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Topic: Polawho? (Read 8305 times)

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Polawho?
The EU is moving inexorably towards a Federal State.

Individual countries are becoming irrelevant, and relics of yesteryear, curious cultural enclaves gradually losing distinction and individuality and submerging into enforced uniformity.

So we can expect Polawho with Itawho with Portuwho, with Grecewho, Francowho with Germawho , Sedewho and so on.

The common currency is established as is a common foreign policy, common civic rights and obligations, a common army is on its way and an EU Chancellor for tax raising is on the horizon. Police force? Well Interpol.

Escaping from the EU will become progressively more difficult and will reach impossibility on the peaceful side armed revolution.

Maybe tgere was a chance of avoiding the demise ofvEuropean Nation States while the UK acted to block such things, but the UK saw it coming and wanted out.

So for those counties not in The EU, think not of dealings with Germany or Spain eto, deal directly with the real centre of power, the EU, not provinces of the Collective known as the EU.

Who was Poland anyway?

  • rjhowie
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Re: Polawho?
Reply #1
Very easy I suppose to fall into the thinking that being an individual nation is irrelevant but I will keep an open mind as my one is going global...... :up:
"Quit you like men:be strong"

  • ersi
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Re: Polawho?
Reply #2
The common currency is established as is a common foreign policy, common civic rights and obligations, a common army is on its way and an EU Chancellor for tax raising is on the horizon. Police force? Well Interpol.
All this erodes political independence, but cultural identity is still there. Each country has their own language. With UK gone, English is relevant only as an official language of Malta.

Escaping from the EU will become progressively more difficult and will reach impossibility on the peaceful side armed revolution.
It's always been impossible to escape EU. Only the mightiest can do it. Others can do it when EU dissolves itself.

Maybe tgere was a chance of avoiding the demise ofvEuropean Nation States while the UK acted to block such things, but the UK saw it coming and wanted out.
No, UK did not act as a block on the demise of European Nation States. UK only acted in self-interest, attempting to erode the entire EU. Without success eventually.

Who was Poland anyway?
Poland is least concern in terms of vanishing identity or independence. They even have their own currency and they hold some of the best eurokommissar posts.
  • Last Edit: 2017-12-18, 06:01:15 by ersi

  • string
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Re: Polawho?
Reply #3
Maybe I should put on record here my own politics inn the matter.

I voted remain in the UK Referendum and thought the result to leave the EU was daft.

However once the decision was made am intent on making the way forward as beneficial  to the UK as possible noting that in all things there are advantages as well as disadvantages. I had no particular disaffection with the EU.

But I have seen the clumsy way that the EU has approached the negotiations in claiming unreasonable and also undeserved payments and not honouring the defined process for States leaving the EU which is that all things should be agreed in the light of the post exit velrelationship. I have also noted statements from EU politicians demanding punishment if the UK for deciding to leave. So my friendly feelings towards the EU have been, let's say, damaged.

On the comments above,

The EU can speak sign language for all I care. It should go down well in the rest of the world.  Not.

At the moment there are wide differences in culture between European countries but that will lessen considerably over time if the EU survives, Professing unique culture differences is the stuff of separatist feelings.

The UK has stopped the formation of a European army and pan-European taxation. But, hey, Europe can now look forward to both. Maybe at least Europe will pay its own defence costs and not act like a parasite on the American tax payer.

To me it's  clear that as the power of the European Parliament increases, the influence of national governments will diminish to the point that they become anachronisms concerned only with ceremonial duties

  • rjhowie
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Re: Polawho?
Reply #4
Impossible ersi to leave the EU. Duh. There is a financially progressing country to the west of that bunch of misfits where employment is at it's highest for decades the London financial corner is high and where shares are going up and much else.  The EU is a club that is going nowhere and where small nations are in it because they had no  chance of being or doing much and instead exist due to sticking the begging bowl out.  As i have oft repeated each time the accounts do the damn books they cannot be accepted and thus disgusting. A company in that position would be legally shut down. We are getting out the damn mess and i would remind that we years ago joined a trading club and instead gradually got an undemocratic political nonsense control mob.

To make things even worse in that political control freakery dictatorship there are moves to unite the countries into an even closer "United States of Europe nonsense. May i further remind that the 27 others have to come to some arrangement as they depend even more on trading with us. We as i say never joined this political rubbish legally but it morphed into the shambles and as a staunch British Unionist I am glad we are getting out. Yes we can trade but no longer get controlled by a nonsense club.

