The EU as a troubled teenager


by Rumbold
30th December, 2010 at 4:51 pm    

The Guardian is running an EU series, and the latest piece, translated from the French, is worth a read, as are the comments. It was written by a French academic and explains that the problem with the EU is not that it is a greedy inefficient, corrupt body, but rather that it lacks confidence in itself (since it is admired by the rest of the world). The author argues that:

The twin motors of European construction – solidarity and the quest for greater efficiency – have ground to a halt under the strain of economic crisis.

To which one commentor responded:

Lol! Efficiency. “I know what we’ll do! 1 week a month we’ll move the whole eu from brussels to strasbourg!

It is a fairly common argument amongst EU partisans that only greater integration and more central control can lead Europe into a new age, and overcome the issues of an ageing population, increasing debt and a loss of competiveness. While it is a enchanting argument, manly of the EU’s current policies are having a negative impact on Europe’s economic competiveness (particularly the Common Agricultural Policy), and so greater EU centralisation will only make matters worse. What is needed is a further scrapping of external trade barriers, which will not only benefit EU consumers, but also be an effective aid package. Scrapping the CAP could be the ‘major project’ called for in the article, but there are too many vested interests stopping it. The EU will neither disintegrate or become dynamic, rather it will carry on amalgamating power and regulating, without realising more rules and taxes don’t give companies the space to compete with emerging markets (and America).


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  1. MaidMarian — on 30th December, 2010 at 7:51 pm  

    Well, this is working on the assumption that China will not fall on its arse – but that’s a story for another day.

    Perhaps put this another way – is the problem really with the EU, or the people who have created it? To a very real extent, we have the European Union that we have wanted. A weak political force that, indeed, regulates economic issues, but which does not do anything serious. This is what politicians from around Europe have wanted for their EU. I often find it curious though that on Iraq, no one had any problem outsourcing a decision about war to a supranational body, the UN (just about the least democratic organisation I can think of).

    The better argument always was that the EU’s purpose had expired. The single currency was an attempt to move on, but as we have seen the political structures were not strong enough to give the EU that new purpose. What’s the answer? If the answer is, ‘aid,’ I promise you are asking the wrong question.

    Worth adding here Rumbold, if you think that the CAP is bad, take a look at George W Bush’s Farm Act. US agriculture suffers from EU problems times five.

  2. douglas clark — on 30th December, 2010 at 8:38 pm  

    I don’t see the EU the way you do Rumbold.

    You are the historian around here. When was there relative peace in Europe, before the EU?

    You know you cannot answer that and pursue an alternate history where we’d have all been chums anyway.

    That is is not the reality we live in. Since 1945 no country in the post war settlement has fought against another. Indeed you’d get chucked out of the EU if you weren’t a democracy.

    Frankly this is a tired old diatribe. It is the easy option. Attack what is good. Pretend it is bad, and claim a win.

    Well, no Rumbold, it has saved us from wars left right and centre, and given our ability to squabble, it has saved the world from a nuclear holocaust. You are supposed to know about the ability of nation states in Europe to cause war. It is what they did.

    Now stick that in your pipe and smoke it.

  3. Trofim — on 30th December, 2010 at 10:02 pm  

    douglas clark @ 2

    “Well, no Rumbold, it has saved us from wars left right and centre, and given our ability to squabble, it has saved the world from a nuclear holocaust”.

    Completely unverifiable assertions, Douglas.

    One thing the EU has done remarkably well, though, is to encourage the acceptance of parasitism among Brits. It is now more or less axiomatic, that nasty, dirty, unpleasant work should be done by de-facto imported coolies from eastern europe. The left, for whom it was once a fundamental tenet that human beings had a moral obligation to contribute, by means of work, to society, are now quite comfortable with the idea that Brits should recline at home without lifting a finger. In fact, they defend the right of Brits do refuse to do work which isn’t to their taste.

