Monday, May 09, 2005
[E][P] Europe 25, a year later
Cheap labour from 'the East' has not swamped the West (except for jobs Germans and French don't think about taking for decades now). Eastern economies did not collapse under the pressure of competition once barriers got dismantled (though some, like pampered Slovenian food industry, did feel the heat). All said, the enlargement went surprisingly smoothly.
And yet, people in some of 'core' EU countries, France and Netherlands, are very unlikely to approve the new European Constitution. What is the problem they have with it? Most, of course, never read it, and don't have a clue what's in there. I won't rehash analyses of what the voters are protesting against (mostly having nothing to do with Europe). I will just say I am sad that their petty nationalism and xenophobia (and they are so quick to accuse us 'lesser nations' of that), their fear of change and their domestic quarrels will lead them to betray the European dream.
Today, when China and the rest of Asia is growing at astonishing rate, and that supposedly friendly giant across the Atlantic has grown positively mad, we need strong Europe more that ever. Perhaps not the United States of Europe, but certainly not the bunch of quarreling, suspicious neighbours of the second millenium.