Friday, 20 February 2009

Should the Czechs join the EEA?

Without the EU Council presidency the government and the president of the Czech Republic would have been less in the limelight. But unmercifully their position of pan-European responsibility has forced upon us the unedifying spectacle of wildly Europhobic president Vaclav Klaus campaigning against a Czech government slightly less vehement in its Euro-opposition.

I rest assured that these short six months will offer material for studies and teaching on public communications and public relations for years to come.

But the political question is, why join the wrong club?

If you only want free trade in a Europe without barriers, why take part in an evolving political union?

There is a totally respectable alternative: the European Economic Area (EEA), where Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway share the benefits of the internal market with the EU member states, without the ‘burden’ of a common political project.

Ralf Grahn

P.S. There are additional reasons to strengthen the EEA. The enlargement project of the European Union has been running on autopilot without any meaningful discussion on the borders of Europe or engagement with public opinion. Even where both European credentials and public opinion would be in favour, it would be unwise for the European Union to expand without profound political reform. The EEA could be the right solution, until an effective, democratic and solidary EU is ready to accept new members.