2005 December 31 Saturday
European Union Losing In Popularity

The EU is losing in popularity.

The annual Eurobarometer poll, issued just before Christmas, shows that on average, only 50 percent of Europeans consider EU membership "a good thing", down from 54 percent earlier in the year. The traditionally Euroskeptic British are no longer the most hostile, having been overtaken by the Austrians. Only 32 percent of Austrians, and 33 percent of Brits, say EU membership is good for their country. They are followed by Latvia (36 percent), Finland (38 percent) and Sweden and Hungary (both 39 percent).

I wonder if the Austrians hate the EU because they see it as a cause of immigration of large numbers of Muslims and Third Worlders.

The two countries where the EU is most popular are Luxembourg (82 percent in favor) and Ireland (73 percent), the two countries that have been the biggest net beneficiaries from the EU budget. Ireland has received an average 3 percent of GDP in EU subsidies for over 30 years, which helps explain some of that country's 'Celtlc Tiger' economic performance; and Luxembourg has by far the highest per capita income in the EU. The poll suggests that the EU gets what its pays for in public support, which also helps explain why the EU leaders wrangled so bitterly over who paid what and how much they got back at their acrimonious summit this month.

Governments can buy the affections of some groups at the expense of other groups. No surprise here.

The Danish also like the EU.

Remarkably, in the Netherlands, a country that overwhelmingly rejected a European constitution in June, a whole 70 percent of citizens say that EU membership is a good thing.

Only 32 percent of Swedes say they perceive that their country has "benefited from EU membership", closely followed by the Austrians and the British with 36 and 37 percent discontent citizens.

On the other side of the scope is - again - Ireland where 86 percent of citizens claim to enjoy Brussels's treats, and 69 percent of the Danes are as happy.

Maybe EU membership is losing popularity among the Turks becaues the Turks are realizing that the Europeans do not want them.

Meanwhile, support for EU membership among Turks themselves has dropped from 66 percent in spring to 52 percent this autumn, while 77 percent of Europeans back Swiss and Norwegian accession.

The European Union's promoters probably face another problem: A general decline of support for governments. The Brussels Mandarins are trying to build up another layer of government on top of existing layers at a time when a decreasing number of people see governments as net benefits.

If the EU elite insist on bringing Turkey into the EU that'll create a huge competing source of demands for hand-outs. Then the current net beneficiaries of the EU's largesse will suddenly start seeing the EU in a far less favorable light.

The Greek government has consented to Turkey's membership in the face of 80% popular opposition.

Greece has a negative attitude to the EU accession of Macedonia (52%) and Albania (61%). The average level among the 25 EU member states is 42% in favor and 33% against. Greeks are absolutely against Turkey’s EU accession (80%).

How's that as a demonstration of elite willingness to ignore the wishes of the masses?

I do not understand why the UK Guardian speaks of the decision to begin accession talks with Turkey as "a high moment".

October's decision to launch membership talks with Turkey was a high moment soured by low manoeuvring over the terms. And that is going to be a long haul - with 55% of Europeans against Turkish membership. The number opposed to any further expansion has grown to 39%, with bigger majorities against in France, Germany and Austria. Romania and Bulgaria are supposed to join in 2007 but face delay unless they make progress tackling corruption.

The EU project should stop short of membership for Ukraine, Turkey, and a few of the most corrupt Eastern European states. But the Mandarins are intent on harming the interests of their citizens.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2005 December 31 12:49 PM  Europe and America


Comments
Invisible Scientist said at December 31, 2005 1:03 PM:

Randall Parker:
Probably the reason the Austrians are unhappy about the EU is the same as why Switzerland was against it: Austria is a very rich country, similar to Switzerland. Both countries have financial operations that are elitist, and benefited somehow from the "closed" nature of the world community. The people in Netherlands, on the other hand, were very inclined to travel all over the world, and the EU membership made it even easier to continue this habit (including the ability to escape from Holland just in case it gets invaded by immigrants.) But seriously, it seems that EU will gradually disintegrate within a decade or so. Ironically, the weakening of EU military machine might make the United States more popular in Europe, since they will realize that only America can protect them from what is coming...