Rule Britannia!  :yes:
"Quit you like men:be strong"

  • jax
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Re: Polawho?
Reply #5
The Brexit vote will have far greater consequences than the transfer of a couple billion pounds. These will be taxed, transferred, spent and gone. Just like you probably can't remember the dinner you had 30 days ago, you will forget you ever had them.

From thread on Macron and France:
It may also be that he is shrewder than we think, and that could have long-lasting consequences, particularly for the EU, and I am not sure we're going to like it. The EU has not been in such a strong position as now for about 20 years. The last time was in the middle 1990's when the dust from the collapse of the Iron Curtain had mostly settled. [Then we] got the Maastricht Treaty and the EU enlargement. The latter buried any hope of the French ruling classes to dominate the EU, the former reduced the rulers' possibilities to dominate France (offset by better possibilities inside and outside the EU). With Britain gone there might come some French-German power moves on level with Maastricht in their combined impact.

Care to ellucidate what is the "such a strong position" the EU has now?
Never, ever, the EU was at such low position.

The British traison doesn't make a stronger EU. Punish the traitors, I agree with that, but nobody should think that France can stop Germany. Never.
Is not possible to have a strong EU, while Germany is illegally deciding everything about Europe.
An invisible Reich, the fourth I suppose.
Europe is under occupation.

We agree, it seems, that the countries have the power in the EU, and really the most powerful at that, which in particular means Germany.

If we go back to the original vision of what was to become the EU, that vision was decidedly Charlemagnean. The ideal was the Germanic war criminal Charles the Great. A recreation of a new Western European superstate without Britain, Portugal, Sweden or Poland. Britain has never wanted that, so when in they immediately set out to corrupt it, by arguing for Greek membership. (They are still at it, so the same politicians that campaigned that Britain should leave the EU because of the danger of a Turkish invasion through the EU are the ones arguing that Turkey should become an EU member.)

I think the corrupted British vision is far better, but not accidentally it also means that the EU is less powerful. Whatever power the EU has is what the constituting nations give it. Many of those nations, not the EU itself, have had a prolonged crisis of confidence. The EU is relatively popular, while nations that have traditionally been strongly for EU have lost a lot of that support, nations that have been critical of the EU have begun to like it a lot more. It's a harmonisation of attitude so to speak. The troll factories in the US, Russia, Iran... have not had the deleterious effect intended. On the contrary, Putin, Trump, Erdogan and Brexit have made the EU far more attractive.

European integration in fields that for decades have been blocked by member nations (particularly Britain), may come on the agenda. As I said, I don't think I like it, and I suspect many of you won't either. Like the British I prefer an EU not so dysfunctional as not to get things done, but not so functional as to get ideas. The pendulum seems to be swinging towards the latter.
https://youtu.be/ZVYqB0uTKlE?t=1m45s

  • jax
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Re: Polawho?
Reply #6
The EU is moving inexorably towards a Federal State.

Individual countries are becoming irrelevant, and relics of yesteryear, curious cultural enclaves gradually losing distinction and individuality and submerging into enforced uniformity.

That is pretty much completely independent of the EU. You will see exactly the same forces afoot outside as inside the EU, being a member of the EU or not doesn't change that. The EU is about power and trade. Sure there is a veneer of Europeanness on top, Ode to Joy, and all that.

https://youtu.be/VnT7pT6zCcA

  • string
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Re: Polawho?
Reply #7
There's  a kernel of truth in that video Jax. The attitude of the Brits to identity cards is very accurately portrayed for example. Mind you identity cards as such will become obsolete with the advance of biometrics. The expansion of Europe eastwards which the UK encouraged was to promote trade, not Union. It had the effect though if creating vassal states in hoc to the EU. ... Unintended consequences.

In a similar theme, it may be recalled that May has spoken on a close relationship with the EU after Brexit; more to the practical, it has been explained internally here in the UK that we gave a vested interest in the EU doing well in view of our expected close trading relationship. All of that underpins a genuine sentiment along those lines.

However the option of a no-deal is a real option and by no means gone and while that remains a credible option and especially if that really does happen, I sense that Pro EU sentiment in the UK is waning. It's not a healthy situation in the short term at least for the UK but nor is it so for the EU.

