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Topic: What's going on in Benelux? (Read 6559 times)

  • ersi
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What's going on in Benelux?
Opération antiterroriste en Belgique: la police visée par des menaces, une interpellation à Molenbeek

Not sure if Lesoir.be is some major news source over there, but I have had it in my bookmarks for at least a decade. The ongoing story in the news right now is a major counterterrorist operation in Verviers, Belgium.

Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Reply #1
According to Google Translate...

In the aftermath of a dozen raids in three districts ( Brussels, Verviers and Halle-Vilvoorde ) as part of a broad anti-terrorist operation to dismantle a group of jihadists from Syria who planned income imminent major attacks against police, the threat of attack still looms . The alert level was raised to three on a scale of four. Therefore, the security has been tightened around the police , as in Charleroi where officers stand guard , guns at the ready. He asked not to go to the police in case of absolute necessity.....

  • Frenzie
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Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Reply #2
Not sure if Lesoir.be is some major news source over there, but I have had it in my bookmarks for at least a decade.

I have no idea how the website fairs, but Le Soir is one of the bigger newspapers.

Here's one that might sound odd to Americans: in Antwerp police officers have permission to take their service weapons home (link).

  • ersi
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Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Reply #3

I have no idea how the website fairs, but Le Soir is one of the bigger newspapers.

Then I must have found the right thing when, once upon a time, I was looking for important Belgian newspapers.

I tried to search our site to see if we had a thread about this region. Now I notice we do: The Europe thread.

However, there's something peculiar about Benelux and particularly about Belgium. The capital is Brussels, which is also one of the so-called capitals of EU at the same time.

While local governance has been historically good under all circumstances, the country itself is a historical oddity. Wikipedia says there were some riots in 1830 after people had seen some nationalistic opera. The riots, called the Belgian Revolution, led to the declaration of independence.

While any nationalistic revolution narrative is always cute and enjoyable, it seems to have been dominated by the French-speaking population who completely ignored the presence of another ethnicity that would have benefitted from totally different national borders, while with Belgium as a nation itself benefits no one in particular. In my opinion, strings were pulled collectively in the surrounding countries and the riots were an effect or symptom rather than the cause. Precious few countries are born by self-determination and neither did Belgium.

Ethno-linguistically (and probably also loyalty-wise) divided, the country doesn't know whether to be unitary or federal. This century the country has suffered severely from the federal experiment. The parliamentary part of the constitution is so off base that Belgium has been without a prime minister for long periods, so I have heard. Do you have one now? Does it make a difference if there is a prime minister or not? Curiously, at the same time it hasn't occurred to anyone to do away with the monarchy.

Very, very weird country. Then again, maybe not so weird. Most what I said describes the EU too one way or another. Belgium is like the EU in miniature.

  • Frenzie
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Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Reply #4
While local governance has been historically good under all circumstances, the country itself is a historical oddity. Wikipedia says there were some riots in 1830 after people had seen some nationalistic opera. The riots, called the Belgian Revolution, led to the declaration of independence.

Wikipedia is indeed hilarious.
On 25 August 1830 riots erupted in Brussels and shops were looted. Theatergoers who had just watched a nationalistic opera joined the mob. Uprisings followed elsewhere in the country. Factories were occupied and machinery destroyed. Order was restored briefly after William committed troops to the Southern Provinces but rioting continued and leadership was taken up by radicals, who started talking of secession.[4]

:lol:

While any nationalistic revolution narrative is always cute and enjoyable, it seems to have been dominated by the French-speaking population who completely ignored the presence of another ethnicity that would have benefitted from totally different national borders, while with Belgium as a nation itself benefits no one in particular. In my opinion, strings were pulled collectively in the surrounding countries and the riots were an effect or symptom rather than the cause. Precious few countries are born by self-determination and neither did Belgium.

France is always supporting French speakers of all sorts, but in this case we can primarily blame the fact that the Flemish upper classes had adopted the French language under Austrian rule. They weren't waiting for things like a restoration of the language of their ancestors or an educated populace. They got the populace on their side with widespread support from the Catholic Church against a Protestant monarch.

