Is the EU Unraveling?


After Ireland voted down EU reforms last week, we're left wondering: Is the EU unraveling?

Posted by Fareed Zakaria and Lauren Keane on June 16, 2008 10:20 AM

Readers’ Responses to Our Question (20)

Mohammad Allam :

The foundation of European union was led on the rejection of the idea of nationalism which brought destruction to europe in the forms of wars , dictatorship , loss of colonies and world prestige.
To get that prestige again and a leadership in the world european union too shape.with the gloablisation and the shrinking of market led the european country to think more on internal reltionship that external.As a result a parliment,a common market and a common security agenda was set.Now the ball has taken complete round and now europe in back in helm of world affairs by challeneging the American dominance,No european will want to loss the europe prestige and bow down before the old colonies .
The ireland adventure is short back for long jump.Now europe has to live with a common goal and common plan.otherwise ready to loss the race of world dominance.

D. Hodara :

Anonymous :

If you are so sure to be upto date why don't you try to update my statements ?
Unsubstantiated declarations have little value and cannot butthurt anybody.

Anonymous :

in my opinion my description is actual.

not even close. instead to be butthurt you should try to update

D. Hodara :

Anonymous :

When you make a statement try to prove it by indicating the elements which have guided it.
Living in Europe, in my opinion my description is actual.

Anonymous :

The bill to ratify the Lisbon Treaty completed its passage through the British parliament Wednesday after a last-ditch attempt by Conservatives to delay the process failed.

MikeB :

I think the forum moderators and readers need to consider this in light of the Royal Bank Of Scotland's warning today. Essentially, they are predicting a a collapse of the U.S. stoock market and banks, rippling throughout the world. RBS expects this downturn to be as bad as, or even worse than, the Great Depression. The mathematical models show inflation over 30% and real unemployment matching that. What is most interesting (and depressing, because I have writing about this for three years, now) is that RBS blames this on the excesses of "globalization" and those sentiments have been matched by the majority of mainstream economists in Europe AND Asia.

So, expect an economic contraction and associated social unrest, revolutions, and war. Can the E.U. survive this? Possibly. If European's are intelligent, they will end any and all tuies with any American corporation, investment, or bank (and that means "multinationals", too - theyare really just U.S. stalking horses). If Europe does this, learns from our mistakes, fosters a sense of "Europeanism", they can thrive. We, on the other hand, have absolutely no chance of surviving the catastrophy Wall Street, our corporations, and politician's have foisted off on us. A better question, then, is "What will the consequences of the collapse of the U.S. have for the world?". That and learning from it, watching us be tossed onto histories garbage heap, seeing the real human tragedy as millions starve, people riot, as civil control and social norms break down, watching the world's one remaining super power suddenly and violently implode, will have much more of an impact on the survival of the E.U. than the vote of Ireland with it's economy so dependent on the U.S.

Anonymous :

Profile: Declan Ganley

The story from there moves at a dizzying pace. After a stint on building sites in London, he secured a job as a tea boy at an insurance company. From this humble perch he launched an audacious, but ultimately failed bid, to use Soviet rockets to blast western satellites into space. He moved to eastern Europe and made a small killing shipping Soviet aluminium to Rotterdam via Latvia at a time when the rouble was collapsing. According to Ganley, he could buy at $30 (€20) a tonne and sell for $300. Because he never had to pay up front, no capital was required.

He was appointed an economic adviser to the newly independent Latvian government in 1992, then started a forestry business in the eastern European state in 1997, which he eventually sold to Renaissance Capital for an undisclosed sum. In 1994, he appeared on the Irish radar briefly as part of a consortium that bid for the second mobile phone licence, losing out to Denis O’Brien’s Esat Digifone.

Afterwards Ganley founded a Europe-wide telecoms company, Broadnet, which he sold to investors for €50m. In 1998 he started a cable company in Bulgaria which he sold four years later for a reported €18m.

Having made his money, the precocious teenager turned “serial entrepreneur” arrived back at Galway in some style. He bought the former Tuam home of the folk singer Donovan, about half a mile from Glenamaddy. With his American-born wife, Delia, and their four children, he settled into a fairly traditional, if extremely well-heeled, lifestyle in rural Ireland. He is a devout Catholic, a teetotaller and a member of the Reserve Defence Force. As his old schoolmaster puts it: “There’s a touch of the ‘more Irish than the Irish themselves’ about him.”

In the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001, Ganley devised another business venture, Rivada Networks, to supply emergency response systems to the US military and other clients. It was deployed during Hurricane Katrina at the request of Mary Landrieu, Louisiana’s Democratic senator. The company has a firm contract with the US Northern Command, a branch of the American defence forces.

