Tuesday, June 10, 2003
Europundit.com is live. I HAVE ESCAPED BLOGGER HELL.
Go here, adjust your bookmarks etc.
Monday, June 09, 2003
I will soon move over to www.europundit.com, and use MT!!!!!!!!!
And it's all thanks to the great Dean Esmay!!!!!!!
Sunday, June 08, 2003
Lately, I have had more incoming permalinks than I have visits per day. How weird is that? I guess you could spin it like I'm a blogger's blogger. Eh.
Friday, June 06, 2003
Today's National Day. We have a very laidback attitude to it, the very opposite of Yank style flag-waving. It's not even a holiday. People have talked about making it a holiday for a hundred years, but we've never got around to it. Now the Riksdag has decided to make it one in 2005, but they couldn't decide which other holiday it should replace, so the silliness continues.
Some Swedes like to whine about us being less chest-thumping than other people, saying we lack self confidence. I would very much say it's because of our high national self confidence that we are so laid back about these things.
Anyway, today was appropriately glorious, the sun shone and the sky was cloudless. As usual. This guy seems to be saying that the sun is objectively brighter and the sky bluer here in Sweden. At any rate, I've never heard anyone, Swede or foreigner, describe the Swedish summer in less than superlative terms.
I feel I ought to pay tribute to the greatness of Sweden somehow, I think this other post by Sterfan Geens (who I will put on the 'roll) shows Sweden at its finest.
This article about the Czech runup to the referendum makes several interesting observations.
Wednesday, June 04, 2003
This guy had a great idea:
"I've got Site Meter to register how many people visit.Also www.downes.ca.
The massive discrepancy between the two is astonishing.Sitemeter reports 6 a day and downes 400!
PLEASE do me a big favour.
If you read this, please just add your name or number to the comments form then I know what is working."
The discrepancy between Sitemeter and WebStat isn't as massive, but I really would like to know how many readers I actually have. Could you please please pretty please just add your comment?
Tuesday, June 03, 2003
Look what I found: http://www.bonde.com/ Danish eurosceptic and convention delegate JensPeter Bonde has a site with news and analysis on the Convention from a eurosceptic perspective. This is a great compliment to the other news sources. It's stridently partisan of course, but not to the point where it's useless.
"According to a YouGov poll in the Mail on Sunday, 51% of Britons said withdrawal from the EU was preferable to the "surrender" of further powers to Brussels.
That was against 29% who said Britain should accept a loss of power in order to stay in the union. "
One shouldn't make too much of this of course. If the phrasing hads been a little different, if it had been made a week earlier or later the results may have been completely different. Most iportantly if the question was preceded by an election campaign or simply more reflection than two seconds, people would have answered differently.
But it reveals that people are receptive to the idea of withdrawal. It's within reach, so to speak.
Monday, June 02, 2003
Until yesterday, there were reasons to wonder if the convention would be able to come to an agreeent about the institutional disagreements, after the draft bypassing them. But now it appears an agreement has been reached and will be announced today. It seems clear Giscard D'Estaing and the big countries will basically get what they want, a Council president, but what copensation the smaller countries and the supranationalisrts will get, and any details of the deal, are still a mystery. We'll soon find out, though.
There has been a lot of talk about the rift that the Iraq war has caused in Europe, and also about enlargement, what the long-term consequences will be, with a some people, especially Americans saying there's a risk of crisis, and that the Union will be divided and dysfunctional etc. There's one in my estimate strong indication that they're wrong: Look at the Convention. Divisions have not at all been on the lines of "old" or "new" Europeans, but between small and big states and between intergovernmentalists and supranationalists. The actors have taken positions out of what they think is right, and what they perceive is in their interest. And that's how things will be.
The Common Foreign and Security Policy have been weakened, but no one has ever imagined nations would take common positions on every issue. I think the Convention also demonstrates there's a lot of agreement, and a strong will to work together and move forward. Integration and reform has been continued at a rapidly accelerated pace. If the issues of division of power between institutions, between the nations, and the future shape of the EU aren’t causing paralysis, why would fishing disputes or whatever?