  4. damon — on 30th December, 2010 at 10:37 pm  

    Can someone please give me a link to where ‘CiF’ type discussions are being held in India? I can’t seem to find them.

  5. Rumbold — on 31st December, 2010 at 12:18 pm  

    MaidMarian:

    It is elements of both. I think that the EU as a model is flawed, as are its institutions, but the people haven’t been any good either. Yet some of those people have been shaped by the system they enter- the freedom from most prosecutions, the lavish meals, expenses, massive pensions.

    Both the American and Japanese agricultural sectors have huge subsidies, it is true. I focus on the EU because I send part of my pay check there, under pain of prosecution.

    I would like the EU to become a free trade, free movement area without all the trappings of a state. I won’t happen though, as there are too many governmental, bureaucratic and corporate interests involved.

    Douglas:

    While I hesitate to echo Trofim, can you point to evidence that shows the EU led to peace in Europe? As far as I am aware, Britain asked no European countries between 1945 and 1973, despite not being in the EU. Has Germany or France attacked any European countries outside the EU since joining.

    I don’t have an issue with people being in favour of the EU, but there is no evidence to substantiate the EU=Peace model. It didn’t hurt, but NATO and the Soviet threat were far more important.

  6. douglas clark — on 31st December, 2010 at 1:34 pm  

    Trofim @ 2, Rumbold @ 5,

    The lack of warfare in mainstream Europe. You are the history buffs. A common sense of destiny is a hell of a lot healthier than a desire to compete, militarily, with each other. An expansion of the idea of democracy to areas that looked unlikely candidates – the Iberian peninsula, chunks of the former Yugoslavia. And most of what was the Soviet Empire in Europe. In the future, Turkey.

    ‘Course, for you guys it’s all about square bananas.

    It never has been and an attempt to pacify Europe by mutual interest is a heck of a lot better than anything we had before. Sure, we had other institutions, like NATO, but it is not very clear how that played out with your average citizen, like me, for instance. Both WW1 and WW2 kicked off in a hard to credit nowadays Europe. Would you deny the possibility that an institution that was based on the principle of denying that capacity to it’s member states was a bad thing? Well, you probably would. But the peace dividend has been notable, even if the two of you are so up yourselves you cannot see it.

    You are both playing the ‘Little Englander’ mind game, where the assumption is that Enoch Powell had it right in terms of the sovereignty of some nation state or another. The point about sovereignty is as much about the ability to wage war as anything else. You only have to look at the USA to see where unbridled sovereignty leads us.

    No.

    You are both looking at the arguement pro European integration at completely the wrong level. You are a couple of square bananas. There are numerous counter factuals that can be played out. However peace in Europe is not to be gainsayed by a couple of people that have never grown beyond a rather naive understanding about what the EU is about. And an equally naive idea about the UK’s natural goodness.

    Perhaps the two of you would prefer some sort of independent UK only foreign policy. Let’s retake Calais!

  7. Rumbold — on 1st January, 2011 at 12:11 pm  

    Douglas:

    Calais would be a useful bridgehead, but it might be more trouble then it is worth.

  8. Shamit — on 1st January, 2011 at 3:00 pm  

    Douglas:

    Happy new year.

    I am sorry to have to disagree with you on New Year’s day but the assertion that EU was the reason for no wars in Europe is factually wrong.

    Europe had no money after second world war and the massive Soviet Army was just based on the other side of Berlin – and the US with the Marshall Plan and Nato ensured Europe’s security.

    While it has done many wrongs, US has done more good than bad and even the recent release of wikileaks show.

    Secondly, the whole concept lacks democratic credibility – appointing Catherine Ashton or both of her bosses – barroso and van rompuy was done not on the basis of suitability and talent for the job. And although they represent us the 500 million strong Europeans – not one of us except for the 27 people in the room were invited to give our opinion.

