EurActiv - Letters to the Editor

Is the EU like the USA?

Sir,

Regarding ‘Delors asks Germany: ‘Are you still true to European values?’

As we all know, we in the EU are not all of the same nation like the USA. We have many differences in basic cultures, unlike in the USA, where cultural differences are only slight across a country that is 2.27-times larger than the EU land mass. Whereas the USA has had only one war on its lands, EU nations through nationalism and economic overtones have fought many wars over every part of the European continent.

These differences make all the difference between whether a host of nations can act as one nation as the EU constellation or not. But not until we really have a level playing field in the EU shall we have integration as if we were just one nation state. The odds are against such a constellation and that is why the EU will never be in its present form the equivalent of the USA in terms of an unbridled holistic group of one.

It is not therefore really surprising that Germany and many other nations have differing notions of what the EU should be and what it should represent. Consequently we shall always in the EU be in a state of flux with nationalistic values always rising above the best interests of a single European Union.

The values may be there but also unlike the USA, national vested interests will always override EU integration as a single state. Therefore the best that we can ever hope for is a consensus of hopefuls, but not of equals.

Dr David Hill
Executive Director
World Innovation Foundation Charity
Bern, Switzerland

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Comments

  1. Under the subsidiarity principle – I’ve a feeling member states can/will agree on over-arching policy iissues in which authority is officially designated to the Executive; ie.
    international trade policy, etc.

    Inspite of cultural/linguistic/geographical differences, decision-making prior to Lisbon Treaty was not based on lowest common denominator. But on merits of the arguments in the collective interest.

    Going forward under Lisbon, me thinks, EP will provide the level playing field for ensuring national/regional interests are adequately accounted for prior to a final decision on community policy.

    Moreover, EP is also likely to play the role of an adjudicator on future direction of EU, since it is the voice of the EU sovereign.

  2. Dear Mr. Hill,

    I came across your letter to the editor and I must say it is always a pleasure to see that there still are people actually using their heads for thinking who dare ask critical questions!

    To answer your question – personally I think that the European Union not only is not like the United States of America but (for good or bad) it will NEVER become anything near the US… I have already explained why I think that the EU is extremely different from the US in my article “USSR Reloaded?”
    (http://spapostolov.blogactiv.eu/2009/10/01/ussr-reloaded/) published in 2009.

    As a matter of fact, based on the reasons outlined in the article “USSR Reloaded?” and a subsequent letter to the editor of EurActiv “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it” (http://euractiv.blogactiv.eu/2009/12/04/those-who-cannot-learn-from-history-are-doomed-to-repeat-it/), I strongly believe that the EU in its current form and with its current goals and “values” is doomed to fall apart in the next five to ten years. And, to be perfectly blunt, as a European citizen standing for true democracy, I will be the first to applaud this collapse for today’s European Union (imposed on Europeans by the politicians) has, in my experience, practically nothing to do with the goals and values of the European Economic Community, the establishment of which the citizens of Europe endorsed some 50 years ago.

    Naturally, the above forecast is based on the assumption that politicians at various levels will continue to pretend that Europeans live in a democratic society…

    Otherwise – well, the EU will continue to exist beyond the foreseen deadline… But then the question mark in the sentence “USSR reloaded?” will simply be replaced by an exclamation mark (i.e. “USSR reloaded!”) and we will all know for sure where the EU stands in terms of democracy and freedom.

    Regards,

    S. Apostolov

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