Tuesday, December 1, 2009

on the EU today and tomorrow: Some hardtalk but crucial issues, food for thought

In the last 2-3 days, and one the occasion of the Dec. 1 entry into force of the EU Lisbon Treaty, I have been engaged in many "discussions" on Twitter regarding the EU, its present and its future as well as how well it is serving the needs of the average EUropean and the average SME and micro company in the EU.

Some of the discussions were prompted by comments made by the President of the European Council regarding federalism and the potential for EU (federal?) taxation via green/eco taxes.

Here are some indicative excerpts of the views (tweets) I expressed during these discussions:

The EU Services directive could IMO to be coupled by an EU-wide minimum wage, set by EU institutions or social partners

* Even if the EU and its citizens wanted a US type of (federalist) model, that cannot be done (IMO). One of the key barriers: Common language!

* Plus the US model of federalism does not work that well even in the USA, a US-EU comparative modeling analysis would be interesting!

* US style federalism requires a single main language by all EU citizens (not just institutions) ie not feasible in the EU

* The sooner the EU adopts a near open door policy to immigrants from third countries, the better IMO (and promotes intra-EU mobility too)

* The Single Language issue is IMO crucial for a Single Market for jobs to "work" sur le terrain of the EU. Without such single market for jobs, IMO, no Federation a la US can be established, not even a real Single EU Market exists!

* On whether a federation UK style can work for the EU: In the UK every "nation" speaks English pretty much, right? Can one speak 21+ languages w/o a memory chip embedded in one's brain? No

* A more United system/model in the EU can work (ie a deeper Union), but NOT based on a US federal model, that is my main argument.

* IMO/IME we do NOT have a real internal market for work - jobs, except (more or less) for those who speak 21+ languages or want to work in the UK or Brussels.

* On a federal model Belgium style: a federal Belgium can work for Belgium because people can speak 3 languages; but not 21+ (in the EU's case)!

* On keeping all languages but having one lingua franca India style: I don't know how well lingua franca works in India but unless the lingua franca is spoken at all workplaces, IMO there is/will be no U.S.E. or even a real EU Single Market! Alas, EU lingua franca at the workplaces in the EU27+ will take decades if not centuries to come, if ever. Alas!

* Read my analysis: "Globalisation, in 2009 and in 300 BC" http://bit.ly/2riPu5 touches on facets of the federalism "discussion"

* How many, what type and what % of jobs in Italy, Germany and othe other 25 member states are available for EUropeans who are not FLUENT in the national Language(s)?

* On the syllogism that if one wants to move to Italy one will have to learn Italian etc: Yes, but that does not a single EU market for jobs make!

* IMO a federal EU tax should not come from green taxes but income tax to replace national (and local) ones ie One Tax only in the EU.

* The US federal model is not that successful after all in politics (see eg electoral college issue) or in Internal market (ease of inter-state trade for SMEs and micros)

* The US federal model IMO/IME is based more on currency, language and pop culture - has too many laws and taxes at state and local level

* The absence of an EU model - solution on double taxation avoidance of persons between the member states is IMO a disgrace for a "Union"

* 50+ years after its creation the EEC - EC - EU still does not have a proper Single or even Common Market especially in Services and jobs

* EU: A "single space" 4 living working, seeking work, doing biz (micro, SMEs) cannot have 27 national legal systems, tax laws + 21+ languages!

* On "respecting" the national languages of the member states: And that "respect" will lead us to embed a chip with 22+ languages in our brains?

* On the argument that many federal countries are multilingual (eg Canada): Sure, with 1, 2 or 3 languages. How many have 21+?

* On the US (and its fed model) not being the only fed models in the world: I agree and I actually tweeted (see above points here) that the US fed model is not feasible for the EU

* IMO we need an EU model that works for the average person and the SMEs and is tailored to fit the EU, not a US, Canadian, Belgian, German, India, UK, etc model!

* IMO a federal model will not work, to make up for the 21+ languages, we need a "country" model for the EU ie single laws EU-wide. But the country model is not popular thus the EU will continue to mean little to the average EUropean and SME, alas
Even with 4 languages (eg English, French, German and Spanish) one still does not become eligible for work all over the EU territory/national job markets. To get most if not all jobs on a country, one has to speak the language(s).
And the current situation and model will continue to mean little to the average EUropean and SMEs + micro firms - I just call it as I see it, an "EU Catch 22"

* Does the EU have a a) Hollywood b) Silicon Valley c) Nashville d) EUropean TV series d) a kind of European pop culture in general? The EU has few if any "clusters" of global or at least European importance in anything (except soccer).
And indeed,, most people do not even see the problem in that.

* 0.5 bn ppl with 22+ languages (Babel) + non working single market 4 services and jobs + no min wage (US does) + badly transposed laws = EU

* On the US having many cultures (same as EU): The US is multi-culti too but those cultures "inter-act" with each other to produce a (multi-dimensional) "US pop culture". In EU that is not the case. The US is a melting pot. the EU a Babel it is IMO high time we started calling a spade a spade in #EUrope, we are drowning in myths and illusions!

* Eg How many French TV shows are also aired in German or Italian channels, even dubbed (let alone "VO")? Why?

* In the US each state does have its own cultural elements, CA is different than FLA or IL or Texas or Montana yet there's a "US pop culture"

* What are the common cultural elements or even common foundation in culture or values that EUropeans share? Examples? Specifically! Welfare? As a foundation of EUropeanism? Not enough, IMO. As per Common (EU) laws, what common laws? Badly transposed in many cases. Plus the British and other Euroskeptics and proponents of national "sovereignty" don't want common laws.

* European football (soccer) and other sports competitions as well as, to some extent, the Eurovision Song Contest are IMO the main things that bring Europeans together; neither are EU!

* If economic interests is all or most we EUropeans have in common, then the British Euroskeptics are right, let's revert to an EFTA, at best!

Bottom Line for food for thought: Why did the Europeans who moved to America manage to participate in creating something common and the ones who stayed in Europe are still trying, 200 yrs later?


  1. "The Single Language issue is IMO crucial for a Single Market for jobs to "work" sur le terrain of the EU. Without such single market for jobs, IMO, no Federation a la US can be established, not even a real Single EU Market exists!"

    Do you have a view on Esperanto as thje common language for Europe?


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