I remain optimistic for a mutually good result but there's  always a chance that the UK will be outside telling those East European States "Come outside, it's  lovely".

  • Last Edit: 2017-12-19, 16:32:31 by string

  • ersi
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Re: Polawho?
Reply #8
I had no particular disaffection with the EU.

But I have seen the clumsy way that the EU has approached the negotiations in claiming unreasonable and also undeserved payments and not honouring the defined process for States leaving the EU which is that all things should be agreed in the light of the post exit velrelationship. I have also noted statements from EU politicians demanding punishment if the UK for deciding to leave. So my friendly feelings towards the EU have been, let's say, damaged.
Look, you were wrong to have friendly feelings towards EU in the first place. Not a good idea to have a feelings-relationship with impersonal entities. Such entities do not embody any ideals. It's better to view them as pragmatic tools for more specific purposes, but better high than low purposes.

Your own country has the sort of low cynical relationship to EU as described in jax's clip. It's a good idea to be aware of this, to be realistic and diplomatic.

From the continental point of view, we (the continentals) are aware of the cynicism and self-interest of the UK. We would like to be friendly and we would be happy to consider the UK as a member among European nations. But let's be honest: The UK came in negotiating (i.e. demanding like a spoiled brat) the biggest number of exceptions to themselves and, while inside, kept asking for more. This is the objective character of the UK. There is no friendly way to initiate a divorce, but luckily under Cameron the UK maneuvred itself into the position that made the UK the initiator of the divorce.

The UK has stopped the formation of a European army and pan-European taxation. But, hey, Europe can now look forward to both. Maybe at least Europe will pay its own defence costs and not act like a parasite on the American tax payer.

To me it's  clear that as the power of the European Parliament increases, the influence of national governments will diminish to the point that they become anachronisms concerned only with ceremonial duties
???
Views like this do not reflect the objective nature of the EU, but they fully reflect the warped perception prevalent in the UK.

UK stopped pan-European taxation? In reality, UK only fought to be individually exempt from pan-European taxation, while taxation for everyone else was okay. (Depends of course which particular issue you have in mind.)

UK stopped pan-European army and that's a good thing? It's an ambivalent thing, at best, particularly in connection with the silly view that the EU acts like a parasite on the American tax-payer.

The parliament has hardly any power in the EU. Eurokommissars have the power. There is no legal or institutional corrective to the kommissars, unfortunately. The only corrective against their abuse of power is collegial agreement within their own clique. The UK in its own narrow self-interest always had a destructive effect to the sense of collegiality.

It's not that I like the EU as it is, but there is no way to alter it other than destroy it, which would make someone/something worse to take over the power vacuum, so let's be sensible about it. God save us from the UK. Good riddance, seriously.

As to national governments, given the ambivalent legitimacy of the EU and its likely eventual doom, the EU can be viewed as a protective shade for the time being. I'm of course presupposing that national entities ("states" or "countries") consist of (a) populated communities with concrete linguistic and cultural cohesion and historical tradition rather than (b) governments with fiscal power. Apart from common currency, (b) is not under further threat from the EU, much less is (a).

  • jax
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Re: Polawho?
Reply #9
Nation states hold the power in the EU, and this is a good thing. You may call them Eurokommissars if you want, but they are usually called Prime Ministers. More Europarliament means more federalism, and that is a bad thing.

There are four power centres in Europe: Berlin, London, Paris, and Brussels (maybe one day Ankara, but let's not get ahead of ourselves). Brussels only as the capital of EUropa. If the EU was dismantled there would be three left. The power balance in EU/Brussels is complicated. The engine used to be Paris-Berlin (Bonn), each had what the other wanted, and together they could rule the rest. It was 843 all over again.

London decided this was not in their interest, and it was better to expand and conquer, an expansion that went as far North-East as Estonia (in part due to Nordic pressure), and as far South-East as most-of-Cyprus (in part due to Greek pressure). Berlin-Paris is still strong, but no longer sufficient.

In Brussels The Rest is not as strong as Berlin-Paris-London. That is, technically Berlin-Paris-London would need the support of Estonia (or other rank-breaking country) to form a blocking minority, but as hard as it would be for the Big 3 to agree, it is easy comparing to the Other 25.

