As European Union Grows, Leaders Try to Decentralize

By Keyser, Jason | Insight on the News, September 21, 1998 | Go to article overview

As European Union Grows, Leaders Try to Decentralize


Keyser, Jason, Insight on the News


Europeans are skeptical of the European Union, and many complain about bureaucrats with agendas that favor their own countries. But ail this may be changing in a gentler, kinder EU.

The European Union may be getting bigger, but some say it feels smaller -- the result of citizen-friendly policies intended to bring people closer to the governing process. Launched in 1957 by the Treaty of Rome, the European Union began with only six members: France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. Today, it has become an economic behemoth -- 15 nations with a combined population of 370 million people -- adding Britain, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Ireland and Austria.

In the last few months, the 15-nation bloc has rapidly pursued further expansion and integration. Eleven nations locked themselves into a common currency, the euro, that will arrive Jan. 1, and the EU is negotiating with six new potential members in Central and Eastern Europe and Cyprus. Five more nations also are under consideration, bringing the possible total to 26.

As the union grows, so too its burgeoning bureaucracy in Brussels. Critics claim EU officials are losing touch with ordinary citizens. In Germany, pundits say forthcoming elections will depend partly on which candidates address public concern over the country's 70 percent contribution to the EU budget. France was forced last year to draft highly unpopular belt-tightening measures to qualify for the unified currency, bruising public support for integration.

Larger nations must be more willing to sacrifice national interests to make progress toward political unification, concedes Dutch Ambassador Joris Vos. But EU leaders are seeking to bolster the union's relevance to ordinary citizens through a series of legislative changes intended to make the union more accountable. "The direct role the union plays in people's lives is more visible every day" says Vos.

Austria, which has the EU's presidency for the first time, will host a summit in October focusing on ways to make the union more friendly to Europeans. Austrians also are renewing discussion of the long-talked-about but largely unrealized concept of "subsidiarity" the principle that decisionmaking should be passed down to the lowest appropriate level. Europeans like to joke about Brussels regulating the curvature of cucumbers and size of toilet seats. EU leaders hope that involving regional and local legislators will bring government closer to the people and avoid unnecessary bureaucratic red tape.

"Regional, local communities have an important part to play in the process of integration, because people tend to identify with the area they come from" says Austrian Ambassador Helmut Tuerk. "Subsidiarity is a vital means for bringing the European Union closer to its citizens and to enhance their acceptance of the European change."

But EU leaders also worry that hastily decentralizing the EU's decision-making could renationalize Europe. They want most of all to forge a common European identity. "The euro will be a quantum jump in making the EU a reality to people" says Vos. "As soon as they see the notes, they will realize, `Hey, there is a united Europe' and they will ask, `What does it mean to me?'"

The American public appears to view the euro as good for both Europe and the United States. Only 18 percent of Americans believe the euro will harm U.S. interests, according to a Program on International Policy Attitudes study released in June. Indeed, the PIPA study shows Americans to be more enthusiastic about European integration than EU residents.

Critics believe EU leaders often are less interested in Europe's unity as they are in defending the interests of their own countries. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

As European Union Grows, Leaders Try to Decentralize
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.