At least, Britain the home of my birth is small, but strong. However, there are many that would argue that they are being left out of the system.

Mind you, poverty is in every nation the world over, but having been homeless in my life; my heart goes out to them experiencing it now. If only governments would do more to help the poor.

588966[/snapback]

You some times have to ask your self if Governments need poor people

Not just this Gov but the ones before aswell have had plenty of oppertunities to help the poor in this country to start with before helping others in other countries and have not done much to address it

We hear about the billions been given to third world countries, but surley if we have that much money sitting burning a hole in Browns pocket he could shell out a little more on our own poor and pensioners,justa thought

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The article has no baring on what level of intergration will exist in 80 years, or how our economy will be in 80 years.

How can we begin to speculate what integration will be like in 80 years? I’m only concerned with how things are now and will be in the foreseeable future.

I would hope that it's the sound Economics rather than the Europhobes that will keep us from integrating further into Europe. While I fear that we will integrate further at some point in the future, at this moment in time, with the economic environment as it is, it can only be detrimental for the UK to go into a monetary union with Europe.

Considering that most European states are more pro-worker's rights and welfare orinentated than the UK, I beleive mainland Europe could actually solve most of this countries capitalist problems.

How will these be solved if we join a monetary union with Europe? blink.gif

Concerning welfare policies, we signed the social charter back in 97, which led to social policies such as the minimum wage, improvements to living and working conditions etc. I don’t think anyone will argue that these are fundamental social rights, which help deliver ‘capitalism with a conscience’, however I don’t think we should be willing to tie ourselves down with too much emphasis on social policy.

In any case, greater workers rights will only hold us back by making our labour markets more rigid and less efficient, with rising costs and less flexibility to hire and fire workers. Compare the EU to the US, where the labour markets are very flexible due to the freedom the firms have with regards to workers contracts. While the US is an extreme example, the UK is a compromise between the laissez-faire US and the more rigid and socialist EU.

The article says that it is in fact the EU looking towards Britain to help with their socialist problems rather than the other way around.

“Since the collapse of communism, the “Anglo-Saxon” view of economic management, with the accent on competition and low taxes, has set the European agenda while the old regulated economies have struggled to shed the burden of the welfare state.”

In Germany, Anglo business values have lately driven out postwar thinking about the social market economy.

Also look at how our European partners are fairing with their more ‘welfare oriented’ policies. Germany and France have the greatest number of unemployed in the old EU 15, bordering nearly 10%! They are crippled by the rigidity of their Labour markets, and that’s why they are looking at Britain to find out where they can learn from us. We have extremely socialist policies as it is in certain areas like the NHS and Education, and like the article says, it is these areas that the focus of mainland Europe is now on.

The long-reviled NHS is attracting interest in France, Germany and the Netherlands, where more lavish systems are threatened with bankruptcy. German and French doctors are even migrating to work for the NHS, where pay is better

“The model that took the EU through the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s is now failing the people of Europe”

All these references from the article claim that the social policy advocated by mainland Europe clearly isn’t working.

You only have to look at the social policy concerning agriculture in the EU to see the fundamental flaw in its policy; that 40% of the EU budget (of about 100 billion euros) is spent on a sector that only contributes 4% of the EU GDP! This money is wasted by subsidising inefficient farmers who should in a competitive market be forced out, and of course as a result they have no incentive to make themselves more productive or efficient. It is these protectionist policies that make the EU a huge bureaucratic system that needs drastic reforming, and until they sort themselves out why should we be willing to jump on this sinking ship? hmm.gif

The article implies that we are indeed already very influential in Europe.

For now. However, this constant doging around action within Europe will mean we fall further and further benhind. As Europe intergrates it will be the funding members who decide its politics, not the UK which will sit on the sidelines, and when we do enter (although it better be as seperate nations by then) we'll be entering an organisation which may look very different to what we would have wanted had we formed it.

This is what Europhiles have been arguing ever since we joined; that we should be willing to sacrifice our sovereign powers in order to be more influential in Europe and take it in a direction we want to go in. However this article also addresses this, saying that

Despite its self-imposed exile from core policies such as monetary union and the Schengen border-free zone, Britain has used its skills as an old-world power to forge its dominant place in Brussels

We are taking Europe in the direction we want already. Of course there are mutual benefits that can be gained from Europe, however we are already reaping them. Why do we need greater European policy harmonisation when domestic policies will be more relevant and practical anyways?

You make a valid point that we would wield more influence if we were to be in from the start, yet the UK has never been in from the start with anything concerning the EU. We were a late addition to the Union and so had to adapt to the already existing consensus among the member states. We are to a large extent an awkward partner in the EU.