    Third, when all member states are tigthening their belts – the Parliament and the Commission wanted a 6% budget increase and thank god for Britian – it was dropped to 2.9%. EU bureaucrats including commissioners went to court to ensure they got their raise after member states rejected them

    Fourth – how does EU affect your life? COuld you let me have some examples?

  9. Trofim — on 1st January, 2011 at 6:43 pm  

    Douglas Clark @ 6:

    One cannot infer causation from correlation. Just because the inception of the EU coincides with a period of non-aggression, it doesn’t follow that there exists a causative relationship. It’s a basic logical fallacy. For example: I have a bad cough. I buy a bottle of Dr Primrose’s Patent Cough Liniment, and on the same day that I start taking it, my cough improves. Who’s to say it wouldn’t have improved anyway?

    I am struck by the contrast between this ostensible acclaim for the EU as a mechanism which sweeps away stultifying insularity and narrowness of outlook and replaces them with a sense of continent-wide oneness and unity, and the reality. If you look at where people demand jobs and houses, it’s not only in the country in which they live, where they want them, but in their personal localities. Try pointing out to students that they are now fortunate enough to be able to go and live and work in any one of 27 countries – that Europe is their oyster – and see how many go. When Brits demand jobs, they’re talking about British jobs. When Italians demand jobs, they’re talking about Italian jobs. A “common sense of denstiny” is a pretty substanceless concept.

    As for Enoch Powell and little Englanders. Would a certain Anthony Wedgewood Benn, well known for his opposition to the European Union, be one such little Englander? Incidentally, are the SNP “little Scotlanders”?

  10. douglas clark — on 3rd January, 2011 at 10:08 am  

    Hell, ye

    Trofim, Shamit, Rumbold, damon,

    Well, lets take a bit of history together, shall we?

    What caused WW1 or WW2?

    Would it have anything to do with, err, Europe?

    I think you’ll find it did.

    It is ‘O’ Level History to find the death of some stupid Archduke who got murdered in Sarajevo, WW1, or some ridiculous Charlie Chaplin Austrian look-a-like to set us off on WW2?

    Look to the skies children. Look to the lack of bombs dropping on you. Look at the longest peace in continental Europe ever.

    Sure we needed NATO, sure the threat of the Soviets concentrated minds, but the truth of it is that we were the least peaceful area on the planet and we sorted ourselves out. For goodness sake, you cannot be a member of the EU if you want to fight another member. Is that not a good thing? Especially given who started wars?

    You English would be a whole lot better people if you embraced European Federalism instead of pretending you are better, for you bloody well aren’t. If and when we get our independence from you bloodsucking bastards I kind of hope we both take our seats in the EU.

    Oops! Told it like it is from North Britain.

    _____________________

    Slightly off subject:

    Your local hero, Iain Grey had this to say about a candidate state:

    http://tinyurl.com/38ttap7

    Iain Grey is clearly an idiot. He apparently represents the Labour Party in Scotland. Not that there is a separate branch or anything. The Labour Party is nowadays a fucked up Unionist shower of idiots. I love Iain Grey, whose only measure of statehood is UK plc. A ruler with a single length. No more, no fucking less. No more of an idea than Trofim, Shamit, Rumbold or damon.

    Happily, the numbers of Scots that want to exit your fucked up polity rises opinion poll by opinion poll. It would be a sad day, would it not, if a tit like that, a tit like Iain Grey represented Scotland after May?

    Personally I might emigrate to somewhere else in the EU, like French Guiana, where they at least see the future. Rockets!

    You are a shower of little englander, small minded people who, faced with a good idea, can’t see what it did for you. Is this the ‘O’ Level history you are taught as truth? If so, it is shit.

    There was a need to bond Europe together, and anyone that has a need to have that explained to them is a little bit daft.

  11. douglas clark — on 3rd January, 2011 at 2:23 pm  

    We could have a very special internet campaign just for you guys.. Something specific. A world wide campaign to ‘adopt an English Library’ perhaps? ’cause it is pretty obvious that the whole quartet of you need to read.