Stephen said at December 31, 2005 7:45 PM:

Invisible, the EU is trying to develop its military options, but, ironically, the US is doing its damdest to make sure that the EU doesn't develop a military force capable of non-NATO C&C.

As for "protecting them from what is coming", what massive hypocracy it takes for the US to privately stifle EU military development (thereby encouraging dependency) while publically calling for EU member nations increase force projection capabilities.

That said, my feeling is that the EU has the right idea - treat terrorism as an international criminal problem rather than as a military problem. Use the criminal justice system to try terrorists, rather than giving them the legitimacy they get by opposing military hegemon.

Kenelm Digby said at January 1, 2006 8:49 AM:

For many years now, I have formed the opinion that the "European Union", is utterly, irredemiably evil and rotten to its core.

crush41 said at January 2, 2006 5:08 PM:

It seems generally that proximity to Turkey correlates inversely with desire to have it become a member of the EU. It's easier to be quixotic when reality is so far removed, academia being the quintessential example. I assume support for a wall along the southern border is considerably higher in Arizona than it is in Vermont.

Ireland loves everything nowadays, having become a magnet for foreign capital and brains. As Randall's said so succinctly: "Anything that could raise average IQ a few points would do more to boost economic growth and lower social pathologies than increased educational spending or the other typical liberal or free market libertarian nostrums." Ireland's an anomaly--if Belgium (full of bureacrats) and Luxembourg (full of retired bureacrats) are the big EU champs, things are finally starting to sink in for the majority of the continent.

Stephen,

Would you point me to some reading material on the private stifling of European military development by the US?

Jorge D.C. said at January 2, 2006 11:55 PM:

The EU project should stop short of membership for Ukraine, Turkey, and a few of the most corrupt Eastern European states. But the Mandarins are intent on harming the interests of their citizens.

Well, if you're a Mandarin you're smart enough to realize that the EU either continues growing or dies. But Albania! C'mon! That's getting really desperate.

Jorge D.C. said at January 3, 2006 12:06 AM:

Stephen,

Invisible, the EU is trying to develop its military options, but, ironically, the US is doing its damdest to make sure that the EU doesn't develop a military force capable of non-NATO C&C.

Sad to say but the USA is the biggest socialist state enabler on the planet. The permanent US military presence in Europe has given these ingrates a permanent peace time dividend which greatly helps to prop up their socialist systems - yet still they are going broke.

The quickest way to crash the EU and roll back socialism in Europe is to force everyone to pay their own defense bills. Especially Sweden. Sweden needs to be kicked out of any and all international defense agreements and thereby help end the complete pussification of its society.

Jorge D.C. said at January 3, 2006 12:38 AM:

Re: Austria

I don't know what actual situation is on the ground, but it seems like Austria has about the most unreconstructed gentile political outlook of any nation in Europe. They seem to subscribe to the old school white world view which has become taboo here in the US as well as UK and Netherlands etc.

Leftwing Jews opened the US to massive third world immigration (1965 Hart-Cellar Immigration Act). I am guessing that it's a similar case in any European nation where the media and financial sectors are Jewish dominated.

The other posted article about Denmark leading the way in immigration restriction tells me that there is no powerful leftwing open borders Jewish political lobby and media machine in Denmark that must be overcome.

There is some notion that the Jews in Australia are much less hostile to the Anglo-Saxon historic culture down there than in the USA. Yet the White Australia policy was abandoned and they are having serious immigration problems now obviously. Some politician with a white bread last name is credited with ending the White policy down there. If he provided gentile political cover for leftwing Jewish interests a la Ted Kennedy in 1965 that would somehow not come as a surprise.


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