Friday, November 20, 2009

Is Europe a good global citizen?

Europeans tend to think they are better global citizens than the Americans.

But if you begin from the premise that taking care of the world begins with keeping your own region in order, Europe still has a long way to go.   Although some of these problems don't get a lot of press, Jotman would like to see Europe:
  • Stop jerking Turkey around, while turning a blind eye to the defects of other, less developed countries on the periphery of Europe.
  • Protect its own fisheries, the Mediterranean in particular.
  • Shelter its high-skilled small-scale manufacturers in countries like Italy.  
  • Reduce agricultural subsidies wherever such subsidies have mainly served to protect large-scale but globally uncompetitive agribusinesses.
  • Prevent massively polluting discount airlines from getting a "free ride" in this densely populated region that is easily served by rail.  
  • Stigmatize IKEA, Carrefour, and litigious Tesco - the region's answers to Wal-Mart.
As following several of the above links reveals, these five points that have been on my mind.  Essentially, I think Europe would be a much better global citizen if it would stand up for the long-term interests of its people.   Looking forward, Europe's greatest contribution to the rest of the world will be for Europe to remain true to its strengths.

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