Thursday, April 27, 2006

Two years after enlargement

Coverage of EU themes on this blog recently has been rather thin. I can hardly blame this on my creation of a separate blog on EU stuff, as I haven't posted much there either yet. Sorreee...

Anyway, it may not have escaped your attention that we are running very close to the second anniversary on 1 May of the historic fifth enlargement of the European Union in 2004, including the eight states of central and eastern Europe which escaped the yoke of "state socialism" in 1989.

My own personal favourite "enlargement story" involves being in Copenhagen on 1 May 2004 - where the picture here was taken. Copenhagen is where all the really important decisions about enlargement, and its conditions, were taken. So it was ironic that I was there - for a conference unrelated to enlargement - on that day. Anyway, on 1 May 2004, I purchased a pair of Ecco shoes (a Danish company) in Copenhagen clearly marked "Made in Slovakia". How very prescient that was, given the recent events regarding the shifting of car production to Slovakia. Anyway, at the time, the shoes felt very "European" in a rather complete sense.

Over the next few days, I am going to be watching out for the tenor of press coverage on "two years after enlargement", and see to what extent it presents the story with all its warts. Here's a snippet about one downside of the generally positive cultural interaction resulting from enlargement. In Dublin last week, a friend of mine mentioned to me the rash of deaths of foreign nationals in car crashes in Ireland, notably the four Polish men killed in a crash in Cork last week. My friend works for an organisation which provides support for immigrants in Ireland, and he is concerned, as are many, about an apparent lack of awareness amongst newcomers to Irish roads about some of the dangers which lie in wait for them especially if they bring certain "habits" of speeding and overtaking with them. I don't want to sound too prejudiced, but I have to say that having travelled by car in a number of central and eastern European countries in recent years that there is a good deal of driver education to be done to reduce the risk for all concerned to acceptable levels.

Anyway, over the next few days I am planning to blog about coverage of enlargement on the EU law and politics blog.

3 Comments:

Blogger 20 said...

If you are interested in discussing enlargement with a membership from all the countries of Europe (from Britain to Belorussia) in the first ever fully internally democratic pan-European political party, please consider joining at www.europeunited.org

Thursday, May 18, 2006  
Blogger Numptie said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Thursday, May 18, 2006  
Blogger BondWoman said...

Thanks for that link. I'll look it up.

Thursday, May 18, 2006  

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