Kevin Tinholt

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European Union, Pan-European Association or Complete Disintegration? Cooperation in 2020 and can International Organizations Play a Role?

Ode to Joy by Beethoven, the national anthem chosen by the European union to represent brotherhood and the unification of all mankind seems nowadays nothing more than a mean joke. Though like brothers the leading European States now bicker on who is going to be the next successor to the continent's wealth and inherit the prestige that comes with it. Nevertheless, in the last years we did see an increase in collaboration, but if this collaboration is because of mutual interest of the abiding of those who have become the scapegoat of the world.

So what is the future of the European Union? Will we see more integration? Or will we keep today's system of integrated closed communities/systems under a haphazard rule of law? Can the coming economic transition create the impulse for increased collaboration, both economically and scientifically, or will we see the formation of Pan-European clusters?


I want to start it off with proposing a scenario.

1. A "true" unification of the European Peninsula will have, without a doubt, great benefits for upcoming generations of Europeans and the rest of the world. Though with the disputed state identity such an unification will not go smoothly, I mean which nation would want to lose their national self-identity? Any politician supporting this idea nowadays would be signing his own letter of resignation.

So if we do need these well integrated institutions which are internationally accountable, why not let International Organizations handle it? These organizations absent of any national identity could lay the groundwork for future development. With projects such as CERN, why not also connect every national research institution/university into an European network? Such efforts could standardize our education standards and revolutionize higher-education. This collaboration in turn would be beneficial to all the economies in the European Union as it would increase their competitiveness globally.

What do you people think?

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    Apr 20 2012: Four years ago I hoped that the UK would eventually join the Euro - I considered myself to be pro-Euro and pro-EU. Obviously, I'm now very much against joining the Euro, but I’m also much less in favour of remaining in the EU. I used to feel aggravated when people criticised the EU, now I feel I was naïve. I'm not quite a UKIP voter - but give me time! I'm highly sceptical about the value of the EU and its institutions and feel they’re a huge dead money pit. They remind me of pyramid selling scams. Member states give lip-service to the “togetherness” of the EU club, when actually they’re all out for their own advantage. Euro Zone countries in difficulty are seeking bail outs from the IMF when their first port of call should be the ECB.

    As far as the European Peninsula is concerned - its boundaries are meaningless, confusing, ill defined and the cause of disputes and conflicts. All because Constantinople is located on the west bank of the Bosporus and Moscow is located west of the Urals - should we consider Turkey and the Russian Federation to be specifically European countries when the vast majority of their landmass and populations are located within the landmass we call Asia? What about Georgia and Azerbaijan? The concept of continents are, at best, geographic constructs. They are not useful for socio-political-cultural identification.

    Human's are tribal animals - lets just celebrate our differences rather than joining together to become the same. Collaborations are okay for as long as they last, but, they should be considered as tempoury states so only tears (rather then blood) are shed when things go pop.
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      Apr 20 2012: No sympathy, sounds reasonable. The countries have led themselves into ruin, but that is something caused by this generation. How can we turn our backs to the generations to come? How can deny them a future of possibility? by starving out these debt-ridden economies? It will not only cause hatred towards the EU, but it will also mean these people will not help towards the creation of a mutual beneficial world. In return richer countries will always bully less powerful ones, an ugly scenario wouldn't you say?

      Go bankrupt? Such a thing could be said about the Netherlands. A small population with a large agrarian sector (although not for the production of food). Such an argument shouldn't matter, as there will always be countries more favorable for agriculture and they are not have a lesser importance just because they don't make as much money.

      The European Union does indeed cost us a lot of money, but where is all this money going to? Projects I presume. So I did some research and came to the conclusion that the focus on cooperation was never really there, it was all about regulation of haphazard models from the previous age. Such a thing is going to turn out badly for everyone, also for the UK, whether they are in the EU or not.

      In my opinion the EU has advantages, especially for scientific research, cooperation on a global scale and above all economical benefits through better regulation of a variety of sectors. However, without innovation these paradigms will shift much faster than what is happening now. While the leaders are discussing who is going to rule the people are starving for reform, new opportunities and of course prosperity.
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        Apr 20 2012: Things are currently difficult across Europe - they have been difficult across the rest of the world for the majority of people for considerably longer.

        I do have sympathy for Europeans experiencing difficulty - standards of living will decline, but that doesn't mean their children will “suffer” nor do those young people have the right to be angry - they will know no difference other than the circumstances in which they grow up, and then its up to them to find their own happiness. The future is for the young to create - its up to them. I grew up in the 1970's - we didn't have a colour TV, central heating nor a family car - I didn’t resent my parent’s for that.

        Future generations may find a greater happiness from living life simply. They may look back on today's working generation with pity as having been profligate fools - and I hope they do.

        The Netherlands has a small population but has an advanced industrial economy. Ireland, Portugal and Greece are primarily agrarian economies - the added value of their produce will not repay their debt burden for generations - so I believe it will be in their best interest to leave the Euro. It will be up to the remaining Euro members to pick up the tab - or let the Euro die. I know it’s not great but the UK showed the obvious weakness in monetary union during our brief foray into the European ERM between 1990 and 1992.
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          Apr 20 2012: Before I say anything: Did you change your previous comment? As the last two paragraphs are unfamiliar to me, or am I hallucinating? I know that I replied rather quickly.

          Ireland had quite a massive banking sector, not to mention foraging. Grease is a movie (sorry, I had to) even though promising led itself into even more trouble after abusing the EU-system meant to stop overproduction of food.

          So what should we do? Collapse the whole system? That would create a vacuum and instability, which would create even more problems for Europe and all its partners. We have stepped on this fragile (sinking) ship and instead of blaming the creators whop have long since passed, why not fix or renovate it? Show the rest of the world our capabilities, not just as advertisement for an European Union, but as an advertisement for cooperation and peace over rivalry and war.
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        Apr 20 2012: Hi Kev, Yes, don't panic - I did edit my original comment because I felt it didn't reflect your question about Europe as a geographic area wider than the EU.

        Anyway... as you can see, I am a disappointed ex-pro Euro/EU fan - so the current mess gives me no pleasure at all.

        I do consider exit of P, I and G to be the best strategy to fix the sinking Euro ship - for the reasons I stated. It'll be up to the ECB to sort out the fall-out, but I do feel it will be for the best for all concerned and the only way to give the Euro credibility in the long term. Carrying on as we are may well lead to that collapse... vacuum ... instability... widespread civil unreast....

        P, I and G will be better able to recover without their current debt burden and can devalue to best support their currency and export market / tourist industry. With these countries out of the loop the Euro Zone only has to focus on Spain and Italy. Italy, I feel will cope, Spain may need more support - but will probably stay within the Euro.

        Long term - well who knows - it will be for those young people to decide. A United States of Europe may work - but does the USA really work? Does the UK work? Perhaps the very word "United" indicates former or intrinsic differences which have to be overcome by being united. As I've said, we are tribal and it doesn’t take a lot before flags start to get burnt and all too soon we're mentioning that war again!

        Young TEDster's have a great advantage in being able to talk directly with people from all over the world. They don't have to believe their State newspapers, media or class teachers. They can make their own minds up from a young age - which is good news.