There'll probably be friction between France and the Central Europeans, but what people have missed is that the group of eight's letter was not the only cause of divisions, but mostly something that brought divisions to the surface. In my opinion, it's not so much because of any particular irreconcilable differences; rather it's part of a long-term trend. Starting about five years ago nations stopped deciding almost everything by unanimity. This has to do with the growing number of members and with the increase of decisions taken on the EU level. Indeed, it's also because national sensitivities have decreased, and issues aren't looked at only from the national perspective or as national horse-trading, so therefore acceptance has grown of majority voting. Also, the group of eight's letter was a reaction to French-German hegemonic tendencies, but remember the reaction was because the French-German engine had been revived after being dead 1997-2002. Changing alliances aren't an impediment to progress or "ever closer union."
So what we will see is these trends continuing, and being reinforced by, enlargement and further integration. More open divisions, and factionalism, but not so much divisions between any set camps, rather division on an issue-for-issue basis, and not so much one nor two power centers, though France-Germany still will be a power center in many instances. And I don't think it will put any brakes on integration.
The last six or eight years saw these trends starting, and at the same time integration has not just continued, but at an accelerating pace. These were also the years of the Commission losing power and initiative to the Council (the national governments.) Integration is not driven by ideology or by some long-term federalist strategy. Rather, it's the product of a thousand smaller decisions. Rather, it's driven by "historical forces", by a situation where every further step makes sense, by a self-reinforcing logic, and because there are significant factors acting to slow or stop integration. Rather, it's because of a general receptiveness to integration.
By the evidence of the Convention, plus my general knowledge of the Candidate countries, I don’t see enlargement seriously working against these trends, though if the constitution will be a drastic step, it may cause a temporary breathing pause. I don't see anything else seriously slowing the process either in the foreseeable future. (Granted, in these matters, that's hardly longer than a decade as I see it.)
That begs the question when will it stop? I don't think this gradualist, often not noticed by the public, process can't possibly continue to the point where suddenly we find ourselves citizens of a federal state. At some point something's gots to give. When and how that will happen, I have no idea. Everything about the EU's development is so gloriously uncertain and unprecedented, which is why it's so fascinating.
(Actually, things are already changing, integration is no longer mostly by stealth or couched in bureaucratic terms, and there's a debate about what the final goal is.)
I started out sounding like I defended the EU from its detractors and now I sound almost like a eurosceptic. I should note that one explanation for the success of "Ever closer union" is that it simply makes sense, because of increasing interdependence etc. But the problem is, no one bothered involving the public, or at least didn't succeed.
Sunday, June 01, 2003
Via the Sceptic, a New Yorker article about Congo I've managed to miss.
Added the Sceptic to my blogroll. Yes, because of reciprocation, bt this one ight be a keeper, or at least a blog I will continue read. Go read it; it's a real good blog.
Bloggers on the draft:
Did I ever link to Chris Bertram's latest post? Good stuff. Here he argues that judicial activism is bad. I agree, will maybe expand on that. Here he links to conflicting takes on the constitution.
Lots of rightwing EU opponents have written comments that aren't worth responding to. They think EU is now a 'superstate', tone is raving and also quite unpleasant. These people appears to be completely mindless. It's very disconcerting. Especially vile is a certain group who ranted about "federasts."
By the way, please note that I'm sympathetic to opposition to the EU, I'm always close to lapsing in my faith in rightness of unification, and I am certainly sceptical.
Non-mindless commentary from opponents:
Edge of England's sword. He doesn't really engage the issue though, takes the wrongness of the EU as a given, and discuss strategic implication for British opponents.
Bargarz. He links to others too, that I haven't checked out. (Bloggered, so scroll down.)Not the right critique. Very wrong and misguided, but something worth debunking, not screeching. And his quotes from Den Beste + others (except me of course!), who tell us we Euros apparently have a slave mentality. Will perhaps respond if I find time and energy, but that's unlikely.
Henry again. Read it. And the earlier comments.
Jeff Jarvis thinks the draft isn't poetic enough. Matthew Yglesias agrees. My take: Who cares?
Jarvis points out other things that I agree are flaws, though minor.
Kathryn Kramer thinks the Bush admin is trying to derail the convention. She doesn't really tells us why she thinks so. I'm open to being persuaded.
I haven't read these yet:
Diplomatica. Long. Seems cogent.
Scott Martens Should be interesting if I know Scott. Long and digressive.
Scott thinks me + Junius + Gallowglass were pretty critical. So does Matthew Yglesias (though he doesn't mention me Grrr.), who even have been been convinced that the draft "as written is pretty bad." But... We weren't that critical! In fact, we've all ostly analyzed, not said if it's good or bad. Huh?