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EU Enlargement


John Simkin
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Well I am a european - "we are all greeks" - even though I reside in the British Isles.

Take down the borders and the flags and let our relative economic wealth help others in other places of this planet.

I earn too much money and I eat too much

"The four richest people in the USA have money money than the entrie wealth of the twenty poorest countries in the world" Micheal Moore's Stupid White Men

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Here in Sweden enlargement has been a bit of a non-issue. There have been a few articles in the newspapers about the new members, but enlargement isn't a hot topic. It'll be interesting to see how many speakers at the May Day meetings today mention enlargement - my guess is 'very few'.

Perhaps this is an expression of the wider failure of the EU to make much of an impression on Swedish society - at least overtly. I'm sure that enlargement will lead to all sorts of benefits for Sweden, particularly in contacts with Poland and the Baltic States, but I'm also sure that people here won't connect these benefits with enlargement, or the EU. They'll see them as the natural continuation of a process which has already been going on for years.

I'm not sure if you can read this is as positive for the EU or not - given the generally poor image the EU has here, it might be better if the practical benefits of enlargement *aren't* associated with it! People might accept them more readily that way.

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Here in Sweden enlargement has been a bit of a non-issue. There have been a few articles in the newspapers about the new members, but enlargement isn't a hot topic. It'll be interesting to see how many speakers at the May Day meetings today mention enlargement - my guess is 'very few'.

There has been quite a lot of publicity in the UK about EU enlargement. One of the main issues concerns the worries about migrant labour. This has created a fear that EU enlargement will result in keeping unskilled labour wage rates down an increase in unemployment.

Maybe, Sweden feels less threatened by this. For example, here are the current unemployment figures for the EU: Netherlands (3%), Sweden (4%), Luxembourg (4.1%), Ireland (4.3%), Portugal (4.7%), Austria (4.8%), Demark (5.1%), UK (5.2%), Hungary (5.8%), Finland (8.5%), Italy (9.1%), France (9.1%), Germany (9.8%), Czech Republic (9.8%), Greece (10.3%), Slovenia (11.0), Spain (11.3%), Estonia (12.4%), Lithuania (12.5%), Slovakia (17.2%) and Poland (18.1%).

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There's been a bit of stir in Sweden about migrant labour. Before she was murdered, Anna Lindh made a big point of Sweden's refusal to have any kind of transitionary rules for work and residence permits for people from the new member countries. Then Göran Persson dropped a comment about 'social tourism' (i.e. people who'd come to Sweden for the welfare benefits), and the Social Democrats introduced a proposal to parliament to bring in transitionary regulations about having an established job/place to live, etc before a migrant from the new member countries could settle in Sweden.

However, last week (Thursday), these regulations were voted down by Parliament, so now there are no transitionary rules or regulations at all. What people are most worked up about here are unscrupulous employers undercutting wages with workers from the new member countries, rather than people coming here and living off the state. However, the famous Swedish bureaucracy is cranking itself up to start checking new migrants very carefully.

My guess is that it will all be a storm in a teacup - and that life will go on as it did before.

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  • 4 weeks later...

:stupid Dear Colleagues,

I think that European enlargement is politically motivated decision and economically west countries will get benefit because former republics of the USSR are in a deep crisis and they just crushed their system but did not build new one.all former so called people's property are in a dirty hands/just few cases -of Lithuania president ,Latvia sold all property and have not nothing in their own hands , and they are waiting for foreign help and support but some years ago they were the most strongest republics/ of mafia and former communist leaders,but now they are new businessmen ......

All these issues about enlargement for Europe will bring new troubles i guess because these so called democracies are not ready for joining Europe, despite they have signed all necessary documents and Conventions including European CHR.But in Latvia 450 000 people without any civil and political rights because denied even citizenship,the same situation in Estonia but they are our neighbors and we see what is going on.they just have changed old holders for new one.It is normal thing because they are small countries and can't survive alone.

Independence-- according to UN research only 20 countries in the world could say that they do not depend economically and politically form others , others... depend completely form developed world , so .. we have what we have ... War in Irag and UN crisis because USA took decisons without Security Council just alone but others should follow them if they want to survive.Sorry, quite pessimistic perception but it is my point of view.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Europe is indeed a common home where geography and history have closely interwoven the destinies of dozens of countries and nations. Of course, each of them has its own problem, and each wants to live its own life, to follow its own traditions. Therefore, developing the metaphor, one may say: the home is common, that is true, but each family has its own apartment, and there are different entrances too.

The concept of a 'common European home' suggests above all a degree of integrity, even if its states belong to different social systems and opposing military-political alliances.

One can mention a number of objective circumstances which create the need for a pan-European policy:

(1) Densely populated and highly urbanized, Europe bristles with weapons, both nuclear and conventional. It would not be enough to call it a 'powder keg' today.

(2) Even a conventional war, to say nothing of a nuclear one, would be disastrous for Europe today.

(3) Europe is one of the most industrialised regions of the world. Its industry and transport have developed to the point where their danger to the environment is close to being critical. This problem has crossed far beyond national borders, and is now being shared by all of Europe.

(4) Integrative processes are developing intensively in both parts of Europe. The requirements of economic development in both parts of Europe, as well as scientific and technological progress, prompt the search for some kind of mutually advantageous cooperation. What I mean is not some kind of 'European autarky', but better use of the aggregate potential of Europe for the benefit of its peoples, and in relations with the rest of the world.

(5) The two parts of Europe have a lot of their own problems of an East-West dimension, but they also have a common interest in solving the extremely acute North-South problem.

Our idea of a 'common European home' certainly does not involve shutting its doors to anybody. True, we would not like to see anyone kick in the doors of the European home and take the head of the table at somebody else's apartment. But then, that is the concern of the owner of the apartment. In the past, the Socialist countries responded positively to the participation of the United States and Canada in the Helsinki Process.

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