Der Amerikanische Urlauber

Thursday, March 24, 2005

A Blow to the European Union

Chirac: Oui au Union Européenne! Posted by Hello

Many Americans may be unaware, but across the pond there has been the development of a union of European nations which is called the European Union, or EU. It's based in Brussels, Belgium, and it serves a role of unifying the individual European states under a single organization. Some envision the EU becoming a "United States of Europe." Others just want the EU to serve a role similar to a large trading bloc. The EU is a big presence in the world today, because it is comprised of a number of the world's largest economies, in effect it now is made up of nearly every European nation, save for the Balkans and some in the far east (Ukraine, Romania) which do hope to enter.

The latest topic of debate in Europe for Europeans has been ratifying a new European Union constitution. Some nations just had their parliaments vote on it. The most significant nations, however, including Germany, France, the Netherlands, Spain, and the UK, just to name a few, have made it open for national vote.

But something has happened that many European politicians never predicted: many Europeans are now Euroskeptics. They aren't so sure that the new Constitution represents their best interest. It's been surprising for a number of International observers (like myself, don't forget I study this stuff!) to see a nation like the Netherlands, which has been per capita the largest monetary supporter of the EU, and even Belgium, which is home to the EU, with small majorities now ready to vote Non or Nee on this new Constitution.

And now it's happening in France. Polls came out today that show a majority of the French would oppose the constitution, prompting President Jacques Chirac, a huge EU backer, to send a warning to the French people

The main reason it seems many Europeans are reluctant to approve this new Constitution is because they worry somewhere in the 200-something page document (yes, 200+ pages; that's certainly longer than the American Constitution... somehow I don't think anyone will ever be able to quote parts of THAT thing!) are provisions that will cause a loss of national sovereignty and give way too much power to Brussels.

Because whatever happens with the EU will affect everyone, yes, even Americans in the middle of rural Idaho, it's important to watch. All it takes is one nation to vote no, and the Constitution is a no-go. And it's very close to reaching that vote in a number of nations, and that's not even including Britain, which everyone thought would be the only real obstacle; they don't vote until 2006.

Some people wonder if the EU will collapse. While I certainly am not betting on that, it still wouldn't ever surprise me if that were to happen. Would that be an end to the whole united Europe experiment, or would they try again? They probably would try again. I don't know if Europeans would be so happy to have to wait at national borderlines again to have their passports stamped. But who knows? It'll be interesting to watch.


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