Machiavelli in Brussels: The Art of Lobbying the EU

By Rinus Van Schendelen | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 1
THE EUROPEANISATION OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS

Living Together in Europe

'Europe' is almost a synonym for variety. In the year 2000 about 370 million people were living in the European Union (EU), more than in the USA and Japan put together. The future admission of other member states will increase the EU population by 160 million people. They all are organised by the way of a national state, frequently subdivided into more-or-less autonomous domestic (regional, provincial, local) governments, reflecting territorial idiosyncrasies and power ambitions. Their political histories usually have a long record of wars with neighbours and, many of them, with former colonies. Their political ideologies range from the extreme left to the extreme right. In their daily life the Europeans, living in free and pluralist societies, encounter a kaleidoscope of civil organisations such as companies, corporations, trade unions, political parties, churches and other interest groups. Their economies range from free-market systems in the North to more state-directed ones in the South. The EU people communicate with each other by eleven different national languages and hundreds of regional ones. In France alone one-third of the population makes daily use of one of its eight dialects.

In terms of social statistics, variety in Europe is even more impressive [COM, Europe in figures]. The population size of the member state of Luxembourg is less than one-half a percent of that of Germany, but has the highest GDP per capita, being two-and-half times that of Portugal. In general, a wealth contrast exists between the relatively rich North and poor South of Europe (Ireland included in the latter). Rates of labour activity and unemployment vary widely across member states and regions. Sectoral employment rates show a mountainous landscape, with Greece peaking in agriculture (about 20% of the labour force), Germany in industry (about 40%) and the Netherlands in services (about 70%). Social security in Eu

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