Now that Britain is leaving the triumvirate and the Big 3 becomes Big 2, it could seem we would be back to Charlemagne 2.0. That particular Humpty Dumpty would be hard to restore, but now is the best chance in a generation.

  • Frenzie
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Re: Polawho?
Reply #10
UK stopped pan-European army and that's a good thing? It's an ambivalent thing, at best, particularly in connection with the silly view that the EU acts like a parasite on the American tax-payer.
We reject nuclear weapons, yet we've got dozens if not hundreds of American nuclear bombs in the Benelux alone. We provide the tactical capabilities to drop them on Russia (to put it bluntly: where else?). This is something we tolerate in exchange for a fruitful diplomatic relationship with the US, but to claim that such actions make us parasites is Obama's balderdash, happily parroted by the orange toddler. We'd just as lief see these "parasitic" offensive capabilities evaporate. Like many other nations, we could easily develop our own nuclear weapons within a year or two, should we desire such. (Pakistani spies stole Dutch technology in the '70s, in case you didn't know.)

  • rjhowie
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Re: Polawho?
Reply #11
Expected waffle from Jax of course. We decided to leave the EU which is NOT properly run at all. Never oonce on the previous opera Forum nor here has there been any reaction to the hard fact that the EU books are never legally cleared. So what does that basically tell about money. As for the other waffle about like not remembering a meal say from ages ago is really very frankly, piffle. All that money we dish out to the yaaker lot in Brussels will be spent here. We could use the same argument  about any money given by the EU for any projects here. The hard truth is that with such large sums not going out of GB it will be HERE and the EU can shuffle on about being unable to run financial legal situations and dish money out to countries in Europe that are hopeless about running their own affairs. With the lowest unemployment for decades and the world standard of the City of London we can leave Europe to fight amongst themselves. Trying to use the rubbish that we would not financially benefit is an insult to normal intelligence.

The matter of the hard truth regarding Europe depending on British trade is danced around and all those unelected control freaks over there who dictate to our democracy will be a thing of the past. Yes we can trade with Europe and as I point out there are those over there who would suffer on no consideration. We however can then trade where we damn well like and the massive hordes of immigrants flooding into the EU will continue. They are not massively flooding due to persecution but for money, etc. There will be teething problems I dare say for us and for some countries in the EU who will be devastated if Brussels get bloody minded about us.

We have decided to leave and entitled to do so and we will not end up like the so-called free countries that have to be in the EU as they are only begging bowl nations. Germany rules the roost and at least this third attempt to rule Europe is not a warfare one for a change. Have been in France once and Holland twice enjoying both (did the ex-colonies twice years ago!) but at least when i go back to Holland and visit William Third's old palaces again I will breath a sight of relief that I am going home to a properly free country and not one that i going to put up with being in the United States of Europe - and it is true that is the way they want to go so goodbye freedom across the channel.  :hat:  :yes:
"Quit you like men:be strong"

  • string
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Re: Polawho?
Reply #12
The EU is moving inexorably towards a Federal State.

Individual countries are becoming irrelevant, and relics of yesteryear, curious cultural enclaves gradually losing distinction and individuality and submerging into enforced uniformity.

That is pretty much completely independent of the EU. You will see exactly the same forces afoot outside as inside the EU, being a member of the EU or not doesn't change that. The EU is about power and trade. Sure there is a veneer of Europeanness on top, Ode to Joy, and all that.

I don't  agree with you there, I think the decay of the original Nation State has been going on for some time and, as I wrote, is inexorable.
Think of it this way; I'll  use my English Government hierarchy here but I assume it is much the same in all countries.

Start with the individual

Individual》parish council》town council》county council》regional government》national government》European Government.

At the moment the term "Government" is not quite there for Europe but more and more funding is tied to EU decision making, leaving the national governments abandoned by the population as a provider in that area of subsidies, policy eff. Furthermore, that funding is given to local levels of government or regional levels, but not normally national level.

Overall the above is a heck of a lot of government layers and one has to ask the questions Are there too many layers and if so which one can we drop? I think the answer is going more and stealthily more the national level, increasing the status of the regional government at the expense of the national.

An increase in the local tribal identities is likely and for "power" people will look to the EU, not the former national constructs.