I know, and I'm arguing we should get of our backsides and do something about that

Why do we need to change to appease the rest of Europe? We are well above the EU average in all areas of macroeconomic indicators, (not as much in terms of real GDP growth however due to the 10 new countries experiencing high levels of investment at the moment) and so we have no need to change for them.

But because of our unique situation I don’t see why any further integration is necessary.

I really don't get this arguement a lot of people have that we are somehow 'unique' or seperate from Europe. We're European, they're European. Whats so unique or special about us?

I think there are several factors that make us unique from continental Europe. Most notably from an economic point of view is the business cycle asymmetry between the UK and the other European Countries, in particular Germany.

Take the UK dropping out of the ERM in 1992 for example. Although the ERM was meant to be a fair system to all participating countries, it most suited Germany’s economy. Other countries observed this and decided to tie their exchange rates directly with the Bundesbank. This resulted in Germany making domestic economic decisions that were felt throughout Europe. In 1991, after the reunification of Germany huge investment was thrown in to Germany resulting in inflationary pressures. Germany therefore wanted to increase the interest rate to decrease these pressures. However the other countries including the UK who had to previously keep their inflation levels low in order to join the ERM were now facing recession and therefore wanted to lower the interest rate. It came to a head when we had no choice but to lower our interest rates and leave the system. Of course almost immediately we started to recover into the healthy economy we have now.

The UK is particularly more sensitive to interest rate fluctuations due to the strength and reliance of our housing market. Euroland interest rates are currently 2%, whereas the UK’s are now 4.75%, so a move into Europe would be disastrous for us on this front.

As already mentioned our labour markets are structured differently, ours being more dynamic and flexible compared to the EU’s welfare oriented bureaucracy. We are not apart of Euro, therefore have all the economic policy tools at our disposal to help our economy. (fiscal, exchange rate and monetary policy) We also happen to speak the most popular and desirable European language.

There is certainly no need or a matter of urgency for us to integrate with the rest of Europe. With public interest in sections such as the European constitution dwindling suggesting that even the original members are starting to realise that the EU has not turned out to be the model it was once intended to be.

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You have to be careful when talking about integration, whether you mean political or economic integration. As the article for the most part talks about the UK business environment compared to the rest of Europe, I will assume we’re talking about economic integration, and not the implications of the transfer of political power to Europe.

Doesn't matter. The article has no baring on what level of intergration will exist in 80 years, or how our economy will be in 80 years.

I would hope that it's the sound Economics rather than the Europhobes that will keep us from integrating further into Europe. While I fear that we will integrate further at some point in the future, at this moment in time, with the economic environment as it is, it can only be detrimental for the UK to go into a monetary union with Europe.

Considering that most European states are more pro-worker's rights and welfare orinentated than the UK, I beleive mainland Europe could actually solve most of this countries capitalist problems.

The article implies that we are indeed already very influential in Europe.

For now. However, this constant doging around action within Europe will mean we fall further and further benhind. As Europe intergrates it will be the funding members who decide its politics, not the UK which will sit on the sidelines, and when we do enter (although it better be as seperate nations by then) we'll be entering an organisation which may look very different to what we would have wanted had we formed it.

You make a valid point that we would wield more influence if we were to be in from the start, yet the UK has never been in from the start with anything concerning the EU. We were a late addition to the Union and so had to adapt to the already existing consensus among the member states. We are to a large extent an awkward partner in the EU.

I know, and I'm arguing we should get of our backsides and do something about that

But because of our unique situation I don’t see why any further integration is necessary.

I really don't get this arguement a lot of people have that we are somehow 'unique' or seperate from Europe. We're European, they're European. Whats so unique or special about us?

588910[/snapback]

Sorry Talon didnt you say last week that you were Scottish and not British,know you are saying you are European wacko.gif how do you break that down blink.gif

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How can we begin to speculate what integration will be like in 80 years? I’m only concerned with how things are now and will be in the foreseeable future.

We don't. Thats my point, we have no idea what it'll be like in 80 years.

How will these be solved if we join a monetary union with Europe? 

For the reasons I just said. They're more left-wing than us. This is really a ideological issue. I have faith that ultminately the left will truimph and do good.

I don’t think anyone will argue that these are fundamental social rights,

Actually their not just social rights, there a Human Right, all of them are listened in the 2nd Charter of Human Rights on Equality governing economic, social and cultural rights.

In any case, greater workers rights will only hold us back by making our labour markets more rigid and less efficient, with rising costs and less flexibility to hire and fire workers. Compare the EU to the US, where the labour markets are very flexible due to the freedom the firms have with regards to workers contracts. While the US is an extreme example, the UK is a compromise between the laissez-faire US and the more rigid and socialist EU.

