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  1.    #1  
    What's with the French and Duch voters' rejection of the European Constitution? What does it mean and what implications/consequences are there?
    You don't stop laughing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop laughing.
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  2. #2  
    Is interesting to watch.....I like how Chirac blamed it on the PM and then replaced him.

    So much for unity in stopping the big bad US on the economic front, I guess being independent thinkers is of more value to them currently?

    So far one net effect has been a strengthening of the US dollar, causing additional foreign investment in US treasuries and thus a decrease in interest rates. 10 year treasury is down to a yield of 3.98% (a huge drop).
  3. #3  
    I think the problem with the European Union is that they are too smart for their own good.

    They like looking at America and acting as if they would never have the problems we have; that is, if you count disagreeing with each other, but still loving your country as a problem, which I think is healthy and not bad.

    But now they have to really consider whether they want to face the realities of being either a 'winner' or 'loser' country in the greater EU composite (I mean this in the sense of comparing a powerhouse state in the U.S. to another state...like the economy of NY vs. the economy of ME; different states in our system have different electoral votes and carry different weight in the overall political system).

    In short, every European state with a desire to take a leadership role does not want to take a back seat to other states. It is no surprise that Dutch and French voters rejected it with such a majority number.
    Well behaved women rarely make history
  4. #4  
    Have you heard how long there constitution is?? The dang thing is over 400 pages...I would sign up for it either. I work for a Dutch Company and none of them what it to happen. Very interesting though
  5. #5  
    I believe there could never be a political unification. There would never be a truly electable 'European' politician, no Frenchman would vote for a Brit, or German leader. The Brits and the French are also too proud to consider giving up their national models of commerce or state involvement.
    Well behaved women rarely make history
  6. #6  
    The French, the Dutch, and other Europeans have lost patience with political systems that seem increasingly remote and political elites that seem increasingly disdainful of the interests and values of the people they claim to represent. If the French voted "non," because they sensed that the EU Constitution would aggravate those problems, then they voted very shrewdly. Indeed, only a political system as seemingly remote and disdainful as the EU has become could have produced a document like the EU Constitution: interminably long, confusingly organized, obscure in its effects, and in many crucial spots almost deceptive in its purposes. It seems almost too heavy-handedly symbolic that while the U.S. Constitution opens with the resounding words, "We the People of the United States," the first words of the EU Constitution are: "His Majesty the King of the Belgians . . ."
    Large areas of decision-making have been removed from governments elected by Europe's peoples and entrusted to bureaucracies carefully insulated from democratic control. There are four problems with this:
    First, it moves important powers away from the elected governments of the 25 member states to the Commission in Brussels. Second, within that centralized EU, the constitution shifts power from the elected heads of government who together make up the European Council to the unelected bureaucrats who staff the Commission and the unelected judges of the ECJ.
    Third, while the constitution speaks glowingly of the "democratic life of the Union," in fact the Commission has been carefully protected from interference by elected officials. Fourth, the constitution greatly expands the power of the only European institution even less representative than the commission: the ECJ. To call this body a "court" is really a misnomer. A court exists to adjudicate disputes between parties according to law. The ECJ has vastly larger powers, some deliberately granted, others that will arise from the imprecision and indecision of the European Constitution's authors.
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    Ideas here are borrowed from JEFFREY CIMBALO and DAVID FRUM.
    I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.
    -Mark Twain
  7. #7  
    Quote Originally Posted by clairegrrl
    I believe there could never be a political unification. There would never be a truly electable 'European' politician, no Frenchman would vote for a Brit, or German leader. The Brits and the French are also too proud to consider giving up their national models of commerce or state involvement.
    Nice post. Very different from the rant I expected. I hope we'll see more of these posts.

