20 July 2012

About the European Union

I came across items of interest lately concerning the EU.  I have much to learn myself on the functioning of the EU, but I thought these would be helpful for other curious folk.  After the jump, there is a video on how the EU works, an explanation of what the ECHR does, an article about EU squabbles and sovereignty, and a humorous look at European nations.

I had viewed this video in preparation for an EU Parliament internship (which never happened and I ended up in Hungary) and it's a pretty good summary.  It does make a pointed argument against having heads or ministers of state working cooperatively by emphasizing the sad truth that since they are elected nationally, they represent national interests.  I do find it utterly bizarre that TWO branches of government have nationally elected/appointed politicians––that may have been the worst concession ever made in putting together an European government.  It's been noted before that when the president of the European council is headed towards election, policy recommendations take a rather nationalist slant.  I'm generally been amenable to the idea that ALL EU body members should be directly elected, though I'm sure that would be somewhat a headache for Europeans - European, national, and local elections is quite a tally, really.  Perhaps they could do the "elect the party to elect people" model as several nations do for their own elections.

A friend of mine who is a military lawyer in Germany and he shared the link on the ECHR, which is a fascinating body and housed in a magnificent building. That transfer box system is so cool! Even if it seems a little bit like a futuristic device from 1985, I still like it. 

I also came across this article a few days ago. While it focuses primarily on the UK's position within the EU, the central argument holds a lot of weight in the general debate over sovereignty and pan-European governing.  I remain skeptical that the EU will evolve into the US of Europe (per Churchill's famous speech snippet), but I do think they could move in closer together without throwing elbows.  At this point, they have far more to lose than gain and it has provided great economic benefit to everyone.  Even countries who are not so well off are considerably more stable than they might have been.  Though the union has gotten closer, the nations have remained fiercely individual and I don't think that will change.  The system is having some growing pains and this is understandable since it was drawn up originally with only 5 members and has made somewhat minor changes since nations flocked to join.  They need to reevaluate the logistics of governing 27 nations and what balanced measures need to be taken.  The UN was designed with the whole world in mind, but the EU did not have such ambitious treatises in its beginning.

This clip is rather humorous (to me, anyway). It does solve some problems!