Lecture Notes for Next week’s EU Policy Class

In case Blackboard is not up and working I’ve posted here the lecture notes which can help-we’re covering a lot of ground in that class. EUHistory2012

I’ve also included here the class lesson plane for any students who missed it

SP483 EU Policy 2012 January 18th First Class

1/Please fill out the supplied details sheet so I have contact details and some basic info on you.

2/Please note that the Blackboard site seem not yet to be functioning because your not yet logged as registered for it. It should be up and working by next week and it will be important to use it.

3/As a workaround I have my own blogsite: https://brendanflynn.wordpress.com/

I’ve posted the lecture notes for next week which you might find useful to look at before class.

4/Readings for next week? Both the books listed can be found online via a search of Amazon.co.uk and they have ‘look inside’ facility and you can read a good few pages of the first chapters of each, if you cannot find these books in the Library. Note all these readings are reasonably ‘heavy’ and difficult reads especially the stuff by Scarpf.

Failing that, if you can’t find those readings or don’t like them, you can check out the essay by Loth, Wilfried (2008)Explaining European Integration: The contribution from Historians”, Journal of European Integration History, vol. 14 (2008), number 1, pp.9-26. Available at: http://www.eu-historians.eu/uploads/Dateien/jeih-27-2008_1.pdf

Now for our class!

5/Do the quiz I’m circulating, to see what is the state of our factual knowledge of the EU (10mins max). Also I want you to introduce people beside you so that we ‘break the ice’ and get to know each other.

6/Next, read the future EU scenarios and then maybe chat among yourselves to suggest a future EU scenario.

Scenario “Eurotopia” 2024

2024 is 12 years from now. In time distance backwards that is akin to the year 2000….could we have imagined in 2000 the way the world works now? Seen this way, 2024 is not really that far away.  Some things have changed massively (Northern Ireland’s problems seem solved, the role of Catholic Church is dramatically weakened, 9/11, etc.) So one can expect some dramatic changes BUT also quite a bit of continuity.

In this scenario it is suggested that the EU will evolve towards a fuller form of overt federalism-although not all existing EU members will be part of this. The trigger for this overt federalism was over a series of political crises-first the partial collapse of the Euro system in 2012….which prompted a restructuring of the Eurozone. The Euro currency was re-launched as the ‘ecu’ by a smaller group of more integrated countries led by Germany, while Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Greece and Belgium all chose or had to re-adopt national currencies which were pegged to the Euro within a wide margin of 15%. After a few years, some of these countries were able and willing to rejoin the ‘hard’ ecuzone…..  However, the major change was not as regards monetary policy but fiscal policy which became increasingly co-ordinated. Banking supervision became heavily centralized in Luxembourg with the European Banking Authority; counter-stimulus funds and budgetary rules were also created as part of a reformed EU budgetary process, and these were part funded by a direct EU VAT surcharge. Increasingly the smaller EU states were issuing collective short and long term Joint Treasury Bonds, where the repayment costs and risks were shared and diluted with some EU financial insurance contributed as well. Another major catalyst for federalization was the Moldovian war of 2017. This conflict involved Romania, Moldova, Transdniestria and Russia in a complex ethnic civil war. Initially NATO refused to get involved, and this caused severe discord within NATO. In the end EU peacekeeping forces were deployed, but these were forced into a more aggressive peace-enforcement role, which strengthened those countries who wanted the EU to fund common military capacities. A major NATO crisis was created when an isolationist American president George Prescot Bush, refused to back immediate retaliatory action after Russian attacks on Romanian territory. The fall-out of this conflict was complex: on the one hand NATO appeared to de facto collapse, on the other  hand the EU moved towards a formal defence alliance structure, while in Russia the arch nationalist ‘Putinesque’ regime of Oleg Gabosky was toppled in Moscow by pro-democracy forces and Russia moved towards a second dawn of democracy. In 2021 the UK finally left the EU, after the Conservative/BNP coalition government reacted badly to Scotland’s vote for independence within the EU (Northern Ireland later voted to rejoin a newly federalized Irish state in 2024). By 2022 Russia’s application to join the EU was provisionally accepted although in practice substantial exemptions were granted from many policy sectors. In many ways this merely echoed the ‘Freer and Fairer Trade’ deal which the USA, Canada, and other NAFTA states signed in 2020. This deal granted extensive free movement of people, capital and goods between the Americas and Europe. By the spring of 2024 the major political debate was over an EU role in higher education. Marzena Dinmora, the Bulgarian (but Harvard educated) directly elected president of the EU, argued that the EU needed its own education tax to expand upon the EU own network of ‘thematic innovation clusters’ [TICs] which had spread across the EU, given the major technological risks from the fusion of developments in quantum computing, artificial intelligence, synthetic biology and the spread of the great cyberplague of 2021.