  12. MaidMarian — on 3rd January, 2011 at 2:31 pm  

    douglas clark – I would be a bit careful on that. The EU was stupid enough to admint Greece to membership. A truly vile country with an worldview informed by radical Orthodoxy rather than civic modernism and a country with no place in the modern European concert.

    This rogue state – an EU and NATO member – actively sided with Slobodan Milosevic in ethnic cleansing despite its memberships.

    Greece, if life was fair, would have been told to take its debts and its loathesome world view and sod off to mother Putin. Sadly, no institution has yet found a way to do this, but the Greeks and their aggressive, jingoistic nature do show up a problem in the idea of the EU as peace-bringer.

    And don’t get me started on those bare-faced liar scumbags in Cyprus.

  13. douglas clark — on 3rd January, 2011 at 2:56 pm  

    MaidMarian,

    You, and probably a local gatepost, are probably better informed on the Balkans than I am. It was, for whatever reason, the war I missed.

    It is, however, also the case that EU expansion intends to adopt the whole of the Balkans. And they wish to be adopted. Which would be a good thing in pacifying a trouble spot. What’s not to like?

    Frankly the EU would be better off without English troublemakers that don’t understand the project. Your go at Greece is based on what? Ex dictatorship, much like Iberia? broke? much like the UK? Bet a pound to a penny you don’t fancy Turkish membership much either?

    You’ll have maybe noticed it’s called the European Union, not the British Empire? It has incredibly detailed rules for membership, stretching to volumes of agreed criteria that a putative member state has to adopt. Somewhat different from a white guy ‘discovering’ somewhere and sticking a fucking Union Jack on it?

  14. MaidMarian — on 3rd January, 2011 at 6:23 pm  

    douglas clark – Right, so because I’m English, I’m too thick and reactionary to have any valid views on the EU, yes?

    Firstly, as a direct result of Greek policy, the Republic of Macedonia has been denied entry to the EU, in direct breach of the Interim Agreement signed in 1995, after the Greeks lifted their unilateral blockade of an EU border state. Greece is using EU mwmbership to PROLONG division in the Balkans – that’s what not to like.

    Second-off. The UK has been a net contributor to the EU since day 1. Troublemakers? We might have had a scowl on our face – but we’ve been there. Unlike Greece which has used the CAP as a trough.

    I have no objection to Turkey provided they meet the acquis. Anyone who has visited that country will see that it palpably does not meet the criteria at the moment.

    Now – seeing as you are too lazy to inform yourself – this English thicko will now outline what my go at Rogue State Greece is based on. Let’s leave aside the lies on the EMU Convergence Criteria and the CAP fraud. Let’s stick to events in Bosnia and the actions of our EU and NATO ally.

    The best that can be said for Greek state is that is showed a marked indifference to events in Bosnia.

    There is however ample evidence that Greek officialdom went far beyond a cheery indifference to regional events. To this day I understand that the extent of the alliance with Serbia is something few in Greece are willing to confront.

    Greek civil society more generally, in particular the church, was practically warmongering, but that’s another story.

    The NIOD report into Bosnia, and subsequent research by Professor Cees Wiebes (pulished as Intelligence en de oorlog in Bosnie, 1992-1995) pointed to evidence that the Greek state actively leaked NATO intelligence to the Serbs. In the interests of balance he also suggested that Turkey was leaking information. In any case, Wiebes found that at some point in the mid-1990s it became NATO practice not to share intelligence with Greece so blatant had the leaks become. Has troublemaker UK ever reached this stage?

    In the book Unholy Alliance, Takis Michas provides sources at p38 that names a direct link between Greece and Serbia for the purposes of leaking information and gives a detailed account of how it was done. As far as I am aware (and am happy to be corrected) this account has never been denied by either the Greek foreign ministry or the man named. It is difficult to see how this sort of activity could have taken place with out the complicity of the Greek state. In the interview with Michas, the source claims that the information was passed directly from Greek military headquarters in Athens.via the intermediary to Ratko Mladic.