  • ersi
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Re: Polawho?
Reply #13
Individual》parish council》town council》county council》regional government》national government》European Government.

[...]

Overall the above is a heck of a lot of government layers...
Artificially increased by inserting "individual" and probably also "regional government".

Now, I know France has some seven layers of government[1] and maybe some other big&old&respectable continental countries do too, but Mid-and-Northern European countries generally have two or three layers. So your argument works only if everybody think and act British. Luckily not everybody is British.
The lowest of which, canton commune, can include just one person, so the question arises who is the ruler and who the ruled under such circumstance. It is apparently just a nonsense formal relic level.
  • Last Edit: 2017-12-19, 17:11:29 by ersi

  • string
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Re: Polawho?
Reply #14
Look, you were wrong to have friendly feelings towards EU in the first place. Not a good idea to have a feelings-relationship with impersonal entities. Such entities do not embody any ideals. It's better to view them as pragmatic tools for more specific purposes, but better high than low purposes.

I should have written about Europeans, not the EU, I sit here now with my Danish wife and brother in law wondering whether to serve English beer with Aquavit tonight or skip it and go to a nice glass of Sangre del Toro.

Your own country has the sort of low cynical relationship to EU as described in jax's clip. It's a good idea to be aware of this, to be realistic and diplomatic.As do we all apparently

From the continental point of view, we (the continentals) are aware of the cynicism and self-interest of the UK. We would like to be friendly and we would be happy to consider the UK as a member among European nations. But let's be honest: The UK came in negotiating (i.e. demanding like a spoiled brat) the biggest number of exceptions to themselves and, while inside, kept asking for more. This is the objective character of the UK. There is no friendly way to initiate a divorce, but luckily under Cameron the UK maneuvred itself into the position that made the UK the initiator of the divorce.

You are arguing in slogans, you'll start talking about cake soon. Look at the basic, both sides want a good result for themselves.

Quote from: string on 2017-12-18, 12:00:12The UK has stopped the formation of a European army and pan-European taxation. But, hey, Europe can now look forward to both. Maybe at least Europe will pay its own defence costs and not act like a parasite on the American tax payer.

To me it's  clear that as the power of the European Parliament increases, the influence of national governments will diminish to the point that they become anachronisms concerned only with ceremonial duties
 ??? 
Views like this do not reflect the objective nature of the EU, but they fully reflect the warped perception prevalent in the UK.

UK stopped pan-European taxation? In reality, UK only fought to be individually exempt from pan-European taxation, while taxation for everyone else was okay. (Depends of course which particular issue you have in mind.)
The meaning of Pan European is that it is applied to all parts of the EU, not part only
The UK stopped pan-European army and that's a good thing? It's an ambivalent thing, at best, particularly in connection with the silly view that the EU acts like a parasite on the American tax-payer.

It is not silly, the US has kept us all safe for many years and Europe has not paid it's fair share• A European Army makes sense only if the EU is one country, otherwise It is a duplicate of NATO and is wasteful with more Generals, more headquarters in addition to the national and NATO facilities [/]

The parliament has hardly any power in the EU. Eurokommissars have the power. There is no legal or institutional corrective to the kommissars, unfortunately. The only corrective against their abuse of power is collegial agreement within their own clique. The UK in its own narrow self-interest always had a destructive effect to the sense of collegiality.

The EU Executive is indeed exceeding what would be the more defensible role of an apolitical civil service; I would hope that Europeans will get wise to that soon and deal with it. It was a concern that had great weight in the UK for the leave campaign, sentiments with which you seem to agree.  I argued against it at the time, but it was difficult

It's not that I like the EU as it is, but there is no way to alter it other than destroy it, which would make someone/something worse to take over the power vacuum, so let's be sensible about it. God save us from the UK. Good riddance, seriously.

As to national governments, given the ambivalent legitimacy of the EU and its likely eventual doom, the EU can be viewed as a protective shade for the time being. I'm of course presupposing that national entities ("states" or "countries") consist of (a) populated communities with concrete linguistic and cultural cohesion and historical tradition rather than (b) governments with fiscal power. Apart from common currency, (b) is not under further threat from the EU, much less is (a).


Re the "good riddance stuff". Over the last year or two I've  peeked in here and seen comments of that type being thrown around. I'd  rather not contribute to it. Seriously.