I really couldn't give a stuff about the free-market, tongue.gif there's no point in having a strong economy if the population as a whole and not just big buisness are not going to enough it.

“Since the collapse of communism, the “Anglo-Saxon” view of economic management, with the accent on competition and low taxes, has set the European agenda while the old regulated economies have struggled to shed the burden of the welfare state.”

In Germany, Anglo business values have lately driven out postwar thinking about the social market economy.

Britain is not Anglo-Saxon, only England is. England is descented from the German Anglo and Saxon tribes who came in during and after the Roman ethnic cleansing of the celts. The Irish, Welsh, Cornish and Scots are the Celts who survived the Roman occupation.

This is what Europhiles have been arguing ever since we joined; that we should be willing to sacrifice our sovereign powers in order to be more influential in Europe and take it in a direction we want to go in. However this article also addresses this, saying that

Despite its self-imposed exile from core policies such as monetary union and the Schengen border-free zone, Britain has used its skills as an old-world power to forge its dominant place in Brussels

Actually Europhiles refers to people who love Europeans, the UK IS European, thus technacally we can't be Europhiles, although since the word Europhobic is used enouygh times for the anti-Eu camp I guess you could make an argument of it. huh.gif Either way, this its a Europhile only argument, the issue if how much the EU will change if it starts intergrating compared to the UK. The Uk will eventually join a European Superstate, its only a matter of time, the question is do we want to help mold into what we want it to look like, or join something we've had limited influence over.I must admit I used to be sceptical of the EU super-state, but when someone asked me to think of this issue it got me thinking.

Why do we need to change to appease the rest of Europe? We are well above the EU average in all areas of macroeconomic indicators, (not as much in terms of real GDP growth however due to the 10 new countries experiencing high levels of investment at the moment) and so we have no need to change for them.

Who said its to appease Europe? I want it to help ourselves.

There is certainly no need or a matter of urgency for us to integrate with the rest of Europe.

No, there's urgency to advance, but nobody's saying there is. I'm talking 80 years from now, a hundred years. I don't think a year from now, 2 years, I like long term. Thinks change, the UK economy and the EU will too. Personally I'd like the EU to wake up and reintroduce capital punishment, but I'm willing to wait.

With public interest in sections such as the European constitution dwindling suggesting that even the original members are starting to realise that the EU has not turned out to be the model it was once intended to be.

Actually it was intended to be a trading-block, it acheived that and went on to become a political institution, thus is already become more than it was intended to be. Personally it doesn't really matter about the constitution, its trip but not a fall.

Sorry Talon didnt you say last week that you were Scottish and not British,know you are saying you are European  how do you break that down

Yes, Scottish is my national nationality. European is my Continental nationality. Celtic is my racial nationality. Britain/UK is just a political institution I don't care for.

Indeed parallels can be drawn between Edinburgh giving up its power to Westminister, to Edinburgh giving up its power to Brussels. But I see a difference because see myself as European, not British.

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How can we begin to speculate what integration will be like in 80 years? I’m only concerned with how things are now and will be in the foreseeable future.

We don't. Thats my point, we have no idea what it'll be like in 80 years.

How will these be solved if we join a monetary union with Europe? 

For the reasons I just said. They're more left-wing than us. This is really a ideological issue. I have faith that ultminately the left will truimph and do good.

I don’t think anyone will argue that these are fundamental social rights,

Actually their not just social rights, there a Human Right, all of them are listened in the 2nd Charter of Human Rights on Equality governing economic, social and cultural rights.

In any case, greater workers rights will only hold us back by making our labour markets more rigid and less efficient, with rising costs and less flexibility to hire and fire workers. Compare the EU to the US, where the labour markets are very flexible due to the freedom the firms have with regards to workers contracts. While the US is an extreme example, the UK is a compromise between the laissez-faire US and the more rigid and socialist EU.

I really couldn't give a stuff about the free-market, tongue.gif there's no point in having a strong economy if the population as a whole and not just big buisness are not going to enough it.

“Since the collapse of communism, the “Anglo-Saxon” view of economic management, with the accent on competition and low taxes, has set the European agenda while the old regulated economies have struggled to shed the burden of the welfare state.”

In Germany, Anglo business values have lately driven out postwar thinking about the social market economy.

Britain is not Anglo-Saxon, only England is. England is descented from the German Anglo and Saxon tribes who came in during and after the Roman ethnic cleansing of the celts. The Irish, Welsh, Cornish and Scots are the Celts who survived the Roman occupation.

