segunda-feira, julho 04, 2005

Sunday Thoughts (III): Germany, Uk, and the EU

Germany seems a european looser. This is a widely shared opinion here in the UK. The political crisis in Germany makes me sad. Unfortunately, it was expected. I amused myself reading comments of people on the BBCwebsite ( have your say). When travelling to Germany, Britons seem to see only the economic crise. They do not see recycling habits, public transports, etc. In Romagna we say "hanno il prosciutto sugli occhi" ("they have ham on their eyes"). They would have so much to learn...sigh...

Reality is: the quality of life in Germany is higher than here. People are better off in Germany than here. Germany is still an economic power (the number of patents per capita is higher than the UK figure). This is probably the reason the crise is still at bay. I cannot figure out the UK economic performance and the neurosis of the Brits in case of an hypothetical "take-over" of an area as big as East Germany- and in the same economic conditions.

It is also interesting to read their opinion on the EU budget issue. I have a suggestion for them:
UK should get out of the EU! At least as long as we (other europeans) are still on time. Instead of rebating, they could use the funds for more urgent and noble causes, such as:
  1. improve public transport
  2. a civilization campaign (basic hygiene, how to throw rubbish in rubbish bins, how to spit chewing-gums in the same bins-not on the streets / train seats-THANK YOU!!!) for the british public
  3. improve recycling
  4. tackle the problem of youth gangs-not more police, please. Instead: better education, better schools, better food, better opportunities to find a dignified job for their parents as well.
This way, the award winning solicitor company Tony & Cherie Blair could eventually turn upon British welfare Statehome-grown problems, rather than trying to demolish the european ones.


At 7/04/2005 3:25 da manhã, Anonymous Pedro said...

Interesting thoughts! However, and bearing in mind the pictures of the barbaric zest of the Britons (not only Britons…) that travel from Heathrow, I’d pose the following question: Do civilized nations last longer? Do the elegance in manners and the enlightenment of spirit contribute for the long run sustainability of civilizations? That being true, the Roman Empire would had never been demolished and replaced by a world of barbarians! Shouldn't we instead see our Old Europe as a gallant, civilized but decadent empire, which is in the process of being demolished and replaced by a "steak and kidney" Atlantic dominance?

At 7/04/2005 1:22 da tarde, Blogger Nuno said...


Indeed. If we look at evolution theories (darwin, etc), it is clear that the best does not always win. Yet, if I, as an european citizen, I'm faced with a coice between Barbarity and civilisation, I'll definitely choose the latter. Or, at least, I'll struggle for civilisation.

I challenge that view that europe is a decadent empire. First, Europe is not an empire. Second, despite the crisis in some EU coutries, it is still one of the richest regions in the world. Not only in terms of economic power, but also in terms of culture and know-how.

Of course, what is at stake in today's debate is the well-fare state. Do we really have to throw it all away, like Mr Blair suggests? I also agree that the well-fare state has problems. But can't we work to improve them? Is "throw it away" the only solution? I don't think so. What do we want from life? Money or quality of life. I'll definitely go for the latter.

At 7/04/2005 11:56 da tarde, Blogger chiara said...

This is indeed what is scary in the present situation. The barbaric invasions ..(by the way, did you see the movie?). No more debate between left and right ideas of civilizations, this is going to be replaced by clash of religions, nationalism, ethnicity, calls to restore traditions (good things traditions, as far as carnivals and food are concerned). In this respect, the Atlantic empire is not as frightening as the chinese one is (see today BBC report from Africa and Sudan), as far as democracy makes the difference. And my idea of civilizations is not merely onbe of "elegance". It is substantial in the sense that pursues,..I can't find a better way of saying it even if it may sound rethoric .."egalite fraternite liberte". The French revolution's ideas have never been so close to us and up to date.

At 7/05/2005 3:19 da manhã, Anonymous Pedro said...

Dear Chiara and Nuno,
I do agree that the battle for the welfare state is in the realm of nowadays political struggle; I also agree that civilization is much more than cultural refinement: today’s European culture consists, to a great extent, of a hard kernel of socioeconomic progresses and civil rights which are matchless even within the developed world! My apprehension concerns only the sustainability of this European order; the French and Dutch “NO” have shown that many Continental Europeans don’t believe in the European project and are not more altruistic than the average Brit; when called to decide, most citizens considered that the “French revolution principia” didn’t pay a possible reduction in the existing standards of living. It is likely that many people would gaily sell the welfare state for a handful of... pounds! And we shouldn’t forget that, on the top of that, a far-right logic, as expressed in the obsession with immigration controls, was the rationale informing the decision of many voters. With voters like these barbarians don’t even need an invasion as they’re already inside the fortress!


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