Europe is failing two life-and-death tests

Weak, divided, incoherent, hypocritical and infuriating - that's how you hear the EU described privately in Beijing and Washington. The events of this first week of 2009 suggest that our critics are right.

Timothy Garton Ash Source:
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  1. I disagree with Mike. The EU is a collection of states - not a superstate. Giving it is attributes of a state certainly will not result in anything democratic. The EU's leaders are even more removed from what their population wants than the American.

    Of course the US has more influence in Israel as the EU: it spends billions to support Israel and it military. That doesn't mean that the EU can't have influence. But it means that if it wants influence it will have to consider carefully what sticks and carrots it can use. I think that the core of the EU policy should be to end the economic isolation of the Palestinian areas. These are the source of the violence. And unlike the Israeli campaign these are long term effects.

    Ash's call for a unified European gas markets is exactly the kind of initiative that has made Brussels bureaucrats so hated. For every problem they have one solution: more power to Brussel. Instead we only need some extra pipelines so that the EU countries can exchange gas when there are problems with supplies from Russia.
    (Wim Roffel, 14 January 2009 12:33)
  2. Dear Mr Ash,
    Wasn't it you who wrote that the Free world, not "Europe" should be considered the society we live in. we identify with etc.
    Why put Wahsington on par with Moscow, Beijing etc as the "others" to the Europeans. It is obvious that neither the "Eurogaulism", nor the American uniletarism that could bring anything good.
    It is time to realize that the Globalization without institutional frame has failed. This crisis should make the Free world (EU, USA< Australia, perhaps some South American countries) to institutionalize their unity and search for ways for elaborating legitimate ways of reaching common decisions!
    (nik, 10 January 2009 22:04)
  3. All the more reason for Serbia to play both sides of the EU-Russia coin and not join the EU. Stupid DS politicians. The only one with a little backbone (and I emphasize little) is Jeremic.
    (JohnBoy, 10 January 2009 21:42)
  4. I, for one, am happy to see this disunity. The EU was never meant to be a political force, but an economic one. When is crossed that frontier, is when it exposed it's weakness and ineffectiveness. The EU should, in my opinion, remain what is was meant to be, economically united and strong. But, politicians being what they are, could not resist sticking their noses in other people's affairs. Like the old saying goes, power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Time for the EU to start behaving like what it was meant to be, and leave the world's problems to be solved by individual nations. I don't see politicians from the Middle East trying to solve the EU's problems, why the opposite then?
    (svojgazda, 9 January 2009 06:36)
  5. Good article, and great comment, Mike!
    I like the mention of 1974 Yu-constitution.
    So much power was transferred to the republics that comparison stand, in some ways.
    (Sreten, 9 January 2009 05:23)
  6. Good article. I pdf'ed it to my laptop.

    The main problem with the EU's - what: inefficiency? incompatibility? ineptitude? dysfunctionality? - is that it was founded on an understanding of economic union. Yet it is now trying to function within an ambiguous framework of political unity. I noticed the brief pause by Ash in noting the "successes" of the EU in the last 10 years were all economic (and internally) related. That the EU is trying to present itself as a collective political front is so laughable it makes post 1974 Yugoslavia look pretty damn united if you ask me.

    How can you effectively call the EU a united political body when individual states still have blackball veto power as Ireland so eloquently demonstrated by killing the Lisbon Treaty? How can you be taken seriously as an arbiter in international disputes such as Kosovo when you can't even have the organization officially recognize its so-called independence, and then leave it up to the individual members to recognize or not, forever dividing the union?

    How also is the EU to act on the international stage? They can't even present a united front against (or for) Russia. Germany's big on carving up the Balkans, but secretly makes out with Russia when it comes to its own interests. While many in the US would like the EU to stand with it on a range of issues, the fact remains that each member state has its own interests as well. Part of the EU supported the war in Iraq, while others vociferously were against it. On all fronts, the lack of a united position is not only lacking, it's nowhere to be found.

    Again, you cannot push forward united political rhetoric in an organization that was designed for internal economic matters. It's like trying to run Mac programs on a PC - hardware/software syntax error.
    (Mike, 8 January 2009 21:16)