Do you have one now? Does it make a difference if there is a prime minister or not? Curiously, at the same time it hasn't occurred to anyone to do away with the monarchy.

It mostly makes a difference for international affairs. The monarch is just a form of symbolism. While in theory I suppose I'm a republican, it's really quite irrelevant. It also seems to have a major touristic appeal on the likes of Germans, French, and Americans.

Very, very weird country. Then again, maybe not so weird. Most what I said describes the EU too one way or another. Belgium is like the EU in miniature.

What's weird is the modern nation state. But anyway, look up the Benelux on Wikipedia. Most things later implemented by the EU were tested here first.

  • ersi
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Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Reply #5

Very, very weird country. Then again, maybe not so weird. Most what I said describes the EU too one way or another. Belgium is like the EU in miniature.

What's weird is the modern nation state. But anyway, look up the Benelux on Wikipedia. Most things later implemented by the EU were tested here first.

I know. They tested it, it failed, and they reimplemented it on the EU level anyway. I would strongly prefer a Swiss-style supranational arrangement for the EU. Except with a single official language - Latin :)

  • Frenzie
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Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Reply #6
What failed? I <3 the Benelux and the EU. :P

  • mjmsprt40
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Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Reply #7
I have to admit to having to look up "Benelux". OK, now I know, so I can follow along and get something out of this.
What would happen if a large asteroid slammed into the Earth?
According to several tests involving a watermelon and a large hammer, it would be really bad!

  • jseaton2311
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Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Reply #8
Anyone see the movie "If it is Tuesday, this must be Belgium"?  Comedy/Love Story and a commentary on how some Americans see Europe.  They go on prearranged tours that stick to a strict schedule which whisks them around Europe on a whirlwind tour.  They don't really know where they are unless they check the schedule...lol.  Old movie and off topic here, but a good commentary on American tourists that I'm sure rj would have a field day with!   :cheers:  :knight:
James J

  • Frenzie
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Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Reply #9
Well, I like the cover art, although it's probably meaningful to people who've been to Antwerp.

You might want to check out In Bruges. I'd describe it as a good adaptation of The Dumb Waiter set in Brugge.

  • ersi
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Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Reply #10

What failed? I <3 the Benelux and the EU. :P

They are quite okay as separate countries (and Belgium would be okay as a collection of municipalities divided along ethnic lines between France and Netherlands). I consider their supranational cooperation an utter failure. It's not an organisation. It's by far less visible and makes by far less sense than the Nordic Council.

I would be okay with the EU if it worked either in the manner of the Nordic Council or in the manner of Swiss Federation. The way it is now, the member countries have no equality, and the union has no common defined interest that would have any connection to the members. Both the US and Russia have it easy to manipulate the members separately to steer the union in their own ulterior motives, and they both do it regularly. Similarly, Benelux is a set of neighbouring countries, not a union of any sort. It's quite a scandal that the EU pretends to be anything substantial when it's easily proven otherwise at every critical turn.

  • ersi
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Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Reply #11
To state my opinion of the EU and Benelux another way:

Internally the EU is an oligarchy of technocrats. People feel the need for some equality and justice. The technocrats rule with this promise, but they really regulate and legislate for their own convenience. They end up being simply a burden.

Externally the EU is like a headless chicken. Take the international banking rules, which were set up precisely as the US imposed them (e.g. L/C's from EU banks are dispatched citing US law that permit breach of privacy), the more recent GMO de-regulation (EU allows "member states to restrict or prohibit the cultivation of GMO", i.e. US can negotiate with the countries separately and break them down one by one), and reaction to urgent crises such as annexation of Crimea. That's the behaviour of a headless chicken.

Weren't these features present already in the Benelux experiment?

  • Frenzie
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Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Reply #12
Weren't these features present already in the Benelux experiment?

