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.


  1. The PS is a very good idea and should be developed. Of course enlargement is on auto pilt, but the EEA is close to moribund but could offer a decent halfway house for countries such as Turkey.

    As to Klaus being Europhobic, it suggests an irrational fear. Not realy the case I woudl contend.

  2. Gawain,

    I appreciate that you drop by to comment and even pleased to see that you find something good to say about strengthening the European Economic Area (which I suppose is alive and well, although small above EU27).

    But I am astonished that you mentioned a half-way house for Turkey.

    Don't you have any examples closer to home?

    Are you more content if I describe Klaus as anti-EU?


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