    It does seem to be difficult to bring together countries with different languages and hundreds of years of independent development into a common political organisation. I don't really agree with the "state involvement" part though. On the economical level, the integration goes very far, and the possibilities of governmental involment into companies have been diminished quite strongly. Of course they still exist, just like in the US.
    “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.” (Philip K. ****)
  8. #8  
    Quote Originally Posted by clulup
    On the economical level, the integration goes very far, and the possibilities of governmental involment into companies have been diminished quite strongly. Of course they still exist, just like in the US.
    To the contrary on the economy. The French and much of the rest of the European Union have much to be economically anxious about.
    The French unemployment rate has hovered around 10% for nearly a decade, and almost half of the jobless have been out of work for at least a year. The point here isn't to engage in unjustified French-bashing. The truth is that the economic anemia afflicting France has become the standard bill of health to varying degrees in virtually all of the nations of Old Europe, particularly Germany and Italy. Once upon a time the intellectual elites in Europe and the U.S. trumpeted the economic accomplishments of European social welfare state policies. Today the conclusion is nearly unavoidable that this economic model simply doesn't work to create jobs, wealth or dynamism.
    The U.S. has substantially outperformed Old Europe in wealth and job creation. The economic growth rate of the European Union nations since 2003 has limped along at about half that of the U.S. In the 1980s and '90s the U.S. created about 40 million new jobs; Western Europe created some 10 million, well over half of which were in the public sector. If this divergence in economic performance continues for 40 years, the American worker will be roughly twice as wealthy as his European counterpart.
    The Europeans have created a vast constellation of domestic policy interventions that are cloaked in the seductive rhetoric of compassion, fairness and cultural sophistication. These policies include highly generous welfare benefits for the unemployed; state ownership and/or subsidy of key industries (such as Airbus); rules that make it difficult to hire and fire workers; prohibitions against closing down plants; heavy protections of labor unions against competitive forces; mandatory worker benefit packages that include health insurance, child care allowances, paid parental leave, four to six weeks of vacation; shortened work weeks; and, alas, high taxes on business and labor to pay for these lavish benefits.
    In sum, European nations penalize work and subsidize non-work, and no surprise, they have gotten a lot of the latter and far too little of the former. By contrast, the U.S. model -- allegedly cruel and "laissez-faire" - has done much better both by economic growth and worker opportunity.
    But the Brussels bureaucracy has to this day purposely ignored the Continent's central ailments: high tax rates, bloated welfare benefits, and industrial policies that pick winners and losers, usually the latter. Those topics are essentially taboo in Brussels, which has pursued an economic "harmonization" strategy in part to inhibit the benign impact of tax cutting and tax competition among member countries by creating a de facto multi-state cartel. The nations that have prospered the most in recent years -- Ireland in the 1990s, now the nations of Central Europe -- are those that have resisted the harmonizing orders.
    Europe is now paying a high price for this failed experiment with welfare state socialism. Today's populist revolt against economic integration in France and Germany suggests that these nations remain mysteriously impervious to the need for change. A bigger mystery is why some American politicians are so intent on repeating Europe's mistakes.

    (Borrowed information and statistics from Barron’s Editorials)
    I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.
    -Mark Twain
  9. #9  
    the euro constitution is one of these things that sounds like a good idea but when it comes down to the nitty gritty people, if given the chance to vote {which may not be the case in the UK} won't want it.
  10. #10  
    Quote Originally Posted by m00se
    To the contrary on the economy. The French and much of the rest of the European Union have much to be economically anxious about....

    (Borrowed information and statistics from Barron’s Editorials)
    Why not call it a Barron's Editorial (or a Wall Street Journal article further up)?

    Anyway, there is much truth in it. E.g. Germany and France have gone too far regarding labour rights etc. in my opinion, too. The case of Germany is a bit special though. They had to assimilate Eastern Germany, an almost bankrupt, communist country, which would have been a bit like taking up major parts of Central and South America for the US.

    Also, there are European countries with very good social wellfare and still a very good ecomomy. Switzerland (though not really a member of the EU) has an unemployment rate which is considerably lower than that of the US (3.7 vs. 5.1 currently, other EU countries are similar), so the two are not mutally exclusive.
    Last edited by clulup; 06/03/2005 at 04:02 PM.
    “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.” (Philip K. ****)
  11. #11  
    Quote Originally Posted by clulup
    Switzerland (though not really a member of the EU) has an unemployment rate which is considerably lower than that of the US (3.7 vs. 5.1 currently, other EU countries are similar), so the two are not mutally exclusive.
    Instead of comparing switserland's unemployment to the US, and trying to take a jab at the US along the way, why not compare it to European nations. I mean the unemployment rate in Hawaii is 2.9%, New Hampshire is 3.4%, South Dakota is 3.7%, Vermont 3.3%, Virginia 3.6% and Wyoming 3.5%