Anonymous :

to D. Hodara:

Sorry mate but your post is around 10 years to late. you should update your knowledge.

Anonymous :

To Daniel:

-After Ireland voted down EU reforms last week...Is the EU unraveling?

more like we are watshing a Euro8 Football games.

until the end there will be no new ideas aboutthe future.

aside that noone European see irish vote as desaster. maybe because there was to many lies and fake propaganda, wich can be objected in a irish and european court. btw. it can also be objected because of massive mixture of european and local politics in this vote.

at least it was not a fair vote. European parliament and other europeans have got not a chance to present their view before irish voted. europe cant make propaganda because this Referendum was internally irish thing. Made by Ireland and only for irish people.

A question is who are all those people who did propaganda against Lisbon and who paid them for all those lies?

Anonymous :

for Zoltan idiot:

actualy you outed yourself again as uneducated dumb idiot.

here a tipp; for you go back to school and stop to blame yourself here

D. Hodara :

The ideas of the 'founding fathers' of the Common Market, were directed towards creating a 'European Nation' made of all the European nations.
Unfortunately, the first six nations which made up the Common Market moved on to accept other nations and finally ended up with the European Union and 27 member nations.
All through, the various nations considered the Common Market first and the European Union second, as a purveyor of financial subsidies, each nation trying to obtain the maximum from Brussels, with a basic rule that all decisions had to be unanimous.
Before accepting new member nations, the leaders should have projected the situation to be expected - now a real chaos. Each Nation had its own international politic, economic interests, social problems, fiscal laws and with different languages and number of population.
Instead of harmonizing the differences, they let everyone to act on its own, creating absurd situations within the European Union.
The difference in tax laws and economic incentives to attract investors, created unhealthy competion within the EU - the nations with low taxes and incentives attracting delocalizatiions, thus destabilizing the social structure of the richer countries.
Furthermore, instead of strengthening the EU political positions, they had different political and economical approaches. The selfish interests predominating in each nation. Whilst, the EU voice would have been much stronger and respected if it was able to speak with one voice on all subjects, towards the outer world.
Therefore, unless they put some wisdom in their approach, and change the 'unanimous' rule, the EU will remain a large group of nations, each one fighting for their selfish interests.
Ireland's rejection of the new treaty, which would have instituted a majority rule, gives the EU a very difficult position for the immediate future.

Zoltan :

daniel, you seem to have a serious problem with Muslims. They have little relevance for Europe in general and the EU in particular. If you continue trying to understand Europe through the "Islamist" filter, you're bound to fail.

"But again, what is this solution?"
42. What is the problem ?

As for the anonymous idiot, I don't understand what you want to say.

daniel :

After Ireland voted down EU reforms last week...Is the EU unraveling?

Interesting question, but a better question would be what exactly the EU was expected to be in the first place. We know Europe is a sophisticated place. We also know that the highest types of political entities in Europe are called nations. What exactly was and is the EU supposed to be when we cannot yet articulate something beyond the nation for Europe? This is not to say something beyond national loyalties cannot come into existence, but how are we to determine the difference between moving forward into a supranational entity and simple coming apart?

We know Europe does not want to come together under a single religious banner--in fact she had her religious wars and became disgusted with them. During the religious wars but especially after she became more and more enamored of the possibility of one nation ruling all (Germany, France, England toying with this especially). But of course that did not work. So here we are today with no nation expected to rule all and certainly with no religion solving the problem. So what to do? What we have is the gradual dissolution of national effectiveness with no bottoming out in religion...Except for the Muslims pouring in in increasing numbers...Islam the solution to Europe? Islam its bottoming out?

Interesting how nations in the Islamic world have not been able to rise to great prominance over Islam--that Islam both defeated entities such as Persia and did not allow new nationalities to be born. It took Westerners to carve the Islamic world into nations. And now it seems the Western nations of Europe are starting to dissolve into the sand of Islam...But all is not lost: we can imagine a reverse process whereby the nations in the Islamic world today become stronger over Islam and Europe far from collapsing into Islam finds a solution beyond nationality not to mention religion.

But again, what is this solution? And if it cannot be found how are we to stop Europe from reasserting her various nationalities? and how are we stop these nationalities in turn from reacting against Islam? And how in turn are we to stop the Islamic world from oscillating between asserting Islam and the nationalities that now exist in the Islamic world?

