Wednesday 21 July 2010

Fundamental challenges for Euroblogging

The Open Europe blog made the point that there is blogging on the fundamental questions of the future direction of Europe, as well as on EU politics in a narrower sense, the outcome of EU policies.

If anyone had managed to obliterate the media and opinion climate in England, or the obstructionist and patchy record of successive United Kingdom governments in European integration from their mind, or yawning apathy among EU citizens, Eurogoblin gave a reminder that warm nationalism and selective support of the European Union are alive and well. This includes the oxymoron of a non-desirable “centralised federal super-state”.

Open Europe and Eurogoblin are not alone. Most Europeans are as unreflecting and unsuspecting.

Start learning Mandarin and Asian values, in time.


Most of the EU institutions work within the existing framework, without much outward signs of open debate or questioning of fundamentals. As among the member states, their petty squabbles are mainly turf wars or limited issues of policy outcomes.


There are a few politicians, researchers, journalists, bloggers and citizens who discuss both the need for more Europe and the democratic legitimacy required for a better European future. Maybe these idealists will become a footnote in the history of lost opportunities.


Three main models are on offer for the European Union (and Euroblogs): The easy road of nationalism to oblivion, the low road of business as usual, and the high road of effectiveness based on democracy.

In my view, the general lack of strategic thinking about the role of Europe in a world of new emerging powers, the competing foreign policies of European Union member states, and the lack of effective representation at global level will contribute to speeding up the decline of the security and prosperity of EU citizens. Continued expansion of the EU combined with the unanimity rule for Treaty reform is practically a guarantee for the future irrelevance of Europe and European values in the world.

If we bar the import of European style federalism, we decline the opportunity to shape the world.

There is no end in sight for blogging on the high politics of EU fundamentals.

Ralf Grahn


  1. Well, I lean towards the meaning that things do not change until they are in a tight spot. See: after the World War II, the evil consequences of maximized nationalism were before eyes in Europe and united Europe was in sight optimistically; now, the war and its destruction is almost left behind, nationalism seems to have been tamed in Europe (except the one in the Balcans), so more unification seems needless to many people and therefore almost no progress can be seen in present years and the future appears poor too. Europe waits for another catastrophe maybe.

  2. citizen of Europe,

    The Founding Fathers of the USA had continental vision, but both leaders and people in Europe seem to be more attached to the past than concerned about the future.

  3. "Continued expansion of the EU combined with the unanimity rule for Treaty reform is practically a guarantee for the future irrelevance of Europe and European values in the world."

    My support for the EU stops the moment the requirement for treaty reform becomes qualified-majority. I imagine this is a view shared by most Europeans.

    As for learning Mandarin and Asian values, I am not afraid of China. We have forgotten that the old socialist bloc saw a powerful burst of growth in the 1950s, before slowing into stagnation and economic conservatism. If China wants to continue to grow, it will have to democratise and liberalise - otherwise its economy will be incapable of innovation. The price of Chinese labour cannot stay low forever (already manufacturing is starting the move to Vietnam and other SE Asian states).

  4. Eurogoblin,

    Your insouciance is in line with your own description of your "Anglo-Saxon" attitude. You are young enough to live to see the changes I can only depict as probable.

    Real powers where needed and real democracy at EU level are my credo for challenges at European level and to influence the shape of the world to come.

  5. Eurogoblin,

    Another question: What, if anything, do you want the European Union to be in addition to the internal market?

  6. In addition to ensuring free movement in the single market, the EU should also have a responsibility to break up monopolies and cartels, ensure competitive behaviour and represent the member-states at trade negotiations. A shared defence policy also makes sense, as does some form of common foreign policy. The EU (including the European Court of Justice) can also help resolve disputes between member-states in a peaceful manner. There may be other things, but these are off the top of my head.


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