We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
The dreams of a United States of Europe never made sense. The Common Market did, but it was meant to be just a stepping stone towards the reconstruction of a bigger, better Holy Roman Empire run by grey technocrats in gigantic office towers in Brussels.
It should be no surprise that the colonies are feeling restless as all forms of local sovereignty are slipping away.
While I consider myself pro-Germany and anti-EU, I must stand up for some of the things that have worked out quite well. I hope that even if the EU should unravel, these policies will not be discarded.
Standardization - in the USA you have ASME and ISO technical and engineering standards that define how things are made, produced, controlled and regulated. Things from bridge construction to electrical plugs and outlets. Common standard are a good thing, rather than a huge mix of British, German, Swiss standards where each follows it's own rules and fails to harmonize them. If you want a good example of what happens when you don't harmonize, try traveling around Europe without an electrical outlet adapter!
Currency - I hated to see the DM go away, but I must admit the Euro has really made day to day purchases and traveling much easier. The costs and hassle of constantly exchanging currency at the borders was a nightmare. Imagine using one currency in Texas, another in Oklahoma and yet another in Louisiana and living in Dallas and traveling frequently to the other two. That's how things were before the Euro came into being.
Freedom of movement - This is a big deal! Imagine someone from California not being able to move to New York because they are not a "New York" citizen. Under EU regulations, EU member nation citizens can easily move to and work in other EU countries without a work permit or permission of the host country.
English in schools - Most EU countries now require English as the primary second language. English is the international business language, and if countries want to effectively communicate, it has to be with a common language. It's just that simple.
It was clear that the disparity of the member nation economies, plus the outright lies of Greek finances early on, have not helped them and now Germany is perceived as the bad guy. The truth is Greece and Portugal should have never been allowed to join the EU from a currency perspective. But open borders and harmonization of technical standards, freedom of movement and a common language make life much easier.
Unfortunately an established bureaucracy does not have a great history of acknowledging its own bad ideas and tends to cling to even the worst ideas in a "But we've always done it that way!" attitude.
Karl Horst (Germany)
All of those conveniences and benefits could have been accomplished by treaties.
Everybody gets just about what they want. It's just, they don't recognize it when they get it.
It doesn't look the same as what they had in mind.
In my hesitant inarticulate way I am trying to say all these nations, I guess I should include ours, they start out with some grand plans that will, as the alchemist does, turn dross into gold. Nobody thinks about what they're gonna do, they achieve that. also nobody has an exit, a failsafe plan.
Like, "aw, ain't those wolf cubs cute?" until one fine day they wake to find the wolf has eaten their baby daughter.
there's no fixit, there's only tear it down and start over.
Karl:"But we've always done it that way!" I like that.
I'm surprised the EU survived the Greek calamity - which isn't finished by the way.
I don't see why some of the things Karl likes about the EU era couldn't be preserved - in fact, I'd be surprised if things like EU wide standards or English teaching would be discontinued even if the EU were to end.
But the other things should be celebrated if/when they are discontinued. The Euro means that economies are difficult to maintain - For the most part, Germany is propping up Greece, Italy, Spain, and Portugal because they can't devalue their currency. My understanding is that all the EU countries are required to treat immigration as dictated by Brussels. Shouldn't the individual countries determine how to handle that?
I think that the EU went too far. Germans, Italians and the French have so much less in common than do Californians and New Yorkers. The EU was always fated to fail because of these differences that go back a millennium or two. But when you brought the PIIGS into the mix that became the catalyst for the eventual collapse of the EU.
My advice to the EU Commission and Council is to negotiate a breakup now. Save what works and makes sense and that could even include the Euro. Divorce yourself from the PIIGS or at least a economic separation. Make this happen before it all becomes chaotic and you will be able to continue business as usual.