This is what Europhiles have been arguing ever since we joined; that we should be willing to sacrifice our sovereign powers in order to be more influential in Europe and take it in a direction we want to go in. However this article also addresses this, saying that

Despite its self-imposed exile from core policies such as monetary union and the Schengen border-free zone, Britain has used its skills as an old-world power to forge its dominant place in Brussels

Actually Europhiles refers to people who love Europeans, the UK IS European, thus technacally we can't be Europhiles, although since the word Europhobic is used enouygh times for the anti-Eu camp I guess you could make an argument of it. huh.gif Either way, this its a Europhile only argument, the issue if how much the EU will change if it starts intergrating compared to the UK. The Uk will eventually join a European Superstate, its only a matter of time, the question is do we want to help mold into what we want it to look like, or join something we've had limited influence over.I must admit I used to be sceptical of the EU super-state, but when someone asked me to think of this issue it got me thinking.

Why do we need to change to appease the rest of Europe? We are well above the EU average in all areas of macroeconomic indicators, (not as much in terms of real GDP growth however due to the 10 new countries experiencing high levels of investment at the moment) and so we have no need to change for them.

Who said its to appease Europe? I want it to help ourselves.

There is certainly no need or a matter of urgency for us to integrate with the rest of Europe.

No, there's urgency to advance, but nobody's saying there is. I'm talking 80 years from now, a hundred years. I don't think a year from now, 2 years, I like long term. Thinks change, the UK economy and the EU will too. Personally I'd like the EU to wake up and reintroduce capital punishment, but I'm willing to wait.

With public interest in sections such as the European constitution dwindling suggesting that even the original members are starting to realise that the EU has not turned out to be the model it was once intended to be.

Actually it was intended to be a trading-block, it acheived that and went on to become a political institution, thus is already become more than it was intended to be. Personally it doesn't really matter about the constitution, its trip but not a fall.

Sorry Talon didnt you say last week that you were Scottish and not British,know you are saying you are European  how do you break that down

Yes, Scottish is my national nationality. European is my Continental nationality. Celtic is my racial nationality. Britain/UK is just a political institution I don't care for.

Indeed parallels can be drawn between Edinburgh giving up its power to Westminister, to Edinburgh giving up its power to Brussels. But I see a difference because see myself as European, not British.

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Well thats one way of putting it evento the everage joe it would be as easy to say........I am scottish which is part of Britian which is in the continent of Europe ,does that not some where in the middle make you British wacko.gif

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Well thats one way of putting it evento the everage joe it would be as easy to say........I am scottish which is part of Britian which is in the continent of Europe ,does that not some where in the middle make you British 

Only on my passport, nowhere else. Being British is different from being English or Scottish are its a Parlimentary Union created nationality. So its not a matter of you are or are not (like English or Scottish is), its a matter of do you feel like you are or not.

I personaly don't recognise the UK, I'm aware it exists, but I don't recognise it.

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How will these be solved if we join a monetary union with Europe?

For the reasons I just said. They're more left-wing than us. This is really a ideological issue. I have faith that ultminately the left will truimph and do good.

That’s the point, this isn’t an ideological issue, it is purely an economic one. It is not a matter of opinion or ideological stance that we will have to cut interest rates and give up out monetary and exchange rate policy, it is fact. You have not given any reasons why we should join a single monetary union (single currency) with Europe, so I will.

My international business lecturer is very pro-European and Irish. Probably a connection right there! tongue.gif Of course the Irish have prospered no end from joining the Euro. Foreign Direct Investment has shot up with a lot of European investment going into the ‘Celtic Tiger’. However being a business lecturer and not an economic one he seems oblivious to the economic realities that would hit us if we were to join. The fact is that the only plus point of us joining a monetary union is that we too would experience greater European investment, however it would have no way near the same effect as Ireland, mainly due to the corporate tax policies over here. Corporate tax in the UK is 30%. In Ireland it is 12.5%. In Estonia it is 0%! It is a lot more desirable to set up business in these countries with lower corporate tax rates as you obviously get more for you money. The pound also arguably acts as a barrier to trade as transaction costs need to be calculated when doing business with mainland Europe.

I really couldn't give a stuff about the free-market,  there's no point in having a strong economy if the population as a whole and not just big buisness are not going to enough it.

Really, what does that mean? You think that only big business is benefiting from the best economy in Europe? And maybe you should start caring for the free market. As I’ve already said, and it’s been pointed out in the article that the socialist system within in the EU are failing. Socialist style economics is not a stable foundation for sustainable growth. We would only be hindering ourselves through joining.

It is this type of idealistic and wishful thinking that will get us into the mess that is Europe in the first place. People seem to think only of the ideal reasons for us joining without any of the implications we will undoubtedly face that I have mentioned.

Britain is not Anglo-Saxon, only England is. England is descented from the German Anglo and Saxon tribes who came in during and after the Roman ethnic cleansing of the celts. The Irish, Welsh, Cornish and Scots are the Celts who survived the Roman occupation.