Scenario “Eurotania” 2024

In this scenario the EU muddles on as a basic confederation, but in fact suffers a number of serious reversals and withdrawals. Ireland and the UK notably depart the EU by 2017 over a variety of issues-not least the bad handling of Ireland’s complete bankruptcy in 2013. Both countries join NAFTA, while retaining some EEA links for trade. Franco-German leadership of the EU is badly damaged by changes in French and German politics-notably the victory of a French far-right presidential candidate in 2017, and a similar rise of populist anti-EU parties in Germany which enter coalition in 2020. While the euro stumbles on, it remains a weak  and lowly valued currency and the smaller EU states find they can only raise limited bonds with increasingly systematic Chinese government investment (at the same time Chinese purchases of US bonds begins to decline). By 2018 both the Euro and the Dollar are in such a similar structural position that exploratory discussion of monetary union between NAFTA and the Eurozone begins-but these talks come to nothing despite the dynamic leadership of President Gabrielle Giffords. Paradoxically the CAP grows to dominate 60% of the EU’s budget once again, especially given the food riots that spread throughout Europe in the winter of 2019. As regards foreign policy the EU moves increasingly in sympathy towards Chinese and Brazilian leadership-the EU arms embargo to China having been lifted in 2014, and the EU refusing to support American intervention in the Saudi-Iranian war of 2016. By 2021 the EU has lost several members (Ireland, England, Denmark, Austria and Bavaria) but gained some new ones (Catalonia, Euskal Herria, and Scotland). Also perhaps striking is the unusual institutional development, which retains a confederal nature of sorts; in 2018 the Council of Ministers was merged into the European Parliament by the simple expedient of giving all national ministers the right of membership of their relevant and now all powerful EP committees. Equally the once powerful  EU Commission is merely an ‘executive of the elected EU Presidium’…which is the fancy name for the EU government formed out of a super majority vote of MEPs… after each election every four years….However, also noteworthy is the Compact of Tallin (2022) an important Treaty which severely limited the judicial scope of the ECJ…and widely popular after the ECJ had struck down a number of immigration and nationality laws which expressly limited Chinese immigration …..this Compact in some cases also represented  a catching up with technological trends by replacing the ECJ judges in many cases by advanced networks of lawyers and artificial intelligence regulators..to so called shift to regulatronics……by 2024…the major debates of the day on the floor of the new EP’s  ‘ecoforest’ building in Strasbourg (the old Brussels based EP building having been burned down, like so many other EU buildings, in the massive Belgian dissolution riots of 2015) is whether EU peacekeepers should be sent to Belfast to intervene in the renewed ethnic violence after the 2023 vote to reunify Ireland…or there is the scandal of the Indian health insurer, Global CARE-Rajapatha, which after entering the EU health market in 2016….became a dominant player by 2022…but has since collapsed leaving millions of EU citizens in many states without adequate health cover….especially serious given the now well understood long term care costs for ‘fried brain’ syndrome associated with excessive wireless energy transmission technologies first explored as far back as the 1990s.

What in these scenarios do you find likely? 

What do you find far-fetched, and say why in both case? 

What would you add as you own possible/probable scenarios? 

What do these scenarios suggest about EU policy-where will it go…how should it evolve…how could it evolve?

In  the final part of the class we’ll have a look at the course outline, how the course is organized and how grading and assignments work on this course.

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