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I also hope that French and German influence continue to abate but unfortunately it seems very slow. France are currently trying to strengthen the barriers to economic integration on what they describe as 'strategic' grounds. For example Dominique de Villepin is attempting to upset a bid for Suez by an Italian company by merging it with another French utility (see this week's Economist).

Why the Esthonians ? The Esthonians understand democracy. The Slovaks have a more spotty record.

According to Lepage, it is getting more difficult for the French and the Germans to get their views accepted in the EU. Moreover, the French language is less and less used - this is a sign too.

On Estonia, yes this is precisely my point. The EU exports democracy even when it is not needed b/c the true goal is to limit competition, not to spread democracy.

interesting post.

"Once one realizes that among the reasons for Western development was jurisdictional competition,"

Do you have any references for that? I'd be most grateful if you'd let me know.

Yes when and where ever the one is free in their enterprise. They will produce the product that sells and the one do not need a permit to be profitable from any country.

In response to meryn. This is a reasonably common argument. You find it for instance in Rosenberg and Birdzell (How the West Grew Rich), Jones (The European Miracle), and the work of Doug North to some extent.

Call me biased, coming from Ireland, the country that has benefitted the most from EU structural funds, but I can't see this as such a bad deal for the Eastern countries. Also, when you speak of the 'suicide' of the EU, I think you are greatly underestimating the possibilities of internal competition, made all the more level by the free trade and labour movement provided by Union entry (or at least, which will be provided when the quotas against A8 countries are dropped).

You do, however, raise some good points, particularly about the double allegiance of EU representatives. Europe United, of which I am a member, aims for the creation of a fully internally democratic pan-European party to help ease these problems. You can check it out and have your say on policy by visiting www.europeunited.org

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