Europe - The State of the Union
By Anand Menon
A review by the Cote d'Azur Men's Book Club
Europe is an enigma, a political puzzle and a Lady Bountiful to thousands of enlightened landowners and agriculture workers to whom the 23 strong quazi State hands out millions of Euros.
Is it that difficult to be even -handed to all member States and does it matter? Well, it depends on where you were either born or live.
Fifty year after the launch of the Common Market based on a peace pact that saw France and Germany living in harmony , the Brussels- based bureaucracy has some 30,000 employees, many of them of a very high standard and a Parliament schizophrenic or diplomatic enough to boast two debating chambers in France and Brussels
Common Market, did you say? Or European Economic Community or European Union, or European Commission, or, well, whatever the mandarins want to call it. Its Constitution recently rejected by the peoples of France and Holland, the EU marches on with the arrogance of a General De Gaulle.
Yet the Union has reached a kind of permanence and everyone in the Cote d'Azur Book Club - an international crowd - supports it even though the EU still lacks political power. That is its biggest problem. As Henry Kissinger said "Who do I speak to, what is his phone number?"
Members spent time discussing the EU's values, or lack of them, and its future and the Turkish question. Will the integration of States like the Ukraine, Russia and some North African be a possibility or a reality?
Where goest though, Europe? Could it become Eurasia, a world state of Orwellian proportions? Members spoke of life values, the great benefits of common ideals concerning human dignity, equality of men and women and peace, freedom and The Law. High ideals yet for some the question of an European "identity" is still a problem, almost as difficult as trying to "fix" EU borders.
Critics of the EU in the nations that are members, include the United Kingdom that is, oddly, one of the biggest supporters in the sense that it tends to strengthen every Directive . The much-derided Commissioners do good work, says Professor Menon, acting as referees to deal with issues that member states do not entrust to their partners.
The Book Club conducted a straw poll to see who would vote against the European Union's existence. Not one hand was raised Sadly it was also discovered that no one had voted for an MEP!
This book was welcomed
as a work that shines on the darkest corners of the EU, how it works and how it may dominate the future.