Pretty much as the title, looking for an outsider’s perspective on the E.U. Do Americans generally have a positive or negative view of the E.U., is it split on party lines like it is over here? Do you think it deserves credit for keeping the peace in western Europe and fostering closer relations or do you see it as a corrupt bloated bureaucratic mess? Do you see it as a nascent ‘United States of Europe’?
Poll incoming, using my approve-o-meter, +5 is maximum approval, +1 is very slight positive thoughts.
I neither like it nor dislike it, but I have serious doubts that it will work for long. It seems to be forcing too many disparate cultures to be joined at the hip against their will and against their best interests. But I’ll admit I don’t really know much about the details. And I really don’t much care, either!
Um, I guess it depends on how much you like Europe! Or to put it another way, if you witnessed its demise, would you think it was a good or bad thing, or even not care at all?
Reason I ask Americans is that you’re well familiar with the idea of a union of states under an overarching federal structure, so are uniquely qualified to offer insight into whether this kind of model could or could not work in Europe.
Obviously the analogue isn’t perfect, the Feds have far more power over the several states than the E.U. does over its member states (which is still far too much, depending on who you ask), if a member left the E.U. it wouldn’t be called succession. But I hope you can get where I’m coming from in asking.
What I know of the EU is mostly in its role as a sort of trade agreement - unified currency, more open borders, that kind of thing. I’m generally in favor of making goods and people more mobile across national lines, so I see that as a positive thing overall.
What I don’t really know is how effective it is in that role. Is it fulfilling the promise or just creating another layer of bureaucracy?
I also know that it has other roles, but I’d have to look them up to make sure I’m remembering them right, and I also don’t know whether it’s really effective in those roles or not. (But then, I often have to look up how the US federal government interacts with its state governments and I live in the US. This kind of thing is complicated by nature.)
The above pretty well summarize my view. I read a lot about the EU and have even visited their official website from time to time.
Overall I think it’s a deeply flawed implementation of a very good idea. But sadly, the idea was not correctly sold / explained to its citizenry. Back in happier times (50s-90s?) there might have been a window of opportunity to get folks behind a more united & federated vision of Europe. With the current economic and demographic issues, plus all the unrest on Europe’s borders, know-nothing me-first ism will tear the EU apart; slowly at first followed by a cataclysmic big rip. We can hope (and I certainly expect) it doesn’t come to intra-European war, but even that can’t be 100% ruled out.
Back at the OP: I don’t think the US experience has too much to say about the prospects of the EU. The cultural homogeneity, economic interconnectedness and language commonality of the US (or of Canada for that matter) are so utterly different from the EU that comparisons are fraught.
What the US & Canada demonstrate is that given cultural homogeneity in an era when much of the land was uninhabited, 10,000 people was a big city and 1,000 employees was a gigantic business, large aggregate societies can form and persist for at least a couple hundred years.
Given that none of those antecedents even begin to apply to present day Europe, the US/Canadian experience tells us almost nothing about whether the European counties can ever get from where there are today to where the US or Canada is today.
Also another vote that very few Americans know or care whit one about the EU. Even the educated informed ones mostly still hew to Kissinger’s withering comment: “If I want to talk to Europe, who do I call?” Educated informed Americans mostly consider European countries as the only actors on the European continent that matter. Uneducated uninformed Americans don’t know the EU exists, nor care.
I’m an American who avidly follows European politics, particularly the United Kingdom. I strongly support the European Union. I’m less supportive of the Euro, I think it should only have been implemented in countries with a strong economy, not places like Greece which have had a history of economic instability. I’m also a strong supporter of Schengen and hope the temporary border checks are eliminated once the refugee crisis subsides.
My opinion, and this could be uneducated, was I thought it was a good idea with western Europe but they keep inviting eastern european nations in. I do not consider eastern european nations to be on the same level as western europe, that is like merging north america and south america. The economics and culture do not mesh well as many eastern european nations have much smaller economies and lived under brutal governments until recently. If the eastern european nations created their own version of the EU, like the EEU, and cooperated with the EU that’d be fine but I’m prejudiced against eastern europe vs western europe.
And then Turkey tried to get into the EU, which Turkey is even worse.
I voted +3. As far as purely selfish and individual reasons go, as a once and future tourist to Europe, I like the Schengen Area, and at least in principle the euro is good for me. (Fewer interesting-looking but fundamentally useless bits of loose change and small bills to pile up–you can re-use your leftover money from your vacation in Portugal if you go back a few years later to Finland, and so forth.)
Also, historically when Europeans threw a big war, everyone eventually wound up being invited. I would like to avoid that.
I didn’t vote +4 or +5, because there do seem to be some problems with the implementation. But I definitely like the idea of a Europe that is peaceful, free, and united.