October 24, 2005


'We cannot hide. EU must accept globalisation or we are nothing': José Manuel Barroso, the President of the European Commission, speaks exclusively to The Times before 25 heads of government gather for Thursday’s vital summit (Anthony Browne, 10/24/05, Times of London)

EUROPE will become “nothing” if it fails to meet the challenge of globalisation and succumbs instead to the demands for protectionism and xenophobia that are sweeping the Continent, José Manuel Barroso, the President of the European Commission, has said.

In terms that will be seen as strong backing for the British stance and condemnation of French protectionist policies, Senhor Barroso called on all “civilised and rational” people to fight the kind of populism that is opposed to free markets and to embrace globalisation rather than turn Europe into a fortress.

He issued his warning in an interview with The Times as European leaders prepare for a summit at Hampton Court Palace on Thursday. Tony Blair, who is the current EU President, has organised the informal summit to try to forge a consensus on the way forward for Europe. There will be no detailed agenda and no official note-takers. Senhor Barroso will present a paper that he describes as a wake-up call. “If the signal we give to our children is ‘Protect yourself — hide under the table because there is globalisation, resist it’ — then we are nothing,” he said in his offices on the top floor of the European Commission’s headquarters in Brussels.

It's not like they'll be much even if they stop hiding under the table.

Globalization drives a wedge into EU (Graham Bowley, 10/23/05, International Herald Tribune)

The growing friction is explained by French attempts to hold back the pace of economic liberalization on the Continent in the face of intensifying global competition. This comes as the French economy is weak and the government is playing to the public's protectionist mood with presidential elections coming in less than two years.

Amid a resurgence of national self-interest, the French government has come to view the European Union, and the projects that the European Commission is trying to pursue, as a threat to its old ways of life and to its standing in the world, which are coming under intense pressure from globalization.

Traditionally, the Union was an instrument that France used to project power beyond its borders. But the swelling of the bloc to 25 members from 15 in May 2004 has meant a loss of influence for France in Brussels. The surprising result is that, suddenly, the country that helped invent European integration over the past 50 years has become its biggest opponent.

"France has not internalized a very important transition that is happening in Europe right now, which is the shift from the industrial economy to the knowledge and services economy," said Ann Mettler of the Lisbon Council, a market-oriented research group based in Brussels. "Its interest groups, which are very strong, are still trying to preserve the industrial age."

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 24, 2005 9:04 AM

--Amid a resurgence of national self-interest, the French government ---



I'm sure that's blamed on Bush, too.

Posted by: Sandy P at October 24, 2005 10:09 AM

My, my. Wasn't it just a few years ago that we were advised that the soon to be created EU would become the political and economic powerhouse that would humble the silly American.

Now they talk about emergency remedial measures to avoid becoming "nothing".

Even more amusing is the belief that the current "civilized and rationsl" member of the EU will understand and do what must be done to avoid the "nothing".

Posted by: Luciferous at October 24, 2005 1:35 PM

Just wait until the EU comes to D.C., hat in hand. And there are American politicians (who want to be President) who will donate.

Posted by: jim hamlen at October 24, 2005 2:52 PM

Nice title for the post, BTW.

Posted by: jim hamlen at October 24, 2005 2:53 PM