Views on European Union

Got an interesting question from a Journal I read, and I thought it would make a good discussion topic :slight_smile: :

The European Union is 50 years old. Is this a cause for celebration?
do you think the EU has had a bad effect on the continent, its politics and its economy?

So what do you guys think?
Has being in the EU affected your life or where you live?
Do those of you not in the EU want to join?
Why have the Eastern European countries been so eager to join?
What do people in the rest of the world think of the EU?
Is it seen as a threat on Britain’s relationship with the Commonwealth and (ex-)colonies?
How do other European countries resolve this with their ex-colonies?

Who told you this?

You got me :laughing: it’s the impression I’ve got over the last few years’ of news reports. Though I don’t know how much the UK news can be trusted any more… :wink: It’s why I posted the topic - I’ld love to know what people really think!

I know some countries - Poland in particular - were trying to get into the EU for a few years. And there was something on TV the other night about how Poland saw the EU as a temendous opportunity to grow economically. However, Poland joining the EU (and Romania, and Bulgaria) seems to get tied in people’s minds to immigration, and everyone gets a bit hysterical about it… I mean, I’m sure that government’s don’t just join the EU so that people can leave their country more easily! :smiley:

I do appreciate Eastern Europe is a big place, and there are other countries who haven’t joined. :slight_smile: Are you from one of these?

In Moldova already half of the population is spread all over the Europe, Canada and US.
Working hard and sending money home to sustain the other half that couldn’t leave.
Yesterday I found out how much teachers in gov. schools get payed… I was really shocked!! :frowning: A graduate student with no experience will get something like $35 per month. A teacher with 30 years experience gets $75 per month. It’s absolutely not enough to survive in Moldova…
Besides this in villages salaries are delayed sometime for several months.
So people live only of the land that is around their houses… ironically this is the dream of many green activists - sustainable and organic farming…

Till recently people from Moldova could visit Romania without a visa… But since Romania joined EU we need a visa.
In spite of being the poorest country in Europe one would be amazed what private villas are built around the capital city…
The price of a studio apartment costing over $20 000 makes it absolutely impossible for a medium citizen to acquire one without working a couple of years abroad.

As far as I know, EU enforced a ban on animal testing for cosmetic industry, I think it’s a good thing :wink:

Recently Romania and Bulgaria joined the EU. They were accepted for one single reason. Western capitalists need more cheap work force. A citizen of a country like Germany won’t go to a job where he would earn less in case he’s losing a well-paid job. He’d rather stay unemployed till he gets a well-paid job, living on the dismissal pay.

Warchild! :astonished: I hadn’t thought of that. We don’t get dismissal pay in the UK, but I gather some people will find ways of avoiding working in low-end jobs. And we do seem to need the extra workforce - unemployment is surprisingly low.

The problem we have in the UK is that factories and farms are increasingly employing people through “employment agencies.” These agency workers have few rights - they are often on minimum wage, not entitled to sick pay, and are only told on the day of work if they have a job for that day (though they can’t claim benefits if they don’t work). The agencies will employ anyone, but favour people who they think won’t complain. The conditions in some of these factories are not pleasant. I worked in one that found ways around Health & Safety guidelines: we were expected to climb on machinery that was still on, and weren’t given safety equipment, but they made us sign Risk Assessments so that everything was legal. Immigrant workers will often work in these conditions without question, then British workers then feel that they have to tolerate the same conditions, or they will lose their jobs. Trade Unions have little or no presence at most factories, and even the British workers don’t tend to know their rights any more. Hence there is some hostility and resentment towards immigrant workers in parts of the UK. And there are always some people who are just scared of foreigners :wink:

Of course, this is not the immigrants’ fault: it is the government and industry who allow this to happen. My union are campaigning to improve rights for agency workers, and to better enforce workplace legislation :smiley: So hopefully it will all stabilise in a few(?) years. One of the good things to come out of the EU is that we now have minimum wage :slight_smile:, but we’re still not as well off as the French and Germans :confused:

