Friday, February 24, 2006

What is Euroscepticism?

I was intrigued by a post on Atlantic Rift musing on the nature of Euroscepticism. Why is it that if the UK and Sweden reject aspects of political union in the EU (and especially show up as less accepting of Europe in Eurobarometer polls) they are accused of being Eurosceptic awkward partner Member States with troublesome citizens, and yet France and Germany can challenge fundamental tenets of the single market and yet still be seen as core Member States, apparently largely untouched by the scourge of Euroscepticism? Interesting question. Fair question. In the interests of balance, however, I do feel bound to emphasise the point that while France in particular - less so, I suspect, Germany - does have some problems with aspects of the single market such as free movement of services, both countries are engaged with one aspect of European integration which neither the UK nor Sweden have yet accepted, namely the Euro. Atlantic Rift appears to treat the question of the euro as a political union question. With respect, I think it is (also) fundamentally an economic one, despite UK sensitivities about sovereignty and the pound. The best arguments against joining the euro are definitely economic, not political.


Anonymous jonn said...

It's a pretty fair point, to be frank - I was oversimplifying to make a point.

The Euro is both a political and economic issue. The best arguments against it may be economic ones (most notably, the probable failure of one-size-fits-all interest rates that you can already kind of see when you compare Eurozone countries). However, we do hear a lot of political sovereignty arguments floated as well. And while it's true that you do hear a lot of economic reasons for not going in, on the other side of the channel there were plenty of political reasons for getting it going.

So I took the easy way out and ignored it.

I do think though that the image of Britain as the awkward squad is perpetuated on both sides of the debate in Britain: the sceptics go off on their "This sceptred isle" style over-my-dead body rants, while the pro-Europeans have fits of shame and self-loathing about how appallingly Britain is behaving.

The truth isn't quite so simple: different groups in different nations have different levels of enthusiasm for different parts of the EU. That's so much harder to convey (and, frankly, boring) than "Us vs them: this time it's personal!"

The most annoying thing about the situation with the EU at the moment was that if it hadn't been for that bloody budget mess Britain would be in quite a position of strength about now.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006  
Anonymous jonn said...

Oh, also, France is moving to block an Italian energy company from taking over a French rival; instead, the French government engineered a French merger.

Doesn't that sound like something that should be called Eurosceptic?

More here.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a european investor in the UK. Over the last 20 years my family's companies have invested £75 million. We provide employment with decent (european style) conditions to our 328 employees. In recent years (particularly when the UK didn't set a course to join the euro) we stopped our investment as we now perceive the UK economy as a lopsided bet on a japan-circa-early-90es-style property bubble.

Accordingly we have divested any real estate in the UK which we feel is "irrationally exuberant" and is very likely to crash. We feel that this is true even with the stimulus of running a very aggressively competitive tax and worker rights regime within the single market in effect taking investment which would otherwise be in other european countries to the UK.

Given this fact we are alarmed by the hysterical quality in British euroscepticism. We feel there is a public hysteria whipped up by the Murdoch press which may sell newspapers but its not in the interests of this country. The influence R Murdoch has over Britain via the Times the Sun and Sky over Britain is of Berlusconian proportions.

We have already drawn plans to reduce our exposure to the UK for purely economic reasons, we may well relocate entirely in Bratislava, Slovakia if the same nationalistic rhetoric persists in making us feel that there is a risk of withdrawal. So far we have found that new europe has much better educated and productive people and policies that are in line with reality.

The UK is becoming bureaucratic not due to Brussels, its the unresponsive overpriced and low quality services and property but also there is widespread dishonesty in Banking and insurance and business services, it is generally bad value for money. Banks in particular are a law on to themselves. The personal loan bubble is likely to burst along with the housing one.

The fact that UK employees have much less security and rights than the rest of the EU has made up for the currency risk so far, but if this overpriced and overconfident country continues its direction in pulling out of the EU project this will give us reasons to think pull out our investments from the UK altogether.

Sunday, October 29, 2006  

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