Certainly the Islamic world and Europe are now connected as never before and are becoming a single system in flux, or as if a rug where one diagram is intimately connected to the others no matter the differences between diagrams. The forward progress of course is toward a supranational entity which has nothing to do with religion.

Anonymous :

Well, I *DO* speak German. As well as 5 other languages. You're looking like an idiot now, aren't you ?

Na dann sollst du nicht rummotzen und anfangen endlich die Lisabon vereinbarung zu verstehen.

About idiot; you are still one. seriously, if you out yourself as an idiot then you must be one. to point then your finger on other people and to say they are "the same" like you, doesnt make you cleverer.

Zoltan :

"i see you cant understand my language. you should start to learn german."

Well, I *DO* speak German. As well as 5 other languages. You're looking like an idiot now, aren't you ?


"because i wish to kill you because you are not talking in german."

I take you're US citizen ?

Anonymous :

>Laws are written things, and they need to be written and discussed be people with a same language for the people with that same language. The purpose of the European Community was to harmonize the local laws through directives, that are not binding the individuals. The purpose of the European Union is to write legally binding and applicable texts.

i see you cant understand my language. you should start to learn german. because i wish to kill you because you are not talking in german. you should talk in german if you wants to be understand.

aside a fact that laws should be save from loopholes and need academic laguage with exactly terms.

you just outed yourself as bad educated guy who cant understand a language of own people and laws. someone should here to try read own laws. so where is your point?

Zoltan :

The European Union is a bad thing. The European Community was what people liked.

Laws are written things, and they need to be written and discussed be people with a same language for the people with that same language. The purpose of the European Community was to harmonize the local laws through directives, that are not binding the individuals. The purpose of the European Union is to write legally binding and applicable texts.

No to EU !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Yes to EC !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yousuf Hashmi :

I am wondering that the European countries are selling the idea of breaking the nations on the basis of the cast,religion, language and historical devides. But back home they are trying to unite.

The language is not the only difference between the EU. They have totally different culture,different church, different way of life different food and have a history of bitter fights either fought by vikings or in the command of churchil.

one thing is sure that economic constraints bring them together and that is a very positive and healthy approach.

Now if suome bottlenecks or hurdles comes in between their unification process this is just normal and the people should not take it seriously.

EU nations very well understand that alone they can not compete emerging economies. Their strength is only in unification.

MikeB :

The EU is an *economic* union. PERIOD. The professional hacks that have tried to turn it into some sort of government or pseudo-government and are a threat to that union. Wherever European countries have put the proposed constitution up for a popular vote it has gone down in an overwhelming defeat. In Denmark, the government went to great lengths to avoid a popular vote for precisely that reason, but there is enormous pressure to put it on the ballot.

This echo's back to last weeks question about globalization. People don't want it. Governments and big corporations do because they see it as a means for cheap labor and a sword to hold over the Middle Class's head to win wage and benefit concessions. Right now, we are in the early stages of an international disaster that is directly traceable to the various "free trade" schemes and there will be growing pressure to end that folly and reign in corporations. The EU will echo that and will likely end up being not much more than a fading dream.

Citizen of the post-American world :

I always find amusing the suggestion, whenever the exercise of a people's democratic rights leads to unexpected (unwished-for?) results, that "that part of the world must be falling apart". More amusing still is to see so many of our accredited "democrats" insist, then, that those people who would not vote as "required" should never have been consulted in the first place!

Well... even in the West, I suppose, that must be how a whole class conceives of democracy!

In my opinion, Parag Khanna is right in his analysis though***: geopolitically, the EU is in today's world, with China and the United States, one of the three natural empires. Each is "geographically unified and militarily, economically, and demographically strong enough to expand." In that post-American, multipolar, international context, the EU continues to grow larger and stronger than most could have expected, "turning into a multi-tiered commonwealth of members, parters, and associates with varying degrees of privileges, commitments, and subsidies". The strength and stability of the Euro makes it, at present, the most likely world's primary reserve currency (in a basket of other, secondary currencies?), in the forthcoming new world order.

I believe it is the greatest strength of healthy EU that democracy, through referendums, still prevails in the project of constructing tomorrow's Europe. A democratic Europe matters more than a fast-expanding-no-matter-what Europe! Tomorrow's European ought to be a true democrat, just as tomorrow's Europe must be truly, hence uniquely, "of the people, by the people, for the people". Was it not, after all, part of de Gaulle's unwavering vision from the outset?

Getting there. Getting there all right. An alternate, major pole of attraction exists, today and for tomorrow.


*** "The Second World: Empires and Influence in the New Global Order", Random House, 2008.

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