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Neal.F.

Spain Takes Leading Role In "new Europe"

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It seems we have some serious resistance to French/German hegemony in the EU.

Spain is taking a stand to ensure that Europe will take a co-operative, rather than confrontational attitude vis-a-vis the United States.

evading the use of "Old Europe" The Spanish are standing up for a responsible role for Europe in today's world, where their interests, and those of the new members, such as Poland, Hungary and other former Soviet satellites are taken into account, so Eirope can serve as a constructive participant in world affairs, not just serve a s leverage for French and German interests, which will eventually have to collide, as one of the other seek to do economically and diplomatically what both failed to do by military means.

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And because the economies of both France and Germany are currently in the tank, their influence may be further eroded in the EU. It appears that the German Economic Minister, at least, is clued in to the fact that in order for Germany to do well, the USA needs to do well first. Perhaps this is why Schroeder has been less joined at the hip to Chirac lately and has tried to make nice with Bush?

http://www.dw-world.de/english/0,3367,1431...262_1_A,00.html

"With Zero Growth, Germany To Borrow Billions" Oct.23,2003

Just as the German government seeks to expedite passage of one of the most ambitious reform packages in the post-World War II era, it admitted just how badly Europe's largest economy is suffering on Thursday.

[Economics Minister Wolfgang Clements ]warned that improved economic growth would only be possible if the government’s reforms of the labor market as well as the proposed overhaul of the health and pension systems were fully implemented. The most important condition, Clement said, is for the global economy to continue to show signs of improvement, especially the expected recovery in the United States.

Casting a further shadow over Clement's news on Thursday was an announcement by Finance Minister Hans Eichel that deficit spending for 2003 would exceed €43.4 billion -- billions more than the €18.9 billion originally estimated. The additional expenditures mean Germany's deficit spending will now rise to over 4 percent for 2003 - meaning the country would violate EU monetary policy regulations for three years in a row.

The latest round of borrowing is expected to bring Germany's total federal deficit up to €820 billion. Taken together with state and community-level deficit, that figure would grow to €1.4 trillion.

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Spain under Aznar made great strides. I worked in Madrid a few years back and the country was going through many changes.

Aznar is unknown in Canada but he is probably the best leader the Spanish have had in modern history.

He has reformed in a liberal manner, the economy, society and expectations of Spain.

Spain has robust growth, declinding unemployment [when i was there it was 24 % and now it is about 11%], good budget control, and reasonable tax levels. It is opening markets, rebuilding its infrastructure and has some quality universities [iESE is maybe the best MBA school in Europe], and in Madrid and Barcelona a hard working citizenry.

EU money has helped but the domestic reforms were more important for Spain's good performance.

Asnar has handed over to his Finance Minister who should continue the reforms. Other issues to tackle; corruption, separatism, and as the above posts have already stated, Spain must oppose the Franco-Teutonic domination of Europe.

The last thing any EU citizen needs is a socialist empire emanating from Brussels run by the French and monied by the Teutons.

Importantly and intelligently Spain is pro-US, and pro-the war on terror.

Good job Aznar. May history commend him fully.

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Good points Craig... However, if i may be picky, the use of the word "liberal" may be misinterpreted by some readerrs to mean that you support the concepts behind the post-modern definition of liberal, which we hold in disdain. The word has been co-opted, in my view, to the point where it , like "gay" has lost its original meaning, and now means something completely different.

That aside, Spain can't counter the Gauls and Teutons alone. It needs to forge strong ties with Poland, Hungary, and even Berluscone's Italy, and of course the UK.

Speaking to the issue of the UK, while Tony Blair may be rational, and understand teh importance of maintaining good relations with the USA, his party is NOT with him on this. I would still greatly prefer to see a Conservative government there. It should also be noted that Blair favours joining the Euro.

If Spain, Poland , Italy and the UK can form their own faction within the EU, then Gaul and Prussia can be countered and put in their place. I would prefer to see the European Parliament abolished, and have instead a meeting forum in its place where issues can be discussed in the interests of all, but under NO circu,mstances should brussels be able to pass laws that supersede those of the sovereign states in the Union.

May Poland, as the Pope has asked, bring Christianity and its heritage back to the Table in Europe, The UK, common law, and Spain & Italy conservative philosophy.

Gaul and Prussia , in their current states, have little or nothing of value to contribute but the people in these states can benefit enormously from the input of the others.

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Neal,

Your wish has been heard.

http://www.euobserver.com/index.phtml?sid=9&aid=13199

Seven countries back Christianity in Constitution

October 24, 2003

The demand to have Europe's Christian values mentioned in a new European Constitution is gaining increasing support.

Now, seven of the 25 countries participating in the negotiations of a new European Constitution support the call, according to the Italian EU Presidency.

The seven countries are: Spain, Ireland, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

As the current holder of the EU Presidency, Italy is abstaining from taking a stand on the issue. But it is well known that Rome supports the demand as well.

The issue might now be up for debate when the next meeting of the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) is held on Monday (27 October) in Brussels.

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Cool posts Guys. I read parts of the existing French inspired EU Constitution. As the Economist stated - throw it in the bin. Complete nonsense. Some much liberal left of centre piffle it makes the head spin.

Spain, Poland, Sweden, Holland and Britain - this is where the hope of Europe lies. The EU experiment as it currently sits will fail. Economics and finance have a nasty habit of superceding left wing ideology.

