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New, improved formula European Union!

Thomas Piketty and a bunch of other Europeans have published “Our manifesto to save Europe from itself”.

Our proposals are based on the creation of a budget for democratisation that would be debated and voted on by a new, sovereign European assembly. This will at last enable Europe to equip itself with a public institution capable of dealing with crises in Europe immediately and of producing a set of fundamental public goods and services in the framework of a lasting and solidarity-based economy. The promise made at the treaty of Rome of “harmonisation of living and working conditions” will finally become meaningful.

Are you inspired yet?

33 comments to New, improved formula European Union!

  • George Atkisson

    The EU will brook no challenges to its power, regulations, or status. The EU will have to be ripped apart first. It is good to have a vision of what might be, afterwards.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Natalie, I cannot tell you how inspired I am by M. Piketty’s exhortation. It is simply invaluable.

    I’m not precisely 100% sure of the sense in which this assembly is to be “sovereign.” If he means it’s to be the plenary authority on all things legal, juridical, and economical, maybe I will just stay here. I mean, we have our own government to try to shove back inside its corral, and we’re not doing so well.

    As to M. Piketty’s position on the issue of income or wealth inequality, perhaps one might listen to Richard (Epstein’s) address to the IEA a few years ago. ~ 26 min.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2NYie_EAL4

  • TimRules

    WTF is a solidarity-based economy??? Is that French for Anschluss?

  • Alsadius

    A lot of people who like the EU want it to become a de facto nation, encompassing the dozens of nations that currently make up Europe. This is exactly in line with that vision. If you’re a global centralizer, this is what you’d want.

    This is(at least in their minds) less Anschluss and more the fall of the Berlin wall, where nations kept apart for silly reasons are allowed to reunite the way they want to. I think that’s a very optimistic viewpoint, given that the EU is never as popular as they want it to be. But this isn’t armed conquest, it’s an ostensibly-democratic process. And if it ever happens, I suspect it’ll be because the people want it to, given that the people have was of stopping it when things go too far for comfort(as the UK has recently demonstrated). If the EU gets whittled down to half a dozen countries that actually want a true union, and they get what they want, good for them. My concern with the EU has always been their reaction when they hear “no”, not their reaction when they hear “yes”.

  • bobby b

    I read that the armored personnel carriers that were used in France to confront the protesters this weekend showed European Union flags.

    So I think we have a decent glimpse into what Piketty means by “solidarity-based.”

  • If the EU gets whittled down to half a dozen countries that actually want a true union, and they get what they want, good for them. My concern with the EU has always been their reaction when they hear “no”, not their reaction when they hear “yes”. (Alsadius, December 10, 2018 at 2:31 am)

    The EUrocratic reaction to the word ‘no’ is why they should never hear the word ‘yes’. Picketty’s pan-European assembly is transparently a way to make it easier for the representatives to ignore by making it harder for enough voters to say all at one time with sufficient coherent volume.

  • Runcie Balspune

    will be financed by four major European taxes, […] These will apply to […] carbon emissions

    Someone has not been paying attention to what is happening in France recently.

  • Thomas Piketty is to economics what Erich von Däniken is to archaeology 😆

  • pete

    At least all these naive signatories acknowledge the noddy, poodle status of the current European parliament by calling for a new, sovereign one.

  • Slartibartfarst

    @Natalie Solent (Essex):
    Some people (not me, you understand) might say that the idea of a democratic/”sovereign” EU has about as much chance of existing and for a life as long as a molecule of water on the surface of the sun., but I couldn’t possibly comment.

  • Andrew Duffin

    “…debated and voted on by a new, sovereign European assembly…”

    Not, of course, to be voted on by the people.

    Oh dear me no, they won’t make that mistake again in a hurry.

  • Runcie Balspune

    The idea that the EU would become some kind of democratic super-bloc is appealing, and I dare say many of us here would probably welcome it.

    However, it hasn’t.

    That’s the problem.

    It is no use arbitrating that it should be like a vast copy of the democratic countries it represents, the real issue is questioning why it has not already done so after all this time?

    What stopped it?

    Probably groups of “well meaning” people who decided that they alone know what is good for everyone else and they needed the forum to make sure nothing gets in the way.

    People like Thomas Piketty.

    Just as when the myopic think that government problems are solved by more government, Mr Piketty thinks the europe’s crisis can be solved by more EU.

    Same old story.

  • bob sykes

    If the European Parliament had the power to remove EU Commissioners and the EU President and could control the EU budget and EU regulations, that would be a step towards democracy.

  • The Pedant-General

    Ah, yes! A French economist seeing something that doesn’t work in practice and remarking, “well it works perfectly in theory…”

    No comments allowed on the piece? No further comment necessary.

  • TDK

    The answer to every problem is “more Europe”.

    For EU idealists, the vision of what they imagine the EU is becoming (if only we’d let it), blinds them to the reality of what it actually is. Heaven is over the next rise and the only reason there are problems today is because Reactionaries are slowing progress down.

  • John B

    This new sovereign European Assembly… what language will it speak? Will ‘democratic’ Europe have pan-European Parties, as the US has pan-American Parties, campaigning on the same issues and campaigning in the same language… which one?… so people across Europe can follow the pan-European politics, the debate, the arguments, etc?

