Wednesday, May 18, 2005

EUrope heading for a split

Reading through the Financial Times earlier today I noticed the following paragraph in an article entitled No campaign regains lead, French poll shows

France and Germany have talked about a "relaunch" of a stalled EU along their preferred lines, with more social and economic harmonisation. But since at least half of EU members would not be attracted to what British diplomats caricature as a "core Europe of high unemployment and low growth", such a move could split the EU into two camps
This “split” within the EU is something I have alluded to before, and with every day that passes it seems more likely that a split may occur. The FT also carries another article that echoes the above qoted paragraph See - Schroeder reaches out to critics of capitalism
German chancellor Gerhard Schröder will next month call for a European initiative to promote public spending on research, set minimum social standards in companies and tighten controls on international financial flows, senior members of his Social Democratic party said on Tuesday.

The chancellery refused to comment on the initiative, which would add to signs of an emerging rift within Europe between advocates of protectionism and governments that back a more liberal economic policy agenda.

But Mr Schröder's plan suggests that the anti-capitalist tone could not only endure after Sunday's vote but also inform policy over the next 16 months, shaping the SPD's campaign ahead of the next general election in September 2006.
Schroeder and Chirac will both probably hype up the rhetoric in the next year or two. Coming on top of the split with the Atlanticists in the EU25 over foreign policy it simply makes the likelihood of a two tier Europe more probable. It seems ironic that the EU, which was originally set up to bring the people of Europe closer together, to prevent conflicts, and to end power blocks, is now host to what is becoming two very large power blocks with very different visions – the rhetoric is also contributing to a polarisation. A split Europe is looking increasingly realistic and papering over the crack is getting harder to do.