    In May 2001 former Greek Defence Minister Gerasimios Arsenis commented that he did not feel that the Greek PM Papandreau was passing on information directly, but confirmed that there was a direct link to Mladic who was a Greek doctor. The person named by Michas as leaking information is a Greek doctor.

    NIOD and Wiebes also found that smuggling of weapons and more general sanctions busting was rife throughout Greece in open defiance of the EU, UN and NATO. This included the open supply of weapons, fuel and supplies. NIOD found that Greek ships took the supplies to then Serb (now Montenegrin) ports almost daily. Greek officialdom at the borders and ports did nothing to stop sanctions busting, despite protests.

    The later ICTY trials also implicated Greek and Cypriot banks in providing money and a financial infrastructure to the Serb state again in open defiance of sanctions. As I understand it, the Greek authorities later refused to cooperate in investigations.

    This is not to mention the activity of the Greek Volunteer Guard. A number of volunteers – probably around 250 – who actively went to Bosnia for rather more than a holiday. These people openly told their story in Greek newspapers and were in the Greek media talking, many would say advertising, their activity. The Greek state did nothing to reign them in and, as far as I am aware, has made no effort to investigate crimes by Greek citizens who made no secret of their identity even to the extent of having pictures taken for the newspapers.

    http://img375.imageshack.us/img375/4985/18rw.jpg

    Now wheher the sympathy for Milosevic was on an anti-NATO bombing basis or support for killing or somewhere in between is hard to say. Certainly the Greek media were avowedly hostile to the Bosnians (and later the Kosovans) and comment was hardly informed by pacifict impulses.

    It is also worth pointing out here that in the earlier part of the 1990s, the objectives of the Athens-Belgrade axis appeared to include the annexation of the independent state of Republic of Macedonia and the denial of the creation of a state in the teeth of world opinion. This is fleshed out in the book Behind Closed Doors by Alexandros Tarkas. This provides an account on p34 (where Antonis Samaras, the Greek FM at the time, himself wrote the foreword) of a meeting between Milosevic and the Greek Government about how to annex the RoM into their countries. This account suggests that that Milosevic trademark people movement as a weapon could be coordinated between the countries to achieve annexation. This from a country that now accuses others of posing a territorial threat!

    Now you could tell me that if the Greek state wants to align itself with Milosevic and the Glorious Orthodox Brotherhood and merrily go about attacking whoever it wants to, it should be free to do so. Point taken, though it is hardly in with the EU ethos. Indeed, I am quite sure that many in Greece will see all this as a badge of honour ? though that does rather suggest that Greece has an outlook defined by religious rather than modern European political affinities.

    However please don?t tell me that Greek neutrality was anything other than a paper exercise or that Greece is a good, trustworthy European. Greece has been not far short of a rogue state for a long time and that your politicians can summon the gall to offer lectures to others on being a good neighbour is frankly breathtaking.

    But goondess me. Why look at this when you can flaunt that chip you have on your shoulder about the UK? By the way, Greek MPs called Angela Merkel a Nazi – has a UK MP ever done this?

  15. douglas clark — on 3rd January, 2011 at 8:54 pm  

    Maid Marian,

    douglas clark – Right, so because I’m English, I’m too thick and reactionary to have any valid views on the EU, yes?

    More or less Maid Marian, if the rest of your rant is anything to go by.

    Lets discuss it line by line, shall we? Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin:

    Firstly, as a direct result of Greek policy, the Republic of Macedonia has been denied entry to the EU, in direct breach of the Interim Agreement signed in 1995, after the Greeks lifted their unilateral blockade of an EU border state. Greece is using EU mwmbership to PROLONG division in the Balkans – that’s what not to like.

