26 Apr 2005 rbultje   » (Master)

Dutch referendum for the European constitution
In response to the new hype on Planet GNOME-NL, I'll also give my opinion on the proposed European constitution, for which several countries will be having (or already had) a referendum in the next few weeks.
The European union is now commonly referred to as Europe, which is a great thing for our common identity. After two world wars, this collection of individual countries is now able to work together at strengtening their own and each others' economy, and thereby increasing common wealth of every single person in this continent. To add up to this, "we" (the shared identity of all European citizens) are all able to freely travel between countries without requiring additional papers or visa fees, or even requiring currency exchange (OK, so the introduction of the euro also lead to price increases, but I don't think you can blame the euro for that an sich; rather, the situation was abused by industry). So far so good.
Recently, however, this liberal giant was degraded to a social development platform by allowing new countries to enter the union without meeting the previously set requirements, instead of helping those countries to develop without already giving them membership. Instead of them being a featureful addition to the union, they were accepted for the mere reason that it was good for themselves. Imagine this in the meritocratic world of free software development. Would Red Hat package Blackbox on the Hurd and sell that because it's good for the GNU? Of course not. They sell GNOME on Linux because that's good for them; the relevant communities benefit from the newly added development power, leading to mutual benefit and happiness for both.
We don't need the European union for social benefits; the individual member countries are more than capable of doing this on their own. They've always done it like this and should always do it like this. The purpose of the European union is to add something up to that, so that all members benefit from it.
The constitution will generalize international relations by having a common minister of foreign affairs, a single leader of the commission (the president), all things that I don't think the European union was originally set up for, and that I don't think it's fit for. Also, it will lead to continuation of the developments that lead to the acceptance of countries into the union that should, as far as I'm concerned, have had more time to fit well with the rest of the European union.
I am in favour of Europe, I'm in favour of liberal economies, I'm in favour of free travel, shared currency, shared identity and all that; but currently, I see little reason to vote in favour of the constitution.

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