Doubts grow about EU aims

In spite of European leaders’ denials that the Danes’ no-vote on the euro has had an effect on other countries, the result of Denmark’s referendum reverberates around the European Union. The result may indeed deepen ordinary citizens’ misgivings about EU aims. Already in Sweden a poll has revealed increased hostility to the euro.

The Finnish regional daily, Aamulehti (30 September 2000), wrote in an editorial that people in all member countries must now think carefully about why the Danes were so suspicious of the EMU.

“Why did they believe that their welfare services like state pensions would weaken even if the pension level in Denmark is not exceptionally high among European countries?”

There seems to be lack of clear information for citizens about where the EU is going. Aamulehti  reminds readers that a new study about the EU and Finland argues that the Finnish EU elite and media have not been able to explain to citizens what effects the Union membership has on their lives.

In the study, Finnish EU experts strongly criticise the government for unclear integration aims. According to a report in the national daily, Helsingin Sanomat (29 September 2000), the experts say that at no stage has the government given a reasoned clarification of their ideas about integration.

The book, edited by Professor Matti Wiberg and Dr. Tapio Raunio, claims that by reading government papers on the subject, no clear picture emerges.

“It is impossible to say how well the government’s aims have succeeded when the government has not deemed it necessary to clarify them sufficiently.”

Helsingin Sanomat singles out one interesting finding, according to which European integration has increased the similarity between the ideological profiles of political parties.

Party elites from right to left have been unanimous about EU politics. Differences between government and opposition are non-existent. The writers question a claim according to which national consensus increases Finland’s influence in the Union.

One chapter in the book examines local communities and regions. The picture which emerges is not encouraging, Helsingin Sanomat concludes. Even if many communities have been able to strengthen their economy with the help of EU projects, national discrepancies have grown. Poor communities are too poor to be able to improve their conditions.

See also:

From our archive:

"EU needs new philosophy to help enlargement"

11 August 2000

Schröder: No exclusive clubs within EU

17 July 2000

"EU hard core membership important for security"

31 May 2000

Citizens' rights emphasised as part of EU reform

26 October 1999

Changing EU voting rules would be undemocratic by Hannu Reime

October 1999

Power of big EU countries raises questions

October 1999


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