Wow, Andy, I didn’t know that about Moldova! :astonished: Over here teachers are complaining about salaries of around £20 000 to start! (about $3276 a month?) Mind you, the cost of living is higher: we pay on average 25% tax, and a basic apartment in my town costs over £90 000 ($177 000) - still too expensive for most :frowning: Sorry, I’m struggling to cope with this; I would be in real trouble if I had to live off my attempts at gardening… :wink:

Yea, I guess there’s a difference between not being able to buy your own flat and not being able to rent a flat. :unamused:

Yes, this is true :slight_smile: But rent is high here too: most young people either share a house/flat, or live with their parents, and that includes people with professional jobs. There are a lot of reasons for this, so I won’t bore you… And remember not everyone has a nice professional job! :wink: I think you are right, though: most people in the UK do not know what it is like to have no money :unamused:

But we always worry about what the future may hold…

This site has some more information[/url]

Sergio - I didn’t know about the ban on animal testing. I did just find this:

I know the EU seems to have had a great effect on farming too - every year there are reports of some activity being subsidised, or needing to be altered. I remember something about the curvature of bananas being regulated… :laughing: Does anyone have any experience of this? Does the EU help farmers, or threaten their traditional way of life?

I recently heard that farmers from Switzerland are not allowed anymore to feed their cows with cannabis :smiley: They were using it to increase the quantity of milk 8)

Switzerland is not in European Union, they even recently had a referendum about it.

If they’re involved in health, then they should be regulated by drug laws which AFAIK are much stricter than cosmetics laws. They want both: to be considered health products and to be regulated as cosmetics…

Even if Switzerland aren’t in the EU, I still found it fascinating that they thought of feeding their cattle cannabis! :laughing: I read that they are trying to relax the laws on cannabis consumption over there.

Well, my journal published some of the answers they had to this question this week.

There seemed to be a lot of negative feeling: people worried that there was too much beurocracy, inflexibility, it stifled fee enterprise, and there was too much “meddling.”

There was a worry that money from the richer countries was being “drained” to aid the poorer ones, leaving Europe unable to compete with Asia. (NB - I don’t agree with this: I think that in the long term the situation will stabilise, as the cost of living and employment rights increase in those countries. And it won’t hurt to have a few allys when the time comes :wink: )

One person stated that: European trade is now more difficult than it ever has been, due to increased import and export legislation and taxation.

However, a few people said that Europe was in a better state now than before the EU. It has helped free up markets and aided international collaboration. It has also helped Britain (traditionally a trading nation) stay competitive with the rest of the world. A global economy may prevent poverty and economic collapse in the future.

Almost unanimously, there was a feeling that there needs to be better representation in Europe, so that smaller countries do not end up being dominated by the needs of the larger, more vocal ones (such as France and Germany)

And there were a few old predjudices: the Spanish want all our fish, and the French don’t want our beef! :laughing: One person noted that it’s never been a very united Europe… :wink:

Surprisingly, there were no comments about any environmental or agricultural issues. I remember being taught at school about the “grain mountain” and “wine lake” (surplus produce) and how the EU was giving grants to farmers to grow different crops, and use traditional crop rotation techniques.

But of course, that’s why outsourcing is so popular :stuck_out_tongue:

Well the Euro seems to grow :slight_smile:

Hmmm :confused: Remember me, when I am unemployed and destitute because my job went to India… :wink:

I have discovered two interesting things:

  • the EU is putting high tariffs on wine imports (!) :imp: let me have my wine, dammit! :drunken:
  • the pubs near my Dad’s house have posters in Polish or Lithuanian: I suspect there is an offer on the beer, but I don’t know. Nor can I pronounce the new beer they stock :crybaby:

Anyone know the Polish for beer? :stuck_out_tongue:

I shall have to befriend some Polish speakers. Maybe my Dad’s neighbours, who mend their cars, topless, on a Sunday morning :love10: