Eastern European

One of the issues puzzling me most in this current wave of anti-Central and Eastern European country scare mongering is that we are actually driving away out natural allies within the EU. Basically, you have two camps of member state countries: Those interested in more and more integrations, more and more policies decided in Brussels, on the one hand, and those countries that do not want more Brussel-ification (I just made that word up) and possibly even less, on the other hand. The first, pro-integration group is clearly led by the French-German engine and also contains most of the Scandinavian countries, the Netherlands, Belgium etc. The second group, skeptical of more integration, contains mainly the UK and the Central and Eastern European countries. Figure that!

Countries like the Czech Republic are just as opposed to the bureaucracy and overregulation in Brussels as many people here in the UK are (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jiri-pehe/czech-republic-democracy_b_5479764.html). If our government stopped bashing Romania and Bulgaria and instead started working with these countries’ governments, we might actually make a positive impact. Of course, even then we would not get it our way completely, and I don’t think that we should. Basically, our government has the extreme anti-integration position and Angela Merkel has the extreme pro-integration position. As with all of life, the best way is most likely in the middle. If we worked with our natural allies and then negotiated with the other team, it might actually be possible to improve the EU in a way that satisfies most of us.

Instead of using the opportunities that are given to him, Cameron tries to placate the British public (or possibly actually the British media) with cheap xenophobic shots from the hip. Will that solve anything? No! Will that alienate all our partners in the EU? You bet!

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