I'm not sure I even comprehend what you're complaining about. The Benelux was initiated as a customs union between three wholly independent countries, not as a republican reincarnation of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands. Similarly the EU was and is first and foremost a customs and now also monetary union, currently taking baby steps toward becoming something more akin to the United States within the first decades of its existence. Yes, I happen to be in favor of integrating all of our respective national entities into an EU diplomatic corps and an EU army, and yes, I believe that Crimea shows these would be good things to happen for Europe and the world. In short, it sounds like you're complaining that 1950s Europe didn't create that which we may finally be ready for in the 2010s thanks precisely to those humble and universally acceptable beginnings. I truly don't understand where you're even coming from. Did the Estonian government present the EU as something it's not when they sold it to the Estonian people?

Regarding the "visibility" of the Benelux, two points:

1) Post-1995, after many decades of Benelux success, the most important goals have been supplanted by the EU. Mission accomplished.
2) The Nordic Council is quite invisible from over here too.

  • ersi
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Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Reply #13

I'm not sure I even comprehend what you're complaining about.

Hmm. Good question actually. Even made me thinking a bit.

My complaint is politics in general, I guess. People generally do their job, furthering circumstances of life so that it benefits their neighbours, but politicians are just leeching on the rest of the population while pretending to be useful. I did mention a few specific things that have gotten in my way. They are not small things. They are political agreements that are meant to last. There's no legal way to prevent their disastrous consequences.


Yes, I happen to be in favor of integrating all of our respective national entities into an EU diplomatic corps and an EU army, and yes, I believe that Crimea shows these would be good things to happen for Europe and the world.

Agreed, if the integration did only good,* if the EU diplomatic corps produced some actual results in our own interests,** and the reaction to the annexation of Crimea would have been something honourable, statesmanly. None of this is the case, unfortunately. And I don't mean "unfortunately" as in "hopefully it will get better". It's my verdict on the EU's character. The EU's character is problematic.

* Ready to give up your own identity in favour of integration? The pro-integration cosmo-metro multi-cultists are forgetting that some of the population (namely the overwhelming majority of the natives of each member country) have an identity to keep under the pressure of encroaching integration. The dark side of integration is assimilation. It so happens that e.g. Estonians are barely above the threshold of assimilating others. More likely we are on the verge of becoming assimilated, i.e. the identity is endangered.

** See my list of complaints.


In short, it sounds like you're complaining that 1950s Europe didn't create that which we may finally be ready for in the 2010s thanks precisely to those humble and universally acceptable beginnings.

Maybe this is the complaint of some in the Benelux, but in the Baltic countries we have sharper complaints against the entire post-WWII world order. We object to Yalta agreements that gave us borders as bad as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact did. We complain that the EU gives us neither any consolation for that those agreements took place or the security against their ever happening again.


I truly don't understand where you're even coming from. Did the Estonian government present the EU as something it's not when they sold it to the Estonian people?

The voting result was narrow. A third of the population was in favour. A third was opposed. A third abstained. Just before and after the real voting, the polls showed that the no-side was slightly leading, whereas the actual referendum was counted as if the yes-side won. As with votings in general here, particularly after the introduction of the oh-so-progressive e-voting, the results look fishy, smelly, stinky. Even if they are not outright rigged, they are still unsatisfactory.


Regarding the "visibility" of the Benelux, two points:

1) Post-1995, after many decades of Benelux success, the most important goals have been supplanted by the EU. Mission accomplished.

So the success of Benelux consists in the fact that it was supplanted. Maybe from your angle this indeed looks like a success.


2) The Nordic Council is quite invisible from over here too.

Could be, because the Nordic Council is a truly internal thing. They don't decide their security/foreign policies together. They discuss it, like they discussed the embarrassing submarine in Swedish waters but, for example, the countries belong to Nato or don't s they wish, or are neutral or inclined to friendliness with Russia (a personal problem with the current Finnish minister of foreign affairs specifically, not the rest of the current leadership of Finland) as per their own national doctrines. Still, in the Baltic countries the Nordic Council meetings are closely followed and the Baltic countries have envoys and attachés or whatever they are called on those meetings, in addition to journalists.

