Tuesday, July 17, 2007

When in the course of human events

Czechs' journey to happiness

We have reached a tipping point. For the first time since surveys of this sort started appearing in the Czech Republic, for the first time, even, since the fall of the communist regime, the popularity of the European Union among Czechs has fallen to below the magical 50%. Results of the Europbarometer survey published yesterday [12 July 2007] show that only 46% of Czechs think that the EU is a good thing.

Some members of the Czech media and political elite are doubtless patting themselves on the back. A conglomerate of the ODS, the commuinists and the president elected through their joint efforts, along with a group of anti-European journalists, succeeded in achieving the virtually impossible. Through their systematic anti-European campaign, they have managed to convice the once-enthusiastic Czechs that the organisation to which they owe their last few months of incredible economic prosperity is, in fact, something awful.
Of course, the ham-handedness of the EU, the quality of Czech exports; and an aggressive marketing campaign have nothing to do with it.
To be able to fully appreciate this achievement, it's necessary to review the context. The Czech Republic is experiencing unprecedented economic growth (6.1% last year, compared to 3.6% in 2003), largely thanks to entering the common Europen market and enjoying the trust of investors, stemming from our EU membership. The Czechs are traveling around Europe without passports like never before, sending their children to study abroad, searching for work. Out the original 15 EU states, the Czechs can live and work without restrictions in the UK, Ireland, Sweden, Greece, Finland, Spain, Portugal, Italy, the Netherlands and Denmark. Surveys show that the main concern about our joining the EU was unemployment. Yesterday, Czech papers complained that the economic boom has driven down unemployment to such a degree that the lack of workers could hinder further economic growth.
When the European Union respects the Czechs for more than the financial contributions taxes made payable to the EU, maybe - just maybe - the Czechs may reciprocate a little bit.

And Euroweenie journalists can find something else to wet their panties over.

There's more

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