Friday, November 04, 2005

Common European Values? Let’s create them! Part 2

With nothing other than geography in common, we need to create something to hold us together. We need to make membership to the European Union something valuable. Right now the currency of European credibility is simply too available and, therefore, too cheap. Letting in 10 member states in one go was simply too many. It frightened the older member states, they threw up labor barriers and this made the new EU members feel, justifiably, like second-class citizens. They have grown cynical and EU membership has lost value.

But we can fix this.

"Nothing pleaseth but rare accidents," said Shakespeare's hero Prince Hal in "Henry the IV, Part 1” as he revealed his plan to turn from rogue to hero, mend his loose-living ways and become the model king his father wished him to be. The EU, too, should make a transformation. Let the highest social, cultural and economic standards in the world become Common European Values.

One way of doing this is to increase the membership barriers. Not to keep the unwashed hordes out, but to increase the value of EU membership by making it difficult to achieve. It should, indeed, be an exclusive club where only the most developed nations, economically and socially, may join. Help acceding nations with structural funds and political aid, demand cultural change. Most importantly, don’t let any acceding state in until they’re ready.

This is already happening to certain extent.
Brussels recently warned Bulgaria and Romania that their scheduled entry into the EU could be delayed unless they step up the fight against corruption. This is good for the EU and good for the Bulgarian and Romanian peoples, currently living under governments that have no political will to tackle the big issues. Well, now maybe they will.

In the end, this is the only way we can to it. We need to finally be brave enough to take that final step and turn a united Europe from a frightening idea into (oh boy!) a wished for ideal. As Prince Hal said, “When they seldom come, they wished for come”.

I'm off to New York for a week. Will post from there.
In the meantime, feel free to leave your own comments by quicking on the link below this line.


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