Obviously the rest of Europe sees us, the UK as an Anglo Saxon model. Whether they are right or not to do so is not for me to say. In any case it is the English economy that drives the rest of the UK and has the largest influence within the UK. Anyways if you were focusing on this issue of where we are descended from then you have totally missed the point I was making on how the ‘social market economy’ has failed Europe. hmm.gif

Actually Europhiles refers to people who love Europeans, the UK IS European, thus technacally we can't be Europhiles, although since the word Europhobic is used enouygh times for the anti-Eu camp I guess you could make an argument of it.

huh.gif Well I believe the term Europhile has evolved from its literal meaning to mean in a UK context to favour us integrating further into Europe, so that’s why I used it.

The Uk will eventually join a European Superstate, its only a matter of time, the question is do we want to help mold into what we want it to look like, or join something we've had limited influence over.I must admit I used to be sceptical of the EU super-state, but when someone asked me to think of this issue it got me thinking.

I’m not talking about weather or not we will join, as I’m sure we will in the future for all the wrong reasons; I am asking for rational reasons why we should join. To say that we might or might not be more ‘influential’ in Europe if we have a single currency with the rest of Europe really is not a valid point. We won’t be any more influential than we already are.

Why do we need to change to appease the rest of Europe? We are well above the EU average in all areas of macroeconomic indicators, (not as much in terms of real GDP growth however due to the 10 new countries experiencing high levels of investment at the moment) and so we have no need to change for them.

Who said its to appease Europe? I want it to help ourselves.

How will it help us if we are already out-performing the rest of Europe? As it is we are one of only 6 countries in this Union that is a net-contributor. The Union gets a lot more from us in terms of redistributed wealth than we do from them. This won’t change if we further integrate into the Union.

How can we begin to speculate what integration will be like in 80 years? I’m only concerned with how things are now and will be in the foreseeable future.

We don't. Thats my point, we have no idea what it'll be like in 80 years.

No, there's urgency to advance, but nobody's saying there is. I'm talking 80 years from now, a hundred years. I don't think a year from now, 2 years, I like long term. Thinks change, the UK economy and the EU will too. Personally I'd like the EU to wake up and reintroduce capital punishment, but I'm willing to wait.

OK that’s the point I was talking about earlier. There’s no point speculating how the future will look in 80 to 100 years. The global political environment is extremely dynamic and is constantly changing and evolving all the time. No one knows what is in store 10 years from now. We could speculate till the cows come home about what the future might look like. We could be a federal Europe. The UK could become the 51st State of America. Blair could become king of Europe. tongue.gif Anything could happen, but lets try and discuss what we do know, which is how the UK is fairing at the moment and in the foreseeable future, and the likely implications of us going further into Europe.

The only time we should ever consider moving into a monetary union with Europe is if the economic conditions are ever favourable. However for the reasons I outlined before, mainly about having this business cycle asymmetry with Germany, it is hard to see this ever happening.

It is not hard to see why the UK is so Eurosceptic in any case. We were badly affected by the ERM back in 1992, which I’ve already spoken about. I find it strangely ironic how you are so in favour of joining Europe, yet you have seen how disastrous it was in 1992. Based on past experience, have we not learnt anything? How are we in better shape now to join a monetary union with Europe? If anything with a stronger economy we are in worse shape for joining as we are pulling away from the rest of Europe and so we have a more divergent economic cycle.

Actually it was intended to be a trading-block, it acheived that and went on to become a political institution, thus is already become more than it was intended to be. Personally it doesn't really matter about the constitution, its trip but not a fall.

Actually it was the political factors that predominated the creation of the EU. The main drive was to weld the core European countries together in order to avoid future wars and breakouts. Of course the larger market was a natural bi-product of this, however this was not the main reason for the creation of the union. After the benefits were clearing seen of having this European market, the emphasis changed to economic reasons for the Union, within a broadly political framework. The core countries France and Germany however always saw the Union’s economic dimension a means to a political end.

Of course when Thatcher wanted in to the EU she only saw the EU as this huge market and the obvious economic benefits that could be gained from a Free Trade Area. She never wanted any political integration of transfer of political power, which was ultimately at the core of the EU agenda. Over time it has taken on this hugely political dimension, which we have no need for.

mellow.gif

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That’s the point, this isn’t an ideological issue, it is purely an economic one. It is not a matter of opinion or ideological stance that we will have to cut interest rates and give up out monetary and exchange rate policy, it is fact. You have not given any reasons why we should join a single monetary union (single currency) with Europe, so I will.

Actually it is ideological, if you look at all the parties the left tend to favour the EU, with the right don't.

My international business lecturer is very pro-European and Irish.

Whats wrong with the Irish?

