Thursday, September 15, 2005

Barroso's Trojan Horses

In line with the general neoliberal trend sweeping Europe (which will only get worse after the German elections), which also meant a wide majority in the most powerful institution of the EU, the European Council (the national governments' club), we now have a Commission president (it's British PM Bliar's fault) who is a self-styled neoliberal revolutionary. (Never mind that his economic policies ended in total failure at home - he even cooked the books -, and to a leftist election victory I discussed.)

Undeterred by the reasons behind the French and Dutch NO on the EU Constitution, after all he only does what most national governments want, he goes on - only clandestinely.

First, the EU Commission can now go after companies breaking environmental law. Or, that's how it is sold: for, the Commission's new powers also include "criminal sanctions for breaches of EU internal market, data protection laws and intellectual property rights". Without doubt music companies and Micro$oft will be happy about the last two - while the first can also be applied against environmental legislation, neutralising the positive in the headline part (there have already been such attempts against German laws like the regenerative energies feed-in law, the drink bottles recycling law and the lorry road tax law).

Second, Barroso suggested the scrapping of unnecessary EU legislation, bringing up the law on workers' protection from excessive exposure to sunlight as example, which made stirrings in the German yellow press as something absurd (i.e., 'barmaids at the Oktoberfest won't be allowed to hand out beer in traditional clothes [which expose some flesh]'). Now, even that ruling may look much less absurd if we look at the details in the final version and don't rely on the yellow press, but consider what else Barroso proposes to scrap: "EU-wide rules in areas such as food labelling, presentation and advertising, the regulation of sales promotions and weekend lorry-bans". I.e., he'd like to convert the EU just into what British anti-EU leftists erroneously believe it to be already...


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