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we are the champions...

by oldfrog Tue Mar 27th, 2007 at 05:01:09 AM EST

The Golden Moment

As the EU celebrates its 50th birthday, critics say it has one foot in the grave. But many countries now look there, not to America, as a model.

From the diaries - afew

Consider how the EU began, 50 years ago, as a parochial Franco-German entente. Today, it's the model for a continent. The EU expansion, subsuming a dozen former communist states, has been the surest exercise in democracy promotion since the end of the cold war. "Once sucked into Europe's sphere of influence," says Leonard, "countries are changed forever." The mere prospect of inclusion in the union has been enough to prompt whole countries to rebuild themselves from the inside out. Examples: Romania, which joined the EU just this year, and Turkey, which has Europeanized itself to an extraordinary degree, with the aim of joining Europe. The same effect can be seen in other hopefuls, from nations of the former Yugoslavia to Ukraine.

To be sure, the United States remains unrivaled in "hard" military power. Yet one need look no further than the quagmire in Iraq to see its limits. When it comes to the instruments needed to engineer peace, the softer tools of civilian power, Europe far exceeds America. It is the "quiet superpower."

Europe's tools go well beyond EU enlargement. The EU is the largest trading and investment partner of every nation in the Middle East. It has mounted diplomatic efforts, in conjunction with the United States or independently, to resolve disputes throughout the region. The EU provides 70 percent of the foreign aid and humanitarian assistance in the world today. Almost all the world's peacekeeping and policing forces, outside of Iraq, are staffed or funded primarily by Europeans--Lebanon, Sierra Leone, the Ivory Coast, Afghanistan. It will soon take over NATO missions in Bosnia and Kosovo.

Far from being a product of the past, the EU has emerged as Europe's most innovative and significant contribution to modernity. With its multilateral scope, the EU is the source of around 20 percent of all laws passed in Europe. It has extended the reach of democracy and free markets within and beyond its borders--in a way that American neocons can only dream about--and is becoming a model to the developing world. Futurologist Jeremy Rifkin advances a compelling case for the ascendancy of European ideals. "While the American Spirit is tiring and languishing in the past," he writes, "a new European Dream is being born"--one that emphasizes community relationships over individual autonomy, cultural diversity over assimilation, quality of life over the accumulation of wealth, sustainable development over unlimited material growth, deep play over unrelenting toil, and universal human rights." The global financier George Soros is putting money behind a similar idea, seeking to create a new European Council on Foreign Relations premised on the notion that U.S. foreign policy "has left the world leaderless and in disarray." Europe and a revitalized EU, he believes, offers a better "model and motive force" for addressing the global challenges of the modern era.

source Newsweek

see even :

L'Europe championne de l'innovation, les Etats-Unis sont des suiveurs


Jean-Claude Trichet souligne que la zone euro a créé plus d'emplois que les Etats-Unis

(thanks to Superfrenchie for the sources...)

Well, Euroseptics (pun intended) what do you say about that ?

About innovation, here is the full report: European Innovation Scoreboard 2006 and also a European Commission memo summarizing it

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Mon Mar 26th, 2007 at 06:14:45 PM EST
And I agree, we have some extraordinary achievements to celebrate.

In 1981, I was working in East Germany (DDR). Seeing the hardships my German friends had to endure, I was wondering if I would see a change during my life. I would never have believed that, less than 25 years later, they would have become EU citizens...

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Mon Mar 26th, 2007 at 06:34:54 PM EST
Way to go old frog!!!

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Tue Mar 27th, 2007 at 05:35:18 AM EST
there is a satisfying tingle of...pan-nationalistic pride, i guess.

continental chauvinism...

seriously, this is up there as main driver for me to move back here after 20 years outside europe.

historically, we are breaking ground, and it is being done without discernible cults of personality, no less.

charisma-free leaders are quietly improving our common lot, using modern tools to reach out and communicate our attitudes to the whole world.

how ironic that the lingua franca is english, and england is shy to come on board.

this is so vast in its implications, i see no reason to rush crafting a constitution; we have managed 50 years without one, what's 5-10 more, spent wisely to get it right, the next -and maybe last - time?

it might take that long for the vatican's influence to wane, and secularism to fully establish itself as the system fairest to all, whether religious or atheist.

i say that as a grateful christian/pantheist!

well diaried, oldfrog, kudos.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Mar 27th, 2007 at 07:55:23 AM EST

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