Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Assuming everything goes well Turkey is due to join in ten or twelve years. Hmmh. Care to cast your mind back on Spain or Portugal a dozen years before membership? You know, just emerging from dictatorship with still considerable irredentist right wing blocks along with large and powerful communist parties.  Places which were basically rich third world countries whose citizens were just ending a tradition of emigration to South America in search of a better life.  Greece and Ireland were also incredibly poor.  Hell, have you been to southern Italy even now?

Or to name a place I am personally familiar with - Poland. I remember my phone back in the early nineties; a phone which had a mind of its own.  Some days it worked pretty well. Most days, however, were... interesting.  The days when there was simply no dial tone were perhaps the best. Much better than the times the phone fixated on some random number, no matter what you actually dialed (I remember one morning when I needed to call in sick and the phone insisted on calling some increasingly iritated hungover guy) or the ones when it dialed all sorts of numbers, any number, just not the one you were calling.  Rules and regulations - you've got to be kidding me. The bazaars sold anything and everything. Mostly dirt cheap and horrible quality food and clothing, but also guns, porn, id's, pirated music and movies, illegal cigarettes, prostitutes... everything, right in the open in broad daylight. Getting around by car at night was fun - the streetlights in Warsaw all turned off around 11 - enjoy the free for all.Or the police force - hah.   And the poverty - sweet god. Poland is still an incredibly poor place by Western standards in the countryside and the small towns, but back then it was worse and even the cities were destitute. Doctors and engineers travelling to Western Europe to earn money as casual labourers.

So sorry, I don't think much of the article.

by MarekNYC on Mon Jul 11th, 2005 at 01:02:15 AM EST

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