  • Frenzie
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Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Reply #14
My complaint is politics in general, I guess. People generally do their job, furthering circumstances of life so that it benefits their neighbours, but politicians are just leeching on the rest of the population while pretending to be useful.

I believe the bureaucracy and the waste is all (well, perhaps not all -- they can quit the antics in Strasbourg) part of the requirements of a democracy. Some of our best and clearest laws come down directly from our oh-so-benevolent dictators Napoleon and Hitler. It can seem annoying, but it also defends us against caprices. Btw, did you read the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy? ;)

Maybe this is the complaint of some in the Benelux, but in the Baltic countries we have sharper complaints against the entire post-WWII world order. We object to Yalta agreements that gave us borders as bad as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact did. We complain that the EU gives us neither any consolation for that those agreements took place or the security against their ever happening again.

That's quite interesting, thanks. I would like that to change, for sure.

Ready to give up your own identity in favour of integration? The pro-integration cosmo-metro multi-cultists are forgetting that some of the population (namely the overwhelming majority of the natives of each member country) have an identity to keep under the pressure of encroaching integration. The dark side of integration is assimilation. It so happens that e.g. Estonians are barely above the threshold of assimilating others. More likely we are on the verge of becoming assimilated, i.e. the identity is endangered.

I do not believe the EU holds any of those weird ideas of centuries past, like one state one religion or one state one people. Quite the opposite. Incidentally, the Frisians are fiercely proud of their language, it's spoken by only about half the number of people who speak Estonian, and I don't believe it's in much danger of dying out anymore than it's been for the past few centuries. Then again, numbers have little to do with it. Afrikaans is spoken by millions, yet it might well be significantly more endangered than Frisian. It's really more of a status question, unless the numbers are truly minuscule.

So the success of Benelux consists in the fact that it was supplanted. Maybe from your angle this indeed looks like a success.

Subsume would've been a better word. Presently our armies are in the process of working increasingly closely together, so that it's becoming a Benelux Defense Force in all but name. Who knows, perhaps there is a pioneering role left for the Benelux yet.

  • ersi
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Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Reply #15

Btw, did you read the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy? ;)

No. Does it say something insightful?


I do not believe the EU holds any of those weird ideas of centuries past, like one state one religion or one state one people. Quite the opposite.

Now, here's a difference between what is claimed to be the ideal of the EU and what is actually the case. I said that the dark side of integration is assimilation. The key here is the native population's capacity to assimilate. Yes, France, Germany, UK, Netherlands, etc. accept impressive amounts of refugees. However, the amounts are not beyond their capacity. They watch closely their own capacity, in terms of keeping German in Germany, Dutch in Netherlands, and French in France. Language policies in France are repressive. France has been mildly rebuked for this. Moreover, all Western European countries, except Germany, were major colonial powers in the past. The tide has turned, but the governments are obviously watching not to drown under it.


It's really more of a status question,...

Of course it is. The status is an important factor in the nation's capacity to assimilate/integrate. That's why countries where the local native prestige is low or even endangered, like in Estonia and Latvia where the population is evaporating, the balance of immigrants versus natives is much more on the edge than in the West, even though we never colonised anyone, but were colonies instead, and where integration policies have thoroughly failed, the status question is very important. Give in an inch to the so-called minority (is a minority who has their native country with imperial ambitions immediately next door really a minority?) just might mean suicide because it weakens our own status beyond the breaking point.

Obviously, we need some survival policies, and when the Western countries have their survival policies despite their integration rhetoric, then why should we behave any different? Yet our politicians behave according to the rhetoric, ("because that's EU directive" - all unpopular policies are justified this way, so the reputation of the EU is nothing pleasant) and I say this is one of the very reasons why the integration policies have been failing. If the natives are behaving suicidally without any self-respect, justifying all stupidity by that it's orders from Brussels, then Russians see no point to get assimilated or integrated. Local natives are inconsequential to them. According to them, Mother Russia will take her lands back soon enough, and until then they can speak English with the locals, if any speaking be needed. The EU matters. And Russia matters. The local people are just a weird curiosity of centuries past that doesn't matter.