    Do you remember me saying that membership is down to agreeing to a huge set of criteria? generally these are known as ‘acquis’. It is not just a question of a name, Macedonia in miles away from accessionon these substantive grounds:

    Free movement of Goods

    Intellectual Property Law

    Competition Policy

    Financial Control.

    None of these are trivial. And, indeed there is the additional issue of how it treats minorities, a subject quite close to the hearts of most Picklers. Accession is a series of obligations, not a right.

    Second-off. The UK has been a net contributor to the EU since day 1. Troublemakers? We might have had a scowl on our face – but we’ve been there. Unlike Greece which has used the CAP as a trough.

    That’s what happens if you are in a club. The richer help the poorer. That is a UKIP approach to Europe. I trust you are happy with that.

    Now – seeing as you are too lazy to inform yourself – this English thicko will now outline what my go at Rogue State Greece is based on. Let’s leave aside the lies on the EMU Convergence Criteria and the CAP fraud. Let’s stick to events in Bosnia and the actions of our EU and NATO ally.

    Are you English? Who’d have thunk it. Moving on:

    Now – seeing as you are too lazy to inform yourself – this English thicko will now outline what my go at Rogue State Greece is based on. Let’s leave aside the lies on the EMU Convergence Criteria and the CAP fraud. Let’s stick to events in Bosnia and the actions of our EU and NATO ally.

    The best that can be said for Greek state is that is showed a marked indifference to events in Bosnia.

    I’d rather not. However, breaking it down apparently Greeks and Serbs share a religion. Apparently supporting your religious colleagues is quite important to some folk. To the extent that religion outweighs politics. Now who else could have been accused of that? Well, it’s not exactly the same thing but telling lies to your citizens could be directed at a fair number of states, including, but not excluding:

    The UK

    The USA

    Saudi Arabia

    North Korea

    and so on ad infinitum…

    You were lied to over a particular war Maid Marian and you know it. Don’t blame others for supping at the same spoon. Try instead to dissuade all politicians and religious leaders from lying to us.

    In summary, because I am getting bored with this:

    However please don?t tell me that Greek neutrality was anything other than a paper exercise or that Greece is a good, trustworthy European. Greece has been not far short of a rogue state for a long time and that your politicians can summon the gall to offer lectures to others on being a good neighbour is frankly breathtaking.

    But goondess me. Why look at this when you can flaunt that chip you have on your shoulder about the UK? By the way, Greek MPs called Angela Merkel a Nazi – has a UK MP ever done this?

    You really don’t know when to shut up do you Maid Marian?

    You say:

    your politicians can summon the gall to offer lectures to others on being a good neighbour is frankly breathtaking.

    Whose politicians Maid Marian? I only see Labour politicians making fools of themselves. They are not my politicians.

    You say:

    But goondess me. Why look at this when you can flaunt that chip you have on your shoulder about the UK? By the way, Greek MPs called Angela Merkel a Nazi – has a UK MP ever done this?

    And Labour in our wee pretendy Parliament said shit about Montenegro. Am I supposed to apologise for politicians I actively hate?

    Your call.

  16. MaidMarian — on 3rd January, 2011 at 9:47 pm  

    Douglas – ‘Do you remember me saying that membership is down to agreeing to a huge set of criteria? generally these are known as ‘acquis’. It is not just a question of a name, Macedonia in miles away from accessionon these substantive grounds’

    I mentioned the acquis in my fourth paragraph if you check. You appear to be saying that Greece has a special right to extend the acquis to country naming. As far as I am aware the EU has no competence over naming of countries. Can you explain why, in a club of equals you think that Greece should have special rights? Macedonia is some way off the acquis (but not the NATO acession criteria – a different story).

    My point, that you do not quote me on, was that Greece has a history of bad faith in signing international agreements, see the Interim Agreement. Are there any other cases douglas where you think demonstrable Greek bad faith is all ok? Presumably as a European citizen I am entitled to a view on this?

