S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Revisiting the European Union

The European Union is very important to the United States.
There is much that is the same about us and there is much that is different. The US and the EU both consist of groups of differing entities joined together for a common purpose. Obviously the US is one nation but the EU is a closely linked group of nations.

  • To understand another of the differences, here is a link that shows the social model of the EU . The social model in the US varies much less than that in the EU. The disparate approaches to solving social problems of the EU is one of the biggest barrriers to those countries becoming more closely connected. To quote from the BBC:
Each country has a different approach to health, education, pensions,unemployment benefit, and social security (different levels of ependiture, different systems, different entitlements, different qualifications). There is no single European social model. Secondly, there is no European consensus in this area. European economic and social policy debates have long split member states into two broad groups. On one side are those wanting free and flexible labour markets, less regulation, more competition. On the other, those wanting higher social standards, regulated markets, labour market
protection and more rights for workers.

Here is a short roundup of recent news events in the European Union:

  • The European Union and Iran will start talks within two weeks over Iran's nuclear program. The US has largely left it to certain EU countries to handle the problem of Iran's determination to become a nuclear power.
  • High unemployment among France's Muslim youth population has recently been a contributing factor to unrest in that country. The European Union's overall unemployment rate remains stable at 8.3%. Germany has the highest number of people out of work. In contrast, the U.S. rate is at 5%, so we have a distinct advantage.
  • Germany's new Chancellor, Angela Merkel is traveling to Poland in a historic meeting to smooth ties with an old enemy. Early in 2006, on January 11, Merkel will be in Washington for talks on disagreements the U.S. over Iraq and the so-called war on terrorism. This is a good sign, because, if we are ever to return to an appropriate place in the family of nations, we must heal the rifts with EU nations caused by our unilateral invasion of Iraq.
  • Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair is in talks with new members of the EU on finalizing a budget for the organization. So far, the EU has yet to agree on a budget for 2007-13. Nor has the Congress of the US agreed upon our next budget. It is now becoming a much bigger item of contention between the Republicans' leaders and their fiscal conservative members. Economic globalization makes it doubly important for all the trading partners to get their fiscal houses in order before the upcoming G7/8 meeting in London in early December.
  • The European Union should be able to fulfill the terms of the Kyoto treaty environmental goals of an 8% reduction of greenhouse gasses by 2010. And it should be a matter of embarrassment to the US that we are not even a signator to the Kyoto treaty, let alone doing anything to improve our polluting energy-depleting performance.
  • A number of European ministers are meeting in Berlin to decide the future of their space program. The globalization of space programs has been crucial to the future of science in space. Our partnership with Russia has been essential to NASA, and several European countries are now making significant contributions to what is has become the World's space program.
  • And with what is probably our most shameful connection with the EU, there is this link to a story about CIA prisoner flights to Europe. Britain wants to know more from the U.S. about these media reports of U.S prisoners being secretly held in Eastern Europe. We want to know, too!


Gert said...

Fairly rare to see an American blogger getting things absolutely right about the EU.

Most see us as a bunch of "communists" (except the great, new-found ally, the UK, of course).

That was an excellent post, thanks.

Carol Gee said...

Gert, I have long cheered for the successes of the EU, following the news fairly closely. Our globe is tiny compared to how it was when folks sailed to America's shores from Portugal. Welcome; drop by my blog anytime.