I agree that the EU needs reform, my sorrow is that the UK is not in it to help which I honestly think would have been the case if "my side" had not lost the referendum. As it is, were there another referendum  I'm  not sure I would vote the same way, too much vitriol has been vomited.

  • string
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Re: Polawho?
Reply #15
Individual》parish council》town council》county council》regional government》national government》European Government.

[...]

Overall the above is a heck of a lot of government layers...
Artificially increased by inserting "individual" and probably also "regional government".

Now, I know France has some seven layers of government[1] and maybe some other big&old&respectable continental countries do too, but Mid-and-Northern European countries generally have two or three layers. So your argument works only if everybody think and act British. Luckily not everybody is British.

Perhaps if I'd  used the word "Voter" it would have been easier to understand.

Didn't  follow the rest; maybe somewhere perhaps in a few cases there might be some exceptions to what the insidious British do is hardly a convincing counter argument.
The lowest of which, canton commune, can include just one person, so the question arises who is the ruler and who the ruled under such circumstance. It is apparently just a nonsense formal relic level.

  • ersi
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Re: Polawho?
Reply #16
@string If you are still typing on a phone, maybe get a rubber stylus. They are much cheaper than keyboards.

...maybe somewhere perhaps in a few cases...
Incidentally in the overwhelming majority of the cases.

But yes, I understand, for the Brits, depending on the historical era, either France or Germany is the most imminent big threat and everybody else is the underdog that must be rallied against the threat. This is innate to Brits and this is why no union with them can work.

I agree that the EU needs reform...
But I don't agree. Incapacity for reform is in the bones of the EU and it's good this way.

Why would you want reform? To make the EU more effective? To indeed become a superstate that would obviate nation states? I thought you were concerned about the demise of nation states. Now, I am certainly concerned about what effect a highly operative EU might have on the power of nation states, which is why I want the EU as it is. It may grab more functions as it likes, army or whatever, but it shall be clumsy and not obviate national armies, just like Interpol has not obviated local police authorities.

But I don't want a divided and quarrelling EU, which was how the UK always made it (the US and Russia can in turns manipulate the EU into internal disagreement whenever they like, no help needed from the UK). I want an EU under the spell of self-importance, casting an image of collegial consensus over the world, while really being a hollow shell inside. It's at its best right now.
  • Last Edit: 2017-12-19, 18:00:19 by ersi

  • ersi
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Re: Polawho?
Reply #17
Aha, I guess this is what string had in mind, but in true RJ fashion he failed to refer to the source: EU begins process that could see Poland stripped of voting rights
"Within a period of two years a significant number of laws have been adopted - 13 in total - which put in serious risk the independence of the judiciary and the separation of powers", the vice president of the commission, Frans Timmermans, told reporters in Brussels.

"Judicial reforms in Poland mean that the country's judiciary is now under the political control of the ruling majority. In the absence of judicial independence, serious questions are raised about the effective application of EU law."

The issuing of a formal warning to Poland has been recommended to the member states under the first clause of the, until now, unused article 7 procedure. "It is with a heavy heart that we have decided to initiate Article 7.1", Timmermans said. "But the facts leave us with no choice".
Now, this is a serious blow to Poland as a member state of EU, but let's remember that such blows have been delivered previously in various ways.

- Diplomatic bullying against Austria when the people elected the wrong party into the government
- Financial bullying against Greece when they defaulted
- Name-calling against Hungary during the refugee crisis

It's the sort of stupid undemocratic EU we have. And it cannot be made more democratic, because it's incapable of reform. Whatever the eurokommissars have signed is as good as set in stone (not that it's followed to the letter by the big ones - it's ruthlessly enforced on the small ones, by the minority on the overwhelming majority).

And it also confirms that the power in the EU is in the hands of eurokommissars, by which I mean first and foremost the commissioners of course. The power is not in the hands of the prime ministers. Poland has a prime minister, but he can do nothing in this matter.

  • Frenzie
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Re: Polawho?
Reply #18
Now, I know France has some seven layers of government[1] and maybe some other big&old&respectable continental countries do too, but Mid-and-Northern European countries generally have two or three layers. So your argument works only if everybody think and act British. Luckily not everybody is British.
I don't really know how the British political system works in detail, but I don't quite understand what the problem is supposed to be with the "layers" that exist. (Incidentally, Belgium has the most complicated system I'm familiar with.)