Presently our armies are in the process of working increasingly closely together, so that it's becoming a Benelux Defense Force in all but name. Who knows, perhaps there is a pioneering role left for the Benelux yet.

They really missed a great opportunity to show themselves in Ukraine when the airplane fell. There will be no other such opportunity.

Edit: Besides, instead of the invisible cooperation of the armies, Wikipedia mentions this: "The Benelux is particularly active in the field of intellectual property. The three countries established a Benelux Trademarks Office and a Benelux Designs Office, both situated in The Hague. In 2005, they concluded a treaty establishing a Benelux Organization for Intellectual Property which replaced both offices upon its entry into force on 1 September 2006. This Organization is the official body for the registration of trademarks and designs in the Benelux. In addition, it offers the possibility to formally record the existence of ideas, concepts, designs, prototypes and the like." 
  • Last Edit: 2015-01-24, 01:47:30 by ersi

  • Frenzie
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Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Reply #16
No. Does it say something insightful?

The people of planet Whatever came up with a plan to get rid of the useless third of their population, such as politicians and telephone sanitizers. Their plan worked. Then they all died of a fatal viral infection that spread via dirty phones.

Obviously, we need some survival policies, and when the Western countries have their survival policies despite their integration rhetoric, then why should we behave any different?

I really have no idea what rhetoric you're talking about. Are you hearing distant echoes from the '90s? :P

Quote
Yet our politicians behave according to the rhetoric, ("because that's EU directive" - all unpopular policies are justified this way, so the reputation of the EU is nothing pleasant) and I say this is one of the very reasons why the integration policies have been failing. If the natives are behaving suicidally without any self-respect, justifying all stupidity by that it's orders from Brussels, then Russians see no point to get assimilated or integrated. Local natives are inconsequential to them. According to them, Mother Russia will take her lands back soon enough, and until then they can speak English with the locals, if any speaking be needed. The EU matters. And Russia matters. The local people are just a weird curiosity of centuries past that doesn't matter.

The EU only has friendly movement of people rules for EU citizens. Russians are not in the EU, ergo how hard of a time they'll have entering the country has preciously little to do with the EU. If the Estonian government implements Russian-friendly immigration politics and claims this is an EU directive, they're lying.

They really missed a great opportunity to show themselves in Ukraine when the airplane fell. There will be no other such opportunity.

That's the kind of event that could speed up such plans. The bigger question is why the Dutch army wasn't sent out, regardless whether some possibly already existing first cotrained Benelux unit were part of the mission.

Besides, instead of the invisible cooperation of the armies, Wikipedia mentions this

That's a part of the customs union that existed since 1960 or so. It proves that not all of the Benelux was subsumed by the EU. For the Benelux armies iirc various parties started announcing their intentions in 2011, actually meeting in official form in 2012, with the first real tangible results (such as small numbers of Dutch air force troops stationed in Belgium and vice versa) in late 2013 or early 2014.

  • Belfrager
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Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Reply #17
Before the Benelux there was the European community for steel and coal or something like that. Wasn't it?
A matter of attitude.

  • ersi
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Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Reply #18

No. Does it say something insightful?

The people of planet Whatever came up with a plan to get rid of the useless third of their population, such as politicians and telephone sanitizers. Their plan worked. Then they all died of a fatal viral infection that spread via dirty phones.

Amazing. (Not going to read it.)


Obviously, we need some survival policies, and when the Western countries have their survival policies despite their integration rhetoric, then why should we behave any different?

I really have no idea what rhetoric you're talking about. Are you hearing distant echoes from the '90s? :P

Current news rather


Note that Cameron is speaking against one of the four so-called freedoms of the EU - freedom of movement of people, a foundational principle of EU. An EU3 prime minister can afford it without any consequences. If some Balkan or Baltic prime minister spoke the same way, there would be sanctions.


If the Estonian government implements Russian-friendly immigration politics and claims this is an EU directive, they're lying.

