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Posts Tagged ‘Denmark’

Pooling and Sharing – another lesson from Europe’s North

September 13, 2011 Leave a comment

Recently I came across an interesting piece of information: eight countries from Europe’s north are pooling resources… diplomatic resources. As the political integration in other fields is staggering, notably in economic governance, foreign, security and defence policy, small countries without ambitions to rule over the continent may have found the right formula. It is not the first time Nordic and Baltic EU member states pool resources. Over the last few years they have been joining forces to form early warning systems and joint air patrols, just to mention a few.

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Muddy Green

November 17, 2009 4 comments
Copenhagen - between promis and failure

Copenhagen - between promises and failure

A series of political events from the last days darkened the perspectives of a significant outcome from the Copenhagen Climate Council (3C). This is very unfortunate because of the enormous amount of political and media energy thrown in the preparation for the event over the last few months. The need for a far-reaching and binding global agreement on climate-related targets is beyond doubt and this is not my point here. What I am really concerned with, is that after the dramatic failure to which the Climate Council is ever more surely going, it will be even harder to get world leaders on the same wavelength about climate change again. Even the desire to meet may not be there, let alone the minutest climate packages and legislation they have to work out at home.

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EU Reflections on Bulgaria

June 4, 2009 1 comment

Two interesting pieces of ‘discourse ‘ provoked me to write this post. It i not so much about the image of Bulgaria in the

The reason for the economic crisis in Western Europe - Polish Plumbers and the Eastern European Scourge

The reason for the economic crisis in Western Europe - Polish Plumbers and the Eastern European Scourge

EU – we all know how bad it is, thanks to the war on Europe that the current government is rigorously fighting. I was agitated by a further step by West European Politicians – the use of East European Images in their campaign. The EU may may be often seen as a unity in diversity and not as a ‘melting pot’ but when the political stakes are high, then a lot of well hidden arguments about intolerable differences emerge at the surface. Below are two recent examples posted in EUobserver and Daily Mail.

After the invention of the Polish Plumber far-right French politician Pilippe de Villiers has coined a new pro-unity campaign this time featuring ‘The (infamous) Bulgarian Truck Driver’ . I hoped it is a joke, but as EUobserve reports … it is quite serious:

Tremble France! Bulgarian chofers are coming to steal what you have justly taken from your african colonies
Viva la France ! Now afraid of Bulgarian drivers

“The French politician who created the stereotype of the “Polish plumber” has coined a new “Bulgarian truck driver” cliché for his EU election campaign. But voters are finding the event a turn-off despite scandals involving topless girls, hunger strikes and the Taliban. , who launched the catchy plumber idea during his fight against the EU constitution in a referendum in 2005, is now promoting the notion that cheap Bulgarian truckers are coming to steal French jobs. The Bulgarian trucker – coming to a stereotype near you. A Bulgarian driver costs €700 a month instead of €3,700, survives on just four hours of sleep a night and eats just twice a week, the myth-making politician is saying. Poland joined the EU in 2004 and Bulgaria in 2007, with their workers still legally barred from some EU states.”

I can’t help recalling another politician , a current MEP from Denmark Mogens Camre who  spoke on RFI about a month ago calling Bulgarians and Romanians stupid. Less intelligent , to use his own words. Maybe he wanted to justify why Denmark should have more seats in the EP. Maybe he just got carried away by the French political discourse about Eastern Europeans, which features the images of Economic Threat to the regular citizens. Maybe he is a smart guy. But he is a shame for Denmark. In fact, if a proud nation like the French are afraid of Bulgarian Truck Drivers and Intelligent MEPS from Denmark fear their colleagues from Bulgaria and Romania… well, I do not know what to say, maybe we need more political strength to stand for the ideas that we use for our slogans in the EU – tolerance, diversity, solidarity, and so on.

But we should not be surprised – all opinions should be expressed so that we cna created societies and political systems based on ‘justice as fairness’ in the words of John Rawls. We should fight for the right of every person to express freely his/her opinion even though we disagree. Even though the person is as economically dangerous as a Polish Plumber, stupid as a Romanian or Bulgarian or arrogant and cynical as Mr Camre and Mr. de Villiers.

But I would rather be more careful before saying that the EU treats equally its new Member States from the poor East – in terms of agenda setting, cut subsidies, mobility restrictions and so on.