Sunday, January 30, 2005

European perspective on the Iraqi elections

CNN reports that the turnout near the closing time of polls is near 72 percent

With polls nearing closing time in Iraq's historic election day, Iraqi election officials are reporting a turnout of 72 percent nationwide, despite a spate of attacks and threats aimed at disrupting the vote.
This shows that the Iraqi people are solidly invested in the democratic process despite calls by shia religious authorities to boycott the vote.
By no means will Iraq become democratic overnight, but the first step in a long journey has been taken. Now it is up to the international community to support Iraq in this process.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

The Iraqi elections

As Iraq is preparing for the first free elections in a long while the European unions has pledged a further 200 million Euros for the reconstruction of Iraq.

The European Union head office said it wants to funnel 200 million euros (£138.5 million) more in aid to Iraq this year to help with the reconstruction of the country and to increase democracy.

This money is earmarked for education and health care services, precisely what Iraq needs at the moment. In the short term the need for security will eclipse the need for basic services but this situation will hopefully change in a few years time as the Insurgent factions realize that while they are blowing up mosques the other factions are enjoying the fruits of democracy.

The Definition of European Federalism by me

So what exactly is European Federalism you ask?

Well the really short version is support for the development of the European union into a "ever deeper and wider union" as codified in the new European Union constitution.
Of course this is a gross oversimplification, and depending on who you ask there are as many answers as there are people. But hey the one good thing about Europe is that we certainly are diverse, even in our opinions.
The long version would take more time to write than I currently have so it will have to wait for a later date.

So to what extent is the European Union a federal entity at this time?

The European Union operates by the way of competencies ,which are basically areas where the member countries have conferred authority to the EU so that all decisions on that particular issue are decided exclusively at the EU level.
These competencies include the common market, Eurozone monetary policy, common commercial policy, customs union and conservation of marine biological resources

So is European Federalism synonymous with with wanting to form a "United States of Europe?"

Not really, the European Union is not really comparable to any other entity such as the United States or Russia (which is after all a federation). Rather think of the EU as a Sui Generis entity, that's Latin for "entity unlike anything else."
This term stems mostly from the fact that the EU has many trappings of statehood, such as a constitution, a parliament, a president, and a supreme court, these legislative and judicial bodies are however very limited in scope by the European constitution.
And here it gets interesting, the European constitution is not really a constitution per se but rather a treaty that rigidly defines the responsibilities and competencies of the Union, as contrasted to the United States Constitution that makes general statements that are then interpreted by the supreme court.
This is the main reason why the European constitution weighs in at a hefty 60,000 words compared to the US constitution with 4,600 words.
So as we can see while the EU may resemble a federation the truth is somewhat different.

Picture of me taken in summer 2002 Posted by Hello

Testing, Testing...

Well the blog has been started. It will take some time to find the right "look" for it but it's a start.
I will propably not be posting very frequerently, but if you come back in a few weeks time I should have something new up.