Really, what does that mean? You think that only big business is benefiting from the best economy in Europe?

Benifiting? In case it totally missed you, Scotland has some of the worst living Standards in European and the worst health in Europe. If the UK is as strong as your claiming it is, then it sure isn't sharing it out amounst the member states.

And maybe you should start caring for the free market.

No, I will not favour it. The working class fought against the Free market economy for generations to gain the basic benifits we take for granted now. Despite this capitalist wet dream your arguing that the free market economy is wonderful, it isn't and should be treated with the scepticism it deserves.

It is this type of idealistic and wishful thinking that will get us into the mess that is Europe in the first place.

It was wishful thinking by those who fought free-market economy who won us the NHS, health and safety at work, breaks at work, sanitory at work, the mininuim wage, safer working conditions, the right to industrial compensation, the right of job security, the right to pensions, and employer responsibility. It actually sickens me you right the victories they bleed for as 'wishful thinking' so matter of factly.

Obviously the rest of Europe sees us, the UK as an Anglo Saxon model. Whether they are right or not to do so is not for me to say. In any case it is the English economy that drives the rest of the UK and has the largest influence within the UK. Anyways if you were focusing on this issue of where we are descended from then you have totally missed the point I was making on how the ‘social market economy’ has failed Europe. 

English economy run on Scottish oil and Celtic taxes. If you think so little of our contribution why are you clinging on to us so hard.

I’m not talking about weather or not we will join, as I’m sure we will in the future for all the wrong reasons; I am asking for rational reasons why we should join. To say that we might or might not be more ‘influential’ in Europe if we have a single currency with the rest of Europe really is not a valid point. We won’t be any more influential than we already are.

If my arguement is invalid as you claim, yours is equally. as your making just as many assumptions of the future as I am.

How will it help us if we are already out-performing the rest of Europe? As it is we are one of only 6 countries in this Union that is a net-contributor. The Union gets a lot more from us in terms of redistributed wealth than we do from them. This won’t change if we further integrate into the Union.

Again your assuming this will last. Your making judgements about events decades into the future.

OK that’s the point I was talking about earlier. There’s no point speculating how the future will look in 80 to 100 years.

Actually its you who's making the speculations, not me. I'm saying that the economies will be different in 80 years and they will, but I'm not making any other speculations. Your the who insists on taking about the economic relevence today as an impact on the EU tommorrow, as your constantly going on about economy begining stronger and don't need Europe, when for all we know by the end of the year there could be a ressesion and the economy. Therefore by your own argument its you who're making invalid assumptions not me.

We could be a federal Europe. The UK could become the 51st State of America. Blair could become king of Europe.  Anything could happen, but lets try and discuss what we do know, which is how the UK is fairing at the moment and in the foreseeable future, and the likely implications of us going further into Europe.

I don't remember making any such claims that we'd join American, only that its likely that the economoes will be different and Europe will be closer together, maybe even joined with or without the UK. Its you who's assuming our leadin the economy will last forever.

It is not hard to see why the UK is so Eurosceptic in any case

Er wrong. Your being rather narrow minded there and assuming whats true for England is true for everyone else. England is Europsceptic, but most studies show Scotland is pro-Europe.

Actually it was the political factors that predominated the creation of the EU. The main drive was to weld the core European countries together in order to avoid future wars and breakouts. Of course the larger market was a natural bi-product of this, however this was not the main reason for the creation of the union. After the benefits were clearing seen of having this European market, the emphasis changed to economic reasons for the Union, within a broadly political framework. The core countries France and Germany however always saw the Union’s economic dimension a means to a political end.

While anti-war was relevent, you miss out the impact of wars. Europe needed to rebuilt its economy through an intergrated market. Most of the second and third generation members throughout the 1970s and 80s emphasised on this economic basis, not Federal Europe. Ijn some may well have wanted a United states of Europe, but its not neccessarily relevent as it was an economic European Community they set up and ran with.

Of course when Thatcher wanted in to the EU she only saw the EU as this huge market and the obvious economic benefits that could be gained from a Free Trade Area. She never wanted any political integration of transfer of political power, which was ultimately at the core of the EU agenda. Over time it has taken on this hugely political dimension, which we have no need for.

What was the Queen of Darkness have to do with this? Your being too Anglocentric here. The EU was first founded under the name ECSC in 1952 bu France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Belguim. No UK state was in site. The UK didn't even enter until 1973 along with Denmark. Thatcher wouldn't get elected by the English until 1979 (and run the Celts who never voted for her into the ground). Your trying to claim the Queen of Darkness had influence over the EU reasons for founding 5 years before the UK enters it, and 11 years before she was even in power? huh.gif

I'm well aware of what she said, in 1988 wasn't it something like "willing and acgive cooperation between independent soveriegn states is the best way to build a successful European Community"... still doesn't change the your giving her to much credit, the Queen of Darkness didn't have anything to do with the EU. Anyway, that b*tch was a dictator, and all it means if she was opposed to it, we should got for it.

