Stanley's blog

Perhaps my frustration is causing too much repetition of what I write. But I am depressed at our collective failure in Europe to pull ourselves together.

Forget for a moment the Lisbon Treaty, instititutional reform, administrative reorgnisation…It is indisputable that that the European Union has helped bring peace, stability and prosperity to Western Europe and to now Central Europe. But we are not past the point of no return.

Russia is destabilising Georgia and Ukraine and causing tensions in Estonia and other neighbouring EU Member States. The United States continues to pursue and unsuccessful policy of confrontation rather than engagement.

It is therefore critical that, whatever we squabble over, we ensure a strong Union and one seen to be such externally, because only then can it have the influence needed to help ensure that peace, stability and comparative prosperity are maintained.

While much of the blame for the unpopularity and apparent lack of legitimacy falls upon the shoulders of national leaders, the EU institutions do not help. There are understandably many crticisms that the EU is doing too much and ‘interfering’ where it is unnecessary.

However, a distinction needs to be made between:

  • matters within Community competence
  • matters within Union competence, and
  • other matters.

The first set of matters form the basis of EU activity over a long period, and criticism here is really mainly on content, and sometimes in fact relates to ‘gold-plating’ by Member States. Matters within Union competence usually require unanimity.

Other matters do not involve EU legislation and are voluntary. Explanations of this from time to time would be helpful.

Author :


  1. I fear that European citizens need more than legal clarification. They need a new dream, a new way forward. Peace is already achieved within the European sphere, it is a dream of my grandmother, not of my generation. We need a new dream forward. But a dream must be shared to have any effect and therefore better communication has to be central to a future EU. Because people do not look for information and in a democracy they shouldn’t. Information should be brought to them by different advocaters through different media after which the people can judge who to support.

    SO The real question is, how do we incentivise certain people or groups of people to communicate, propagate, the EU?

    Personally I have some thoughts on this question but I would like to hear your thoughts on this. Because to me you do indeed repeat yourself a lot in your articles and speeches. It may indeed be that the EU has to be stronger, but if it has only marginal support of the people, the EU will eventually just implode without popular support.

    Looking forward to your reaction,


  2. Waldo: communication is our biggest failure but Brussels can’t put this right. It needs a fundamental change of attitude by Member State leaders.
    You formulate the right question, but I have no solution unless and until this change occurs.
    We must find a way to incentivise national governments, but I have no answer, I’m afraid.

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