Monday, October 5, 2009

Europe needs Moldova

Europe needs Moldova.  It also needs Ukraine, Turkey, Belarus, Georgia, Armenia, and, in the long term, Russia.  Why?  Because

  1. Europe as an economic power is in relative decline due to its ageing population and over-regulated markets.  This decline could be redressed by geographical expansion.
  2. In all but high-value-added industries and occupations, Europe is uncompetitive due to high labour costs.  The Eastern European countries could allow Europe to competitively produce a far wider range of goods and services within her borders.
  3. Transit routes for oil and gas run through Ukraine, Moldova, Turkey & Georgia.  Bringing the Eastern Europeans into the EU will ensure more stable and secure supplies.
  4. True democracies are less prone to go to war with their neighbours.  By promoting democracy in Eastern Europe, the existing EU members will themselves become safer.
  5. In its mixture of Protestants / Catholics / Orthodox / Muslims and Teutons / Latins / Slavs / Turks this wider EU would provide an astonishing example of tolerance to the rest of the world, making it far harder for extremist, racist or totalitarian ideologies to gain traction, making the world as a whole a safer place.
  6. Western Europe has some unpaid moral debts to Eastern Europe, e.g. for bearing the brunt of Communism & the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, for containing the Ottoman Turks etc.
Some of you will think I have lost my marbles for suggesting that Russia could one day be a member of the Union.  I agree it is unlikely, but what if the following conditions were met:
  1. Russia having a significant but not dominant voice (and being counterbalanced by Ukraine and Turkey)
  2. 20 years of real democracy and respect for human rights
  3. 20 years of respect for its neighbours' sovereignty and territorial integrity
  4. A cleaned up economy in which there is strong and fair competition in all industries

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