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Firstly I didn’t really want to come across as hard as I did in that last post, I apologise if it sounded like that, I was quite hung over this morning.

That’s the point, this isn’t an ideological issue, it is purely an economic one. It is not a matter of opinion or ideological stance that we will have to cut interest rates and give up out monetary and exchange rate policy, it is fact. You have not given any reasons why we should join a single monetary union (single currency) with Europe, so I will.

Actually it is ideological, if you look at all the parties the left tend to favour the EU, with the right don't.

While you are right about the parties to the left favouring the EU, being more socially oriented, I was referring to how sharing a single currency, a monetary union, would benefit us. I was not talking about implications of social policy and other politics associated with the EU if we were to further integrate. You even quoted my question on how will a monetary union solve the problems of the UK economy, yet you don’t refer to the monetary union at all. hmm.gif You are talking about political union, which as I said from the start is a totally separate area.

My international business lecturer is very pro-European and Irish.

Whats wrong with the Irish?

Absolutely nothing. I didn’t think I implied there was? dontgetit.gif I was only making the connection of him being Irish and pro-European, as they Irish as I said have had a lot of success with EU membership, and so it is no surprise that he is therefore very pro-European. He is in fact the best lecturer I have.

And maybe you should start caring for the free market.

No, I will not favour it. The working class fought against the Free market economy for generations to gain the basic benifits we take for granted now. Despite this capitalist wet dream your arguing that the free market economy is wonderful, it isn't and should be treated with the scepticism it deserves.

All I am saying is that again as the article says, is that the socialist agenda of the EU is failing its member states. On one hand we can stay out of this and carry on how we are. On the other hand, we can join this system of failing policies and inefficiency and be worse off as a result.

While I say we would be worse off, you are probably right that we should perhaps be looking at the UK in terms of separate nations rather than one block. I admit I am speaking from and English perspective, just as you are from a Scottish one. I truly believe that further integration from England’s point of view would definitely be worse off, however I’m sure Scotland like Ireland could benefit from it.

It is this type of idealistic and wishful thinking that will get us into the mess that is Europe in the first place.

It was wishful thinking by those who fought free-market economy who won us the NHS, health and safety at work, breaks at work, sanitory at work, the mininuim wage, safer working conditions, the right to industrial compensation, the right of job security, the right to pensions, and employer responsibility. It actually sickens me you right the victories they bleed for as 'wishful thinking' so matter of factly.

You seem to have taken this well out of context. I was saying how people will only look at what they see as the benefits of joining without looking at what the costs might be. It is idealistic and wishful thinking that this socialist union will only benefit us, without considering the fact that the model is failing Europe. It feels like I’m repeating myself here. hmm.gif

I’m not talking about weather or not we will join, as I’m sure we will in the future for all the wrong reasons; I am asking for rational reasons why we should join. To say that we might or might not be more ‘influential’ in Europe if we have a single currency with the rest of Europe really is not a valid point. We won’t be any more influential than we already are.

If my arguement is invalid as you claim, yours is equally. as your making just as many assumptions of the future as I am.

The reason your argument is invalid is because you are not referring to a monetary union at all, which is what I was talking about in my post that you quoted.

‘To say that we might or might not be more ‘influential’ in Europe if we have a single currency with the rest of Europe really is not a valid point. We won’t be any more influential than we already are’

How will it help us if we are already out-performing the rest of Europe? As it is we are one of only 6 countries in this Union that is a net-contributor. The Union gets a lot more from us in terms of redistributed wealth than we do from them. This won’t change if we further integrate into the Union.

Again your assuming this will last. Your making judgements about events decades into the future.

I’m making judgments using facts. Believe it or not I’m not just making these theories up. huh.gif It is fact that we are outperforming Europe as I mentioned above. It is fact that we are net contributors. Yes I am assuming that our economy won’t self-destruct any time soon, but like I said I’m only concerned with here and now, and decisions if we were to hypothetically make them tomorrow would undoubtedly be based on these facts, no?

The flip side would be to say that you are assuming our role in the global market will change sufficiently so that we will no longer be one of the biggest economies in Europe? I don’t see any reason to assume this. How am I making judgements on events decades in the future? unsure.gif

There’s no point speculating how the future will look in 80 to 100 years.

Actually its you who's making the speculations, not me. I'm saying that the economies will be different in 80 years and they will, but I'm not making any other speculations. Your the who insists on taking about the economic relevence today as an impact on the EU tommorrow, as your constantly going on about economy begining stronger and don't need Europe, when for all we know by the end of the year there could be a ressesion and the economy. Therefore by your own argument its you who're making invalid assumptions not me.