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Read further into the article and the bloody Gauls refuseb to have anything ton with religion or any specific mention of Christian heritage in the Constitution. The group of 7 good guys say that not to include it is unacceptable.

It would be nice to see the EU fly apart, and individual countries building something new that does not include Gaul and teutonic Prussia.

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Well the EU and its constitution suffers from some severe ailments:

-Low productivity and lowered living standards

-Ageing population and future liabilities

-Low Employment rate [62%]

-High debt levels

-Rigid labor and regulatory markets

-High non-tariff barriers between countries

-Imobile populations

-Cultural apathy

-Broken education systems [average age of graduation in Germany = 29]

-Maastricht criteria broken by France and Germany

The principle of subsidiarity is key, but that is the EU rhetoric. In practice Brussels makes over 50 % of the national legislation currently. This will rise. Fiscal policy is now in the hands of the nations, but this too will change. Like monetary policy slowly tax, fiscal and non monetary affairs will be centralised.

An EU superstate is not efficient nor necessary.

Europeans are nationalists and regionalists first not Europeans.

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Low productivity and lowered living standards

france chooses to have a 35 yr work week. it helps parents spend time with thier children. you could argu that the demise of the family structure in the rich US is what causes much of its social problem. so choosing to spend your time on something more important is actually more productive in the big picture.

Rigid labor and regulatory markets

sometimes it is necessary to choose equality over efficiency. it would rather not have corperations unfairly make billions every year at the expense of society through tax loopholes, corrupt politicians and enron type scandels. so what the CEOs might consider rigid may serve to protect hard working citizens.

Imobile populations

you mean internationally? well hell, i dont want to leave my country either. i like my society.

Cultural apathy

the EU is apathetic to culture? uh, the only real culture left is europe. we dont want everyone to style themselves after the US now do we...

Broken education systems [average age of graduation in Germany = 29]

are you implying that there is a right age to graduate? maybe it serves a purpose for them, to help families or whatever. who knows. one thing is certain that some european and asian nations beat the US in many different educational tests so there is no 'right' answer for everything.

An EU superstate is not efficient nor necessary.

part of the reason the original drafters of teh canadian government wanted only a pseudo-federalist or in reality a strong centralized almost unitary state was to maintain strong national unity with a diverse regional and cultural makeup. the american civil war showed exactly what happens when a greater identity is lost.

if a collection of nations desire to share a common interest and capital to work for a greater good, it is necessary to have some central organization. intelligent people can come together and fit within a larger organization without destroying their own identities.

just look at the origins of the US and canada into the great nations they are today. not possible if all the colonies and dominions had been afraid of attempting somethign great.

sirriff

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Sure Riff, gov't should do everything, there should be no consumer or market driven products or services. Everyone should work only 20 hours per week, apparently according to the socialist-fascist camp total work hours in society are finite [how dumb is that idea?]. Young French flee to London to work and make money and French businesses are subject to huge tax and regulation just to police the # of hours their employees work. This is insanity.

The fact that none of the EU's labor, finance or tax regulations are rationale and supported by historical evidence in creating wealthy prosperous nations obviously has no impact on your settled mind.

In your world, freedom, contracts, choice and profits are illegal and immoral and gov't glorious and pure.

I suggest you go LIVE in Europe as i did for 10 years and see if the list i made really suits a world of freedom and choice.

It doesn't and this is why the standard of living in Europe is lower and its economy stagnant and its welfare services crumbling. But maybe you would enjoy being amongst other people that piss and moan and don't work......

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spain has one of the lowest birth rates in the world. they only have about 40 million people anyways. THEY are gong to lead europe? i think not.

The fact that none of the EU's labor, finance or tax regulations are rationale and supported by historical evidence in creating wealthy prosperous nations obviously has no impact on your settled mind.

so all these nations in europe with thier millions of people exist how? why havnt they collapsed yet? they have only been around for several hundred years. if they were so doomed why are they still perfectly modern countries? they have space programs, their citizens live very long, they have civilized societies. how can they exist like this if they are so fundamentally flawed?

with your great european life experience, please inform as to why they still exist. why hasn the us bought them out and made parking lots.

sirriff

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This is puerile Riff. The EU has huge debts and unfunded liabilities like Canada and like Canada they are living off future generations. They have had monopolised cartels making money from consumers and very selective liberalisation which has raised the prices of food and textiles by an average of Euro 6.000 per family per year. ie. just another tax. As the population ages, the employment rate shrinks and fiscal laxity reigns, the entire welfare system will come under direct threat. The health systems are already being privatised in Sweden and Holland - gasp ! not even the socialists in Canada would contemplate such a thing - but they will when it is clear [as it is now] that socialised medicine is a bankrupted ideology.

They can do the following:

1. Liberate their markets and labor pools and reduce spending and taxation

or

2. Continue with no meaningful reforms and watch their standards of living and wealth continue to decline vis a vis the USA, as their rhetoric of their cultured superiority climbs in offset [does this include fascism, the 30 years war, Napoleon, the holocaust.....?]

With only 62 % of people who should be working actually working, the EU's current model is unsustainable.

Add to that - no military - political hypocrisy and corruption - and insufferable arrogance and you have the recipe for marked decline.

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