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15 Responses

  1. From what I understand, the prize is in honor of not having started another world war. Is that correct?

  2. The last 65 years have been the exception rather than the norm in Europe in that there has been no widespread slaughter and instead, there has been a lasting peace between the largest nations. This was the original aim of Monnet and Schumann with the Coal and Steel community.
    Perhaps Rab holds the belief that it was exclusively the massive arsenal of nuclear weapons that kept the peace on the continent and that the (admittedly daft) award should have at least been shared.
    A fair point.

    • Bobby the formation of Yugoslavia after WW2 kept peace in the Balkans for 50 years. Did you miss the widespread slaughter that ensued?
      Jeni, the wars are now fought out by men in suits in various briefings, summits and press conferences.
      Preferable to cities being bombed of course but the EU motto “United in diversity” has a hollow ring. Divided in adversity more like.

      • When was Yuguslavia ever in the EU.
        When were the component countries of Yugoslavia major powers on a par with France or Germany?

        As for united in diversity having a hollow rig – do you think Scotland should break up because the Central Belt is full of people who disagree, sometimes violently, about religion?

        • Bobby your comment referred to Europe and not the EU.

        • True. There was a time however when conflict in the Balkans would have had dire, if not fatal, consequences for a conscripted Highlander.
          Daft award apart, I think the EU has been largely successful in it’s original aim. The founders were two people who had lived through two bouts of unprecedented devastation on the continent. Whether you agree with the ultimate outcome of what they started, their motives were true at least.
          There is also the uncomfortable truth that nuclear weapons contributed to lasting peace through the stalemate (in Europe at least) of the Cold War.
          The third major contributor was the Marshall plan.

          Whatever the reasons, we have been extraordinarily lucky with the timing and location of our births.

      • Yugoslavia was formed after the First World War not after the Second. And it actually shows the opposite case.
        While the yugoslav union existed its peoples didn’t go slaughtering each other as they had before Yugoslavia existed. When Tito was still alive but clearly had not long to go I predicted (to my wife and anyone else who would listen) that if there was no strong centre to hold it together Yugoslavia would break up and there would be war. As there was before it formed. There was a certain grim symmetry about the Balkan wars of the early and late 20th century.
        Europe does need the EU – if only to stop the Germans and French from going at it again.

        • Sorry. Forgot to say that during the German occupation of the Second World War (when the Germans recognised Croatia as a separate entity – as they did so precipitately in the early 1990s) the Yugoslavs were also at each other’s throats – even as they fought the Germans at the same time.

        • Jack, The kingdom of Yugoslavia came into being in 1929 but only after WW2 did it become the Federal Peoples Republic of Yugoslavia, following the Partizans proclomation of 1943 which is what I was referring to.
          The people rejected Yugoslavia, the USSR and state communism in the eastern bloc.
          They have already rejected the EU. It’s a matter of time…….

        • Slovenia is in the EU already and all of the other former members of Yugoslavia are pursuing EU membership. I am not sure what you mean by “they have already rejected the EU”.
          When you make comparisons to the USSR, I wonder if you have ever talked to anyone who has lived through a dictatorship under genuine oppression?

  3. Bobby, I’m of course expressing a personal opinion. That’s still allowed meantime but if you don’t think that the EU has totalitarian intentions I suggest that you check out the story of economist Bernard Connolly and the subsequent European Court of Justice ruling http://www.internetional.se/emucon.html

    • If a senior UK civil servant, or indeed any civil servant, or perhaps a senior military official was to publish a book criticising the organisation that they worked for, there would be little expectation of them retaining employment with that organisation. The same is true for the private sector. I would not expect to survive long in my job if I wrote a book criticising my employer.

      Like anyone in work, Mr Connelly was subject to a contract of employment:
      “Article 12 adds that “an official shall abstain from any action and, in particular, any public expression of opinion which may reflect on his position”
      “The European Commission goes further, claiming that Mr Connolly was in direct violation of the Commission’s Staff Regulations because he did not seek permission prior to publishing his book”

      I can’t find any mention of it in the Telegraph article, but since you are making comparisons to the USSR, can you provide me a link to the part where they write about Mr Connelly’s imprisonment?

  4. Fair enough. However in 1998, just months before the euro’s introduction, he predicted that at least one of Europe’s weakest countries would face a rising budget deficit, a shrinking economy and a “downward spiral from which there is no escape unaided. When that happens, the country concerned will be faced with a risk of sovereign default.”
    Maybe they should have listened rather than shutting him up?

    • Publishing a book called “Rotten at the Heart” with a cover depicting Europe flooded with piss was perhaps not the most constructive approach that he could have taken. They didn’t shut him up – they just sacked him.
      I am fairly sure that the upper echelons of the EU were aware of what he (and others – what he said was a straightforward observation that fiscal union would be necessary at some point) had to say, but were happy enough to ignore it.
      I think that I have mentioned before on this blog that whilst the events surrounding the Euro look to be the Eurosceptics dream and the beginning of the end, it is also providing the opportunity to push through fiscal union with minimal political fallout.

      • I have always thought that the best way to paint was to rub down the surface and apply the primer and undercoat before the gloss.
        I’m not sure how successful it would be to do it in reverse.

        Edited to add:

        The painters are in!


        “It is yet a further example of how the eurozone crisis is carving out a new Europe less from choice but more by the need to survive.

        The direction of travel is causing unease – and not just in Britain.

        Swedish Finance Minister Anders Borg said that approval of a banking union would mark “a sad day for Europe”.

        His country is not joining the banking union, but Mr Borg said that “there is a move now towards eurobanks, eurotaxes, eurotransfers… We think these are steps in the wrong direction.

        “It might be very popular among the eurocrats, but I think there are very few Europeans actually wanting these developments.”

        German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, however, said that “painstakingly we advance the cause of Europe”.

        So, when Europe’s leaders gather in Brussels they will be examining a “blueprint” for building what is called “genuine” economic and monetary union.

        So, down the road – and probably not too far ahead – the European Union will seek closer co-ordination of national budgets and economies, how to enforce reforms and how to fund and wind down failing banks.
        Britain’s challenge

        The wider ambitions for all this were set out by the President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso.

        He sees the summit as signalling yet again the “irreversibility” of the euro and economic and monetary union.”

        Oh dear……

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