I'm trying to follow your logic here, so please correct if I misinterpret. Are you saying that we should integrate now because the future is uncertain, because as you say economies will be different then, therefore it’s better to be a part of something apparently stable yet disadvantageous to us now then to adapt to the changing economic climate and look after ourselves?

Are you then saying that we shouldn’t be concerned with the ‘economic relevance today as an impact on tomorrow?’ If I can’t make judgements by using today’s economic climate and data then how exactly are we supposed to judge whether or not joining would be good or not? Using your analogy that the time frame doesn’t matter as all economies change, then why did we drop out of the ERM in 1992, if obviously we will probably join at some later date? Because the conditions were wrong at that time! Exactly as they are now. Indeed there could well be a recession on the cards, but do you think if we were in a monetary union with Europe that somehow we’ll come out of it better? blink.gif

Again as I’ve mentioned we will have given up the most useful policy tools we have to influence our economy (monetary policy and exchange rate policy)

I’ve mentioned this before, but if a country was going through a recession it would want to devalue it’s currency; so obviously this won’t be possible as we'll all be using the euro. Also labour should be mobile from country to country but in reality it isn’t that flexible. Firms should be able to lower their wages to compete better and lift the country from recession, however codified minimum wages and unions are becoming more influential preventing this. All these leave a country no method for self-correction in the face of a recession, except for fiscal policy, which also as demonstrated by Germany doesn’t work. Why is it that Germany and France have such record unemployment if being in the EU is obviously so great as you claim. They have been the most influential countries in Europe yet they are clearly not in favourable economic positions.

We could be a federal Europe. The UK could become the 51st State of America. Blair could become king of Europe.  Anything could happen, but lets try and discuss what we do know, which is how the UK is fairing at the moment and in the foreseeable future, and the likely implications of us going further into Europe.

I don't remember making any such claims that we'd join American, only that its likely that the economoes will be different and Europe will be closer together, maybe even joined with or without the UK. Its you who's assuming our leadin the economy will last forever.

rolleyes.gif I was being sarcastic about joining America et al, to prove the point that anything could happen in the future, however we should be concentrating on the here and now. You should not just assume that in the future Europe will be one state or heavily more integrated. In fact that would be an interesting question, is there a level of integration after which countries would stop benefiting? Personally I think yes, and I think that the UK, or England in any case has reached that.

As for assuming the UK economy will last forever, I never said that. I have tried to tell you the economic reasons why we should not become further integrated at this moment in time, yet you don’t seem to listen to any of them. You don’t refute them, yet are unwilling to believe them.

As far as I can tell we are clearing talking about different things. I am talking about monetary integration and why it would be bad. You are talking about political integration and social policy and why you think that would be good.

Of course when Thatcher wanted in to the EU she only saw the EU as this huge market and the obvious economic benefits that could be gained from a Free Trade Area. She never wanted any political integration of transfer of political power, which was ultimately at the core of the EU agenda. Over time it has taken on this hugely political dimension, which we have no need for.

What was the Queen of Darkness have to do with this? Your being too Anglocentric here. The EU was first founded under the name ECSC in 1952 bu France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Belguim. No UK state was in site. The UK didn't even enter until 1973 along with Denmark. Thatcher wouldn't get elected by the English until 1979 (and run the Celts who never voted for her into the ground). Your trying to claim the Queen of Darkness had influence over the EU reasons for founding 5 years before the UK enters it, and 11 years before she was even in power?

When I said Thatcher wanted in on the EU, I didn’t mean she would take the UK into Europe if that’s what you thought, tongue.gif I meant that she could only appreciate Europe as a Free Trade Area with an extremely loose political structure. The economic benefits we would have by removing trade barriers and putting up a common external tariff is what appealed to her. I was illustrating how different the economic and political sides to this debate are. While she was in favour of the FTA, she hated the idea of transferring political power away from the nation state.

I'm well aware of what she said, in 1988 wasn't it something like "willing and active cooperation between independent soveriegn states is the best way to build a successful European Community"... still doesn't change the your giving her to much credit, the Queen of Darkness didn't have anything to do with the EU. Anyway, that b*tch was a dictator, and all it means if she was opposed to it, we should got for it.

lol What credit am I giving her? So you are saying that we should go into Europe just because she wasn’t in favour of it? That sounds very open-minded and pragmatic. rolleyes.gif

Indeed Thatcher advocated an intergovernmental style of EU. An EU for sharing ideas and cooperation rather than a supranational organisation it is today, eating up sovereign powers and growing ever more bureaucratic. I think she was wise to exercise caution to this.

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