This is a lie that works every time. All the governments in the "new" member states use the EU-directive argument liberally, because the opposition cannot have a counterargument to it. How would you stop it? Would you make an EU directive against it? :lol:

  • rjhowie
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Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Reply #19
May I neatly remind you at this point that this is an island we live on. As a boy at Senior Secondary school the population was 48 million and now around 61 or 62 million and scheduled to go over 70 million and no sign of stopping and immigrants breed like flies.  It is high time the mainstream politicians were more courageous and to the point and  immigration is a very high  thing in the minds of most. The number of people who want a Referendum and in fact get out is increasing all the time. The Labour Party like turkeys waiting for Christmas is so up for the EU in the face of this climb so I do hope Milliband gets his come uppance.
"Quit you like men:be strong"

  • Frenzie
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Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Reply #20

Before the Benelux there was the European community for steel and coal or something like that. Wasn't it?

The Benelux was created in 1944 by our governments in exile. The EGKSECSC is from half a decade later.

Note that Cameron is speaking against one of the four so-called freedoms of the EU - freedom of movement of people, a foundational principle of EU. An EU3 prime minister can afford it without any consequences. If some Balkan or Baltic prime minister spoke the same way, there would be sanctions.

What I'm hearing: "UK welfare is kind of retarded and I want it to become retarded in a different way (or possibly even more retarded)."

There would be no sanctions for someone merely saying stupid things. There might be repercussions for implementing rules that breach EU law, but rather than sanctions that would most likely be something more like the ECJ nullifying a national law or forcing a different interpretation of it.

Promising things that are impossible as per EU directive is just as delectable as pushing things through which are wholly your own idea. (And in the case of the UK they have a nasty habit of proposing things in the EU, somehow successfully convincing others of getting it passed, and then claiming to their own populace that this is an idea that came from Brussels so they can shift the blame.)

I actually linked to an EU page refuting false stories about the EU in the news on My Opera, but I can't seem to find the link in my bookmarks. I suppose I forgot to add it at the time.

May I neatly remind you at this point that this is an island we live on.

Because as we all know the mainland magically expands whenever more people move there. :right:
  • Last Edit: 2015-01-25, 20:11:15 by Frenzie

  • ersi
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Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Reply #21

Note that Cameron is speaking against one of the four so-called freedoms of the EU - freedom of movement of people, a foundational principle of EU. An EU3 prime minister can afford it without any consequences. If some Balkan or Baltic prime minister spoke the same way, there would be sanctions.

What I'm hearing: "UK welfare is kind of retarded and I want it to become retarded in a different way (or possibly even more retarded)."

You are not hearing well enough. He is speaking up against EU-internal immigrants, saying he'd make different welfare and employment benefit rules about them. This is forbidden in principle. According to the so-called EU constitution, the four freedoms apply uniformly in the union without distinguishing laws about it in any member state. The citizens of other member countries are supposed to get the country's benefits when they move there, immediately as a matter of principle.


There would be no sanctions for someone merely saying stupid things. There might be repercussions for implementing rules that breach EU law, but rather than sanctions that would most likely be something more like the ECJ nullifying a national law or forcing a different interpretation of it.

Promising things that are impossible as per EU directive is just as delectable as pushing things through which are wholly your own idea. (And in the case of the UK they have a nasty habit of proposing things in the EU, somehow successfully convincing others of getting it passed, and then claiming to their own populace that this is an idea that came from Brussels so they can shift the blame.)

Again, this is an unnegotiable basic EU freedom he is talking against. Do you remember Jörg Haider? He was blocked from the democratically rightful post of prime minister by collective EU diplomatic sanctions even before he had said anything. If I remember correctly, the diplomatic blockade resulted in a government crisis in Austria that lasted until Haider decided to not go along into the cabinet at all and he stepped down from the party leadership. What could he have said? Possibly something against immigration from outside EU, which is a legitimate policy topic, and maybe something about EU-internal movement too, but hardly worse than Cameron. The point is, Haider didn't get to say anything at all, much less to act. Plus his death could have been a political murder. Given the circumstances, there should have been investigations to clear the EU authorities from suspicion. The EU is no pretty boy.

