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European Union

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As elections for the ratification of the European Constitution approach it is interesting to look at what direction Europe is headed in. While some scholars argue that the rallying of the euro and the possible passage of the Constitution show signs that Europe is a "superpower in the making" I fail to see this reality. The current trends and factors in Europe include problems with enlargement, the EMU, and the failed Lisbon agenda, point to the EU becoming "a ruined fortress". The current economic performance of EU countries is horrific, with economic growth some 50% lower than the United States and unemployment hovering around 10% in France and Germany. While there are no simple answers to the question of Europe's future it is clear that there are both advantages and disadvantages of enlargement, the EMU, and the Lisbon Agenda. The argument for the EU being a "superpower in the making" is supported by the benefits in expansion, the creation of a single currency, and the push for economic revitalization. As Europe drives to become a superpower it has met many problems in managing its growth both internally and externally. The failed policies of the EU will lead to "a ruined fortress" in the near future, possibly even this summer with a "no" vote on the constitution. ...read more.


The fact that six years after the implementation of the euro the economies of Europe have lagged behind the United States shows the bankruptcy of the EMU. There have been conflicts over the implementation and economic policies that show when pressed countries will revert to protect the nation-state, "The conflicts over the Stability and Growth Pact are the inevitable result of a monetary union bereft of strong federal institutions and social solidarity"5 . The EMU is a construction that does not have the backing of all EU members, as the pressure is not there on members to follow the spirit of these treaties. Citizens have allegiances to their countries before the EU and if the trust is there they will not pressure politicians to abide by Brussels rules. The examples of France and Germany violating the Stability and Growth Pact are the most glaring, "the stability and growth pact pledges members of the single currency not to run budget deficits of more than 3% of GDP, a commitment that is again enshrined unchanged in the constitution. Yet France and Germany are on course to violate the ceilings for four years in a row, and seem happy to continue doing so"6. ...read more.


In the end the current controversy surrounding the ratification of the EU constitution shows the bankruptcy of the policies of the EMU and the Lisbon Agenda. The EU is set up by a series of treaties that are either followed or shunned by the desires of individual nation-states. The EU constitution ratification difficulty shows the problems the EU faces moving forward. Hutton's assertions of the euro solidifying a continental economy are undermined by the reality of the current economic situation, as growth and unemployment figures don't support his claims. In theory enlargement, the EMU, and the Lisbon Agenda, all possess qualities to support a more powerful EU that could be considered a future "superpower". The fact remains that this is all on paper as none of these initiatives have been completely proven or positive. 1 Van Oudenaren pg. 361 2 ibid 3 Hutton, Will. Pg. 365 4 Boltho, Andrea. "What's Wrong With Europe?" New Left Review 22 July August 2003 pg. 14 5 Cafruny, Alan. "Europe, the United States, and the Neoliberal (Dis) Order: Is There a Coming Crisis of the Euro?" Pg. 287 6 The Economist June 19, 2004 7 Boltho, Andrea. "What's Wrong With Europe?" New Left Review 22 July August 2003 Pg. 5 8 BBC News March 22, 2005 9 Hutton, Will. Pg. 325 10 BBC News March 22, 2005 11 BBC News March 22, 2005 ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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