    There is no demos in Europe, so democracy falls at the first fence.

  • terence patrick hewett

    By Toutatis! If there is one thing the French do properly it is to organise a good riot – more potion before the skies fall upon us.

  • CaptDMO

    In the US we heard a similar pronouncement, on the Tee Vee.
    “You will be assimilated”

  • qet

    But, in cases of disagreement, the assembly would have the final word. If not, its capacity to be a locus for a new transnational political space where parties, social movements and NGOs would finally be able to express themselves would be compromised.

    Now would be a good time to (re)read Kojeve’s Tyranny and Wisdom.

  • Rob

    The idea that the EU would become some kind of democratic super-bloc is appealing, and I dare say many of us here would probably welcome it.

    I would be very surprised indeed if many here welcomed it. I don’t want British interests to be decided by a plurality of Germans, French and assorted others. This is not ‘democratic’ in any sense of the word I am familiar with.

  • Paul Marks

    Is there no institution or situation that Thomas Piketty and his Collectivist pals can not make WORSE?

    France once produced great economists who truly understood liberty – now it produces windbag Collectivist nonentities such as Thomas Piketty.

  • Runcie Balspune

    I don’t want British interests to be decided by a plurality of Germans, French and assorted others. This is not ‘democratic’ in any sense of the word I am familiar with.

    Oh it is certainly democratic – but liberty is a well-armed lamb (sic).

  • Zerren Yeoville

    I hovered my cursor over the link provided, then saw it pointed to the website of ‘The Guardian’.

    That’s all I needed to know. (I didn’t bother clicking).

    Runcie Balspune says “The idea that the EU would become some kind of democratic super-bloc is appealing, and I dare say many of us here would probably welcome it.”

    I wouldn’t be one of them. Those of us who remember the Cold War know that the last thing the world needs is another massive power-bloc drunk on its own sense of ideological virtue.

    Power-blocs going to war are infinitely more dangerous to everyone than smaller countries going to war simply because they can commandeer more resources with which to fight a war.

    Remember the nuclear paranoia of the 1980s? ‘Protect and Survive’? ‘When The Wind Blows’? ‘The Day After’? ‘Threads’? At one point I had Bruce Clayton’s survivalist manual ‘Life After Doomsday’ out on loan from the local library continuously for several months, just in case.

    If France and Germany were serious about keeping the peace in Europe they would not be seeking to centralize power in a superstate. They would be seeking to decentralize. The whole of Europe would be better served if France and Germany were each devolved into multiple smaller countries. No-one lives in fear of war breaking out with Luxembourg, San Marino or Slovenia.

  • Alsadius

    Rob: I don’t want British interests to be decided by a plurality of Germans, French and assorted others. This is not ‘democratic’ in any sense of the word I am familiar with.

    Is it any different from the position of London in the UK? The population ratios are even similar – both are about 1/8 of the total union. If Greater London all votes for pink and the rest of the UK all votes for purple, purple will win handily. But it’s as democratic as you could ever ask – their votes counted the same, they were merely outnumbered.

    Runcie’s point about well-armed lambs is fitting here, of course, as is the general skepticism about how democratic the EU actually is. But a hypothetical EU that gave a crap about voters would be inoffensive, even if Brits were outnumbered inside that structure.

  • Itellyounothing

    Pretty sure without a shared culture, the EU cannot share a democracy. Even if they wanted to……

  • Eric

    Thomas Piketty is to economics what Erich von Däniken is to archaeology

    Hey now. I bought his book Chariots of the Gods, and it was pretty persuasive when I was ten.

  • Eric

    The answer to every problem is “more Europe”.

    Which isn’t that surprising from the same people who answer every economic problem with “more state control”.

  • The Pedant-General

    “without a shared culture”

    Aye, there’s the rub. The problem is that the Eurocrats and governing elites already DO share a culture. That’s why it’s such a no-brainer for them. It’s just that that culture is not shared with their respective populaces. 🙂

  • Johnathan Pearce

    By the way, although I don’t share his view on all matters, the writer John Laughland wrote a remarkable book about the undemocratic origins of the EU over a decade ago, and I have a yellowing copy. A must-read.

  • “The promise made at the treaty of Rome of “harmonisation of living and working conditions” will finally become meaningful.”
    When everyone is an impoverished slave.

  • Paul Marks

    If Thomas Piketty, and his gang of radical Collectivists, are in favour of the European Union (which they most certainly are) that should tell people all they need to know about the European Union.

    In the past it might have been possible to honestly make the mistake that the European Union is good for liberty – but no one could honestly make that mistake today. The evidence concerning what the European Union is about, the-road-to-tyranny, is overwhelming.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Here is a good demolition by John Ashmore of CapX on why the proposals of Piketty are so bad.

  • Tedd

    John B:

    As a Canadian, I find your comments about language particularly apt. If you watch Canadian TV news or read Canadian newspapers in both of our “official” languages you could easily think they were from two different news days. It’s rare for even the lead stories to be the same, and then usually only if it’s an international story. That tends to make Parliament a two-headed beast, at best. I imagine that trying to conduct a legislative assembly in, say, half a dozen languages would be almost futile.

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