In the BeNe(and more or less Lux), you have:
  • The municipality. In theory it can do basically anything it isn't forbidden to do. Which means an awful lot except for stuff like international diplomacy and raising an army. This is pretty much the same in Belgium. In some countries only "cities" have such rights.
  • The watership. This doesn't exist in Belgium. (Video explanation here.) It takes care of water-related things like dikes and polders, obviously.
  • The province. While in theory you could make things like infrastructure entirely municipal business, it just doesn't make much sense to.
  • The state. This is where things deviate in Belgium, because you have the "regions" that largely fulfill the same role as the state does in the Netherlands. Depending on your inclinations you could call the regions either superprovinces or substates. In the Netherlands, the Second Chamber is directly elected, while the First Chamber is chosen by electors from the provinces (who are chosen in the provincial elections). This might have originated as a historical remnant from the time when it was similar to the UK, with the elected House of Commons and the unelected House of Lords, but now it serves as a system of checks and balances by the provinces on the state.
  • The federal state. This doesn't exist in the Netherlands, but in Belgium it takes care of the army, foreign policy and such.

Most of these "layers" are directly chosen by the voter and it wouldn't make sense to centralize things too much, so I don't really see what the problem is supposed to be. It's just that Belgium (and the UK?) has an extra somewhat superfluous "layer" but they'd still be subdepartments in the relevant Ministry of X if they weren't there.

  • string
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Re: Polawho?
Reply #19
Frenzied- your description if the Dutch government hierarchy seems to show that the state is already considered defunct in the Netherlands (Maybe in part due to endless coalition government's and the passing if policies which are not popularly mainstream?). But whether that lessening if the state is regrettable or not depends on where one sees one's essence; if one's identity, in town, region or state or, indeed thd EU. But I think it illustrates my point that the concept of the nation states as we have known them in Europe is shrinking.

One could be trite and argue that Belgium does so nicely as a result if hosting the EU that it might be expected to be the last place to acknowledge a downside but what is its influencd on Wallon / Flemish independence vis-a-vis the Belgian state? Is the latter becoming more or less relevant?

ERSI - no I had not been referring to the Polish business, rather arguing (debating) from the viewpoint of the logic of politics in Europe.

The views you expressed about over-stuffed commissioners, as I mentioned before, were.also used as a mainstay of the Leave campaign in the UK.

It really is time those peopk were brought to heel. I don't  share your faith in the benefits of political anarchy in the EU being z good thing for the member state. I think the EU can be of more service if it us reformed and its ambitions downsized.

The EU Executive seem to be intent on inventing laws that keep their megalomaniacs in power, they need to revert to their proper status of apolitical civil servants.


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Re: Polawho?
Reply #20
@string If you are still typing on a phone, maybe get a rubber stylus. They are much cheaper than keyboards.

...maybe somewhere perhaps in a few cases...
Incidentally in the overwhelming majority of the cases.

But yes, I understand, for the Brits, depending on the historical era, either France or Germany is the most imminent big threat and everybody else is the underdog that must be rallied against the threat. This is innate to Brits and this is why no union with them can work.

I agree that the EU needs reform...
But I don't agree. Incapacity for reform is in the bones of the EU and it's good this way.

Why would you want reform? To make the EU more effective? To indeed become a superstate that would obviate nation states? I thought you were concerned about the demise of nation states. Now, I am certainly concerned about what effect a highly operative EU might have on the power of nation states, which is why I want the EU as it is. It may grab more functions as it likes, army or whatever, but it shall be clumsy and not obviate national armies, just like Interpol has not obviated local police authorities.

But I don't want a divided and quarrelling EU, which was how the UK always made it (the US and Russia can in turns manipulate the EU into internal disagreement whenever they like, no help needed from the UK). I want an EU under the spell of self-importance, casting an image of collegial consensus over the world, while really being a hollow shell inside. It's at its best right now.

Actually I was paraphrasing your post although, admittedly, exaggerating for effect.

I think you will find that many countries in Europe have been happily fighting different neighbours over years past.

Re Europe. I happen to cherish the diversity that Europe has to offer, stuffing all the counties into one mould will turn that diversity in mush (IMHO).

