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    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    It was brought to my attention that many of the threads posted here in response to TGA’s proposal fall into one of two categories regarding the interpretation of the six goals. One trend focuses on the past and tries to determine which the European shared values are, the other focuses on the future and tries to decide what the European values should be. Although both sets of arguments aren’t incompatible, they address distinct realities, and if it is true that the historical approach as the future in mind as well, it is also true that the past can be known, but not chosen, while the future can be chosen, but not known. Failure to make this basic distinction leads to both biased historical reports and wishful future predictions.

    Without denying TGA’s merit in calling attention to the need of some common European heritage in order for the European process to continue, however, I believe Europe’s current crisis, although it could be relieved by the emergence of such an identity, doesn’t stem from the lack of that identity. I would look for the current crisis’ causes in Europe’s recent history, namely in the conflicting philosophies behind the EEC and the EU.

    I believe the relative positions of rulers and ruled to each other and the European institutions changed dramatically with the transition from the EEC to the EU. The EEC revolved around the concept of economic convergence, not only of member-states, but of their regions as well, probably transferring to the European context similar economic convergence plans originated within the founding states’ domestic policies. This was appealing to European citizens, as it promised better economic perspectives at the individual level, and not just collectively. Political union was neither required nor desired, on one hand, because it served no practical purpose, and on the other, because it was believed it would naturally follow economic union.

    The EU transfers the entire European debate to a much higher level of organisation, much more distant from European citizens, and many may see it, as I do, as a step too big taken too soon. There are still too many economic issues which aren’t being properly dealt with, namely fiscal harmonisation, for any sort of political union to be viable. At the current state of affairs, it is reasonable for European citizens to question if a European Union which replicates and perpetuates the asymmetries between and within the member-states is in their best interest.

    I’m not saying Europe should drop the EU and return to the EEC. I’m just saying that the average European had more faith in the EEC than in the EU, and maybe that’s because the questions the EEC raised we’re seen as being more relevant to daily life than those that the EU raises. I think our politicians got too excited with the EU political possibilities and lost sight of citizens’ aspirations and expectations. Maybe it’s time for less politics and more economics. Let’s forget about the constitution, let’s talk about taxes.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    Seileach,

    Interesting comparison that requires more thought than I given it so far but one thing that springs to mind is that further economic integration requires political will and things like common tax systems require a political structure to decide what is being taxed, why it is being taxed and what happens to the tax revenue (so maybe the politics and the economics cannot be decoupled).