    Germany's unemployment rate hit 12.7% last month, and France's unemployment rate remained at 10.1%, that looks really big for Europe's two largest economies.
    Well behaved women rarely make history
  12. #12  
    Quote Originally Posted by clulup
    Why not call it a Barron's Editorial (or a Wall Street Journal article further up)?
    I have edited them - so leave them at that.
    Other issues related to this subject:
    1. Underlying both votes were deep worries about Europe's economy and growing hostility to immigration.
    2. High unemployment and sluggish growth have fueled growing tensions over how the EU is incorporating 10 mainly low-wage countries whose citizens are competing for jobs. Together with Italy disbanding and re-forming its government amid a deep recession there, and Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair seeing his power eroded in his re-election last month, weakened leaders are at the helm of all four of Europe's largest economies.
    3. The blow to the constitution has ramifications for the U.S. as well. The document would, among other things, give the EU more tools to conduct a unified foreign policy. That was expected to strengthen a key U.S. foreign-policy ally and sometime partner in efforts to combat global terrorism and nuclear proliferation in countries such as Iran.
    4. In Germany, election pressures have led Mr. Schröder's party to attack businesses for exporting jobs, and have quickly threatened to scuttle his most recent business-friendly proposal -- lowering the corporate-tax rate to compete more closely with the lower rates among new EU members along Germany's eastern border.
    5. In Britain, where unemployment is less than 5% and Mr. Blair has promised a constitutional referendum next year, the concern is that the EU is stifling job creation and growth with too much regulation -- the opposite to the French complaint.
    ------------
    (Information borrowed from: MARC CHAMPION, DAN BILEFSKY and JOHN CARREYROU)
    Quote Originally Posted by clairegrrl
    Instead of comparing switserland's unemployment to the US, and trying to take a jab at the US along the way, why not compare it to European nations.
    Germany's unemployment rate hit 12.7% last month, and France's unemployment rate remained at 10.1%, that looks really big for Europe's two largest economies.
    Excellent.
    Last edited by m00se; 06/03/2005 at 08:01 PM.
    I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.
    -Mark Twain
  13. #13  
    Quote Originally Posted by clulup
    Nice post. Very different from the rant I expected. I hope we'll see more of these posts.
    .
    I agree, good stuff claire!
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  14. #14  
    I saw this yesterday and thought it was interesting -

    June 3, 2005
    A Race to the Top
    By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
    Bangalore, India

    It was extremely revealing traveling from Europe to India as French voters (and now Dutch ones) were rejecting the E.U. constitution - in one giant snub to President Jacques Chirac, European integration, immigration, Turkish membership in the E.U. and all the forces of globalization eating away at Europe's welfare states. It is interesting because French voters are trying to preserve a 35-hour work week in a world where Indian engineers are ready to work a 35-hour day. Good luck.

    Voters in "old Europe" - France, Germany, the Netherlands and Italy - seem to be saying to their leaders: stop the world, we want to get off; while voters in India have been telling their leaders: stop the world and build us a stepstool, we want to get on. I feel sorry for Western European blue collar workers. A world of benefits they have known for 50 years is coming apart, and their governments don't seem to have a strategy for coping.

    One reason French voters turned down the E.U. constitution was rampant fears of "Polish plumbers." Rumors that low-cost immigrant plumbers from Poland were taking over the French plumbing trade became a rallying symbol for anti-E.U. constitution forces. A few weeks ago Franz Müntefering, chairman of Germany's Social Democratic Party, compared private equity firms - which buy up failing businesses, downsize them and then sell them - to a "swarm of locusts."

    The fact that a top German politician has resorted to attacking capitalism to win votes tells you just how explosive the next decade in Western Europe could be, as some of these aging, inflexible economies - which have grown used to six-week vacations and unemployment insurance that is almost as good as having a job - become more intimately integrated with Eastern Europe, India and China in a flattening world.

    To appreciate just how explosive, come to Bangalore, India, the outsourcing capital of the world. The dirty little secret is that India is taking work from Europe or America not simply because of low wages. It is also because Indians are ready to work harder and can do anything from answering your phone to designing your next airplane or car. They are not racing us to the bottom. They are racing us to the top.

    Indeed, there is a huge famine breaking out all over India today, an incredible hunger. But it is not for food. It is a hunger for opportunity that has been pent up like volcanic lava under four decades of socialism, and it's now just bursting out with India's young generation.

    "India is the oldest civilization, the largest democracy and the youngest population - almost 70 percent is below age 35 and almost 50 percent is 25 and under," said Shekhar Gupta, editor of The Indian Express. Next to India, Western Europe looks like an assisted-living facility with Turkish nurses.

    Sure, a huge portion of India still lives in wretched slums or villages, but more and more of the young cohort are grasping for something better. A grass-roots movement is now spreading, demanding that English be taught in state schools - where 85 percent of children go - beginning in first grade, not fourth grade. "What's new is where this movement is coming from," said the Indian commentator Krishna Prasad. "It's coming from the farmers and the Dalits, the lowest groups in society." Even the poor have been to the cities enough to know that English is now the key to a tech-sector job, and they want their kids to have those opportunities.

    The Indian state of West Bengal has the oldest elected Communist government left in the world today. Some global technology firms recently were looking at outsourcing there, but told the Communists they could not do so because of the possibility of worker strikes that might disrupt the business processes of the companies they work for. No problem. The Communist government declared information technology work an "essential service," making it illegal for those workers to strike. Have a nice day.

    "This is not about wages at all - the whole wage differential thing is going to reduce very quickly," said Rajesh Rao, who heads the innovative Indian game company, Dhruva. It is about people who have been starving "finally seeing the ability to realize their dreams." Both Infosys and Wipro, India's leading technology firms, received more than one million applications last year for a little more than 10,000 job openings.

    Yes, this is a bad time for France and friends to lose their appetite for hard work - just when India, China and Poland are rediscovering theirs.
    Well behaved women rarely make history

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