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Re: Polawho?
Reply #21
Most of these "layers" are directly chosen by the voter and it wouldn't make sense to centralize things too much, so I don't really see what the problem is supposed to be.
To me it sounds like the argument is that, as the number of layers increase, the EU at some point will propose to erase one or some of them and that will "naturally" be the national level. Bogus argument of course. At best (worst) a country will be diplomatically or politically cornered or not get funds. Brexit is a situation where UK played itself into corner. Poland may be bullied into submission, like Austria was in the Haider situation. But nobody will erase whatever levels of government they have.

Anyway, none of this has anything to do with the number of levels of government. In mid-and-northern Europe there are generally just two or three significant layers, nothing to remove. In Estonia we have municipal level and national level where people can vote representatives. There is also an intermediate level (counties) that has no elective bodies, but serves as district division for government agencies and branches like police, judicial, transportation and employment offices, and the like. That's it. The same in Finland. Sweden is a bit more complex, but only a bit.

And let's also remember that voting for the EU (EU Parliament, that is) is a joke, always was, always will be, and everybody knows it. Popular participation is almost non-existent. The parties in member states simply send to the EU Parliament whomever they don't want to see for the time being. The real power struggle is for the eurokommissar posts, something that people cannot vote for. The EU is inherently undemocratic. Popular vote is designed to have no effect on it.

I think you will find that many countries in Europe have been happily fighting different neighbours over years past.
Yes. So? What sort of insight does this provide into EU or Brexit or whatever?

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Re: Polawho?
Reply #22
Well Frenzie can I remind that Gt Britain is a very exceptional country as unlike the rest and their routine we do not have a Constitution. Our politicians occasionally make a comment about a thing not being in the Constitution which i think is daft. But in practice what they are referring to is the tradition of doing things. So there you are a nation that once had the biggest Empire has a tremendous history and system and not written thing to argue over. Vwalla!!
"Quit you like men:be strong"

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Re: Polawho?
Reply #23
Frenzied- your description if the Dutch government hierarchy seems to show that the state is already considered defunct in the Netherlands (Maybe in part due to endless coalition government's and the passing if policies which are not popularly mainstream?). But whether that lessening if the state is regrettable or not depends on where one sees one's essence; if one's identity, in town, region or state or, indeed thd EU. But I think it illustrates my point that the concept of the nation states as we have known them in Europe is shrinking.
Perhaps I was unclear or it's just a matter of having grown up in the Netherlands so I consider something self-evident that isn't, but it's in Belgium that the state is weaker than it was, say, 150 years ago because it now effectively consists of various  regional governments such as Flanders and Wallonia. Back then, Belgium didn't have a federal state either. The problem was that the large majority Dutch-speaking part of Belgium was virtually unrepresented in the French-speaking Belgian state.

Belgium consciously decided to become a federal state between 1970 and 1993. However, the process started in the 19th century, when even the French-speakers realized it was unacceptable in a civilized country that someone could be found guilty in court just because none of the judges (or anyone!) spoke Dutch.

Well Frenzie can I remind that Gt Britain is a very exceptional country as unlike the rest and their routine we do not have a Constitution.
It is said that the constitution of Belgium (at least as it was in 1831) was basically the British constitution collected into a single document. The UK might lack one or two restrictions that constitutions typically apply to governments, but I'm not sure if that's something to be proud of. When you get right down to it, it would only make something like this[1] slightly easier.
"Turkey's Erdogan could govern until 2029 under plans to change constitution"

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Re: Polawho?
Reply #24
...it's in Belgium that the state is weaker than it was, say, 150 years ago because it now effectively consists of various  regional governments such as Flanders and Wallonia. Back then, Belgium didn't have a federal state either.
And for string it is worth to emphasise that the move from a unitary state to federal was an internal development in Belgium, not demanded by or influenced by the EU. No other country has followed this move or considered it - the EU does not require it.

After this move, the people in Belgium identify more closely with their local/regional government, not with the federal/state level. It has even occurred that when Belgium state was unable to form a government for a year, it had no repercussions in the country, showing that the state government is practically inconsequential in the lives of Belgians. But this, again, is peculiar to Belgium, it is an internal development and not due to the EU.

...the French-speakers realized it was unacceptable in a civilized country that someone could be found guilty in court just because none of the judges (or anyone!) spoke Dutch.
Interesting. The French in France have not realised this, so what is it that makes the Wallons think differently?