    ‘That’s what happens if you are in a club. The richer help the poorer. That is a UKIP approach to Europe. I trust you are happy with that.’

    So Greece should help Macedonia, rather than bully it – yes? Or do you think Greek bullying is OK?

    ‘Are you English? Who’d have thunk it. Moving on:’

    Please take the chip off your shoulder and shove it up the arc of prosperity.

    ‘However, breaking it down apparently Greeks and Serbs share a religion. Apparently supporting your religious colleagues is quite important to some folk. To the extent that religion outweighs politics. Now who else could have been accused of that? Well, it’s not exactly the same thing but telling lies to your citizens could be directed at a fair number of states, including, but not excluding: yada yada yada’

    Iraq has nothing at all to do with this. The point of the EU as a peacebringer is a conception of nationalism that is civic and not religious. The Greeks are, ergo, by no standard a part of the European concert. Unless you think that ethnic cleansing has a place in a conception of a civic Europe. Membership of a club has responsibilities as well as benefits. Greece has failed every test of this notion.

    And even if you want to bring Iraq into this…Blair/Bush acted on intelligence reports. Greek attitudes to ex-Yugoslavia was informed by ethnic cleansing as desirable. Are you seriouly telling me that this is a good European state?

    And Greek politicians did not lie – they openly pandered in there aggression in the early 1990s. They did lie to the UN though, but I bet you wont get all angsty about that will you.

    The rest – Hmmm. Mea Culpa. Some of my comment was a cut and paste from another comment I made to a similarly stroppy person. I did an edit to depersonalise it, but it seems not to have taken. But Mea culpa.

    By the way – Montenegro? What are you referring to there. Milo Dukanovic sponsored a referendum that led to an orderly (by Balkan standards) succession from the Serb federation. I don’t know why the Scottish Parliament would say anything on that?

    Out of interest, do you think that before Romania was allowed into the EU (granted, Romania looks nowhere near the acquis too) it should have given an undertaking not to cause grief in future about its relations with Moldova given that there is a province of Romania called Moldova?

  17. douglas clark — on 3rd January, 2011 at 10:10 pm  

    Maid Marian,

    Please take the chip off your shoulder and shove it up the arc of prosperity.

    That actually made me laugh.

    Montenegro and idiotic Labour politicians:

    http://tinyurl.com/33hh2t8

    You just dislike the whole idea of European integration, don’t you? Join the club of Trofim, Shamit, Rumbold and damon. Personally, I think you all need to grow up a bit….

    What will your boy’s club ever have to talk about if it is successful? And it will be, with or without England as a member.

    I feel quite 1776 about that.

  18. Trofim — on 3rd January, 2011 at 11:24 pm  

    A graphic illustration of what I think is called a tartan chip on the shoulder. Deep-fried Mars bars definitely disturb the brain chemistry.

  19. douglas clark — on 3rd January, 2011 at 11:35 pm  

    Trofim,

    Perhaps.

    Can you actually address the subject matter?

    Thought not, you winkle picking, jellied eel eating stereotype.

  20. Trofim — on 4th January, 2011 at 8:48 am  

    “you winkle picking, jellied eel eating stereotype”.

    I like it!

  21. MaidMarian — on 4th January, 2011 at 9:24 am  

    douglas – ‘You just dislike the whole idea of European integration, don’t you?’ No, you just keep saying I don’t. It’s not the same thing. My point, that you keep avoiding, was that membership of the EU should not become a cover for the egregious bad faith of Greece.

    As to your link – what an odd thing for that politician to say! Granted, Montenegro is not quite the, ‘innocent,’ it likes to make out. But even so, there are probably a hundred better examples of the point he was trying to make.

    By the way, as a Scot you would almost certainly like Montenegro. It is a lovely country, like Croatia, but much cheaper. As a Scot you will no doubt also like the local tradition of drinking the Balkan equivalent of a daily swally of Buckfast.

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