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Netherlands, Finland, Luxembourg, Poland and Italy Oppose EU Copyright Directive (permanentrepresentations.nl)
439 points by pasiaj 27 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 155 comments



What the hell, where's Sweden and Denmark? Or the much-hyped E-stonia? (Not that it would've made a difference.)


The lack of Estonia seemed curious to me as well, given Estonia's voting history regarding Article 13. Then I looked up the voting history for all these countries. [1] The votes against Article 13 have been as follows:

  Poland      72% (36 vs 14)
  Netherlands 71% (17 vs 7)
  Finland     50% (6 vs 6)
  Italy       38% (25 vs 41)
  Luxembourg  33% (2 vs 4)
    
  Sweden      100% (18 vs 0)
  Estonia     83% (5 vs 1)
  Denmark     17% (2 vs 10)
Looking at this frankly raises more questions than it answers. Has there been a big change of heart in say Italy suddenly? They've been voting in favor of article 13 thus far.

--

[1] https://saveyourinternet.eu/act/


What you are looking at are the views of the MEPs. MEPs represent specific people living in the country, not the country as whole. This statement was issued by the countries, meaning the representatives of the governments currently in power in those countries.


Of the listed countries, 6 of the 8 - Netherlands, Finland, Luxembourg, Sweden, Estonia and Denmark - are all 1 constituency countries, so the MEPs represent the entire country

MEPs may well decide different things to the government though, just as the U.S. House could have a different view to the Senate.


Proportional representation.

The MEPs don't represent the entire country, they represent the specific people who voted for them. The fundamental principle of who people represent under PR is very different from FPTP.

Under FTPT, the people living in a certain area vote for a "winner", who then represents the entire area. If 51% of the people vote for candidate A, and 49% vote for candidate B, then the wishes of 49% of the constituency go unheard in the parliament.

Under PR, the idea is not to pick a "winner" who takes all and then represents everyone in the parliament, the idea is to match everyone's vote to some candidate(s) according to their preferences, as best allowed by sizes of constituencies, so that as many people as possible have someone they voted for in the parliament. Then the people in the legislative body only represent the people who voted for them.


That’s not how it works. The 9 MEPs in my constituency all represent me despite me not voting for any of them.

However like in FPTP they are representitives, they aren’t delegates.


So I vote for a party in the EU as a whole, and if enough people in my country or other countries do too, some candidate from some country gets elected?


No. For the EU parliament you vote for a representative (from your country, that usually belongs to some political party).


That is true, but in the EU parliament as in many other systems there is an incentive for representatives to vote in favor of the (EU) party they are in - as huge majority of representatives have on this case despite of their own governments showing displease to this particular ruling.

I will not personally be voting for any of the representatives that voted for this particular ruling as none of them they gave no satisfactory explanation why they actually voted this way anything other than that their EU party wanted it to pass. My country being Finland, and we definitely have been opposed to this from the start.


You vote for MEPs (I believe all EU constituencies are multi-member constituencies)

Those MEPs are usually members of national parties, and members of groups of parties (and "eu party"). The latter would include EPP (conservatives), S&D (socialists), ALDE (liberals), ECR (eurosceptic conservatives), Greens, etc.

(My descriptions are probably a bit simplistic)

The makeup of the groups-of-parties at each election is shown at this picture

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/timeline/86b6bea58...

The 750 MEPs in parliament then vote in the Commissioner. As no group of parties has an absolute majority, it requires pan-ideology agreement. The rule is that the commissioner candidate of the largest group gets the first shot, and the MEPs approve or reject him. In 2014 the EPP were