Except when it comes to Cameron undermining one of the basic freedoms, which is the most shakily implemented one among them anyway. Imagine Cameron speaking up against some other freedom, such as free movement of capital, "Our banking system should be a national club favouring the investments and savings of the hard-working British..." or free movement of goods "Our customs system should be a national club protecting the markets of the hard-working British..." etc. It would literally mean pulling the carpet from under the entire EU. I am saying that this is precisely what it is in this case too, but he gets to say it without even an admonition from others.


I actually linked to an EU page refuting false stories about the EU in the news on My Opera, but I can't seem to find the link in my bookmarks. I suppose I forgot to add it at the time.

I'm quite sure I just refuted your link, whatever it was.

  • Frenzie
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Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Reply #22
You are not hearing well enough. He is speaking up against EU-internal immigrants, saying he'd make different welfare and employment benefit rules about them.

That's the uninteresting surface message. Thinking it through is much more fun. Provided he is not lying (which he probably is), the UK welfare system is in grave trouble with or without any foreigners. Which he's probably lying about as well. In any case, he's promising things he knows he can't do.

Do you remember Jörg Haider?

Not especially, but you largely disproved your own point by making Austria your example. And for future reference, "most likely" leaves room for exceptions. Haider's a pretty egregious exception.

he gets to say it without even an admonition from others.

What, this doesn't count?

I'm quite sure I just refuted your link, whatever it was.

I'm quite sure I just refuted everything you ever said and every will say in this very sentence, no matter the content. :)

  • ersi
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Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Reply #23

That's the uninteresting surface message. Thinking it through is much more fun. Provided he is not lying (which he probably is), the UK welfare system is in grave trouble with or without any foreigners. Which he's probably lying about as well. In any case, he's promising things he knows he can't do.

Analysing his doublespeak does not make him better. It makes him worse.


Do you remember Jörg Haider?

Not especially, but you largely disproved your own point by making Austria your example. And for future reference, "most likely" leaves room for exceptions. Haider's a pretty egregious exception.

I disproved my point by bringing Austria as an example? At the time the EU was considerably smaller and Austria was counted among the rubble, so if my point was that the fatties bully the tinies (and this indeed was my point), then I proved the point rather than disproved it.

I agree with you in that bullying Haider out of the cabinet while he rightfully should have been the prime minister is an exceptional demonstration of spontaneous determination by the EU (if this is what you meant), but you should understand that this case has left a character mark on how the Brussels is viewed from here. Every time our government tells the people "We must make this stupid law no matter how bad it feels because this is EU directive" (which is a few times every year) we feel bullied like that. And yes, our government is lying often enough when saying this, but what have you (EU, Brussels, Benelux) ever done about it to prove that you are not like that? This is the EU reputation we are talking about, you know.


he gets to say it without even an admonition from others.

What, this doesn't count?

Yeah, it actually does. Thanks for pointing out. Note however that this is in no ways comparable to what was done to Haider.


I'm quite sure I just refuted your link, whatever it was.

I'm quite sure I just refuted everything you ever said and every will say in this very sentence, no matter the content. :)

Actually, from your link (and I remember now having heard it before) Angela Merkel brought the exact same argument as I did.

Quote
Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, had made clear she would never agree measures that would impinge of the fundamental principal free movement.

And I repeat, this is not a small matter. Had anybody else talked like Cameron (even for fun or for lying or for "purely internal purposes" like it's sometimes said), there would have been real sanctions. Because the people in the smaller countries feel sanctioned and bullied by the EU often enough while UK is one of the unreined bullies.

  • jax
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Re: What's going on in Benelux?
Reply #24
The Nordic Council (and the Nordic Council of Ministers) is not a big success, nor is it a great failure, due to the lack of ambition. It is basically a talking shop. The most significant transnational Nordic cooperation was the Nordic Passport Union, which didn't happen under the Council aegis, and is pretty much superseded by the Schengen accord anyway. It is a good model if you want no binding transnational agreements.

In the heady days of the 1990s it looked like it might be extended to the Baltic States, that never happened.