Now the London Times picks up on the increasing worries among Eastern Europeans as to what they might be giving up in joining Brussels. Here’s an extract:
“The EU is making a comic theatre out of its decision to take on ten new members this week, but the truth is that it has spent the past two years bullying and bludgeoning Central Europe. Tens of thousands of pages of detailed entry requirements have been foisted on the East. Now, on the eve of the Copenhagen summit which seals the deal, the strain is starting to show.
The over-regulated EU, run by a swollen bureaucracy, has done its level best to neutralise the East as future competitors and stifle the very energy that makes the region historically important and economically significant. For sure, we should celebrate the growing together of East and West. But this long-winded negotiation, staggering this week into its final days, was conducted like a hostile takeover bid. Next year Central Europeans will hold referendums to approve the Copenhagen offer; not surprisingly it looks likely to be a close-run vote in several countries. The EU has behaved disgracefully: the historic fusion of the continent has become a petty exercise, a veritable flea circus.
Competition is being quietly, systematically squashed. Eastern regions with special investment incentives will have to be phased out — the Czech Republic cannot, after all, be allowed to lure investment away from eastern Germany. Just to make certain that Polish milk can never compete with imported German milk, the European Commission has declared that only 38 dairies meet EU standards. “We like our milk this way,” a Polish official recently told a visitor from Planet Brussels. For the commission, this is a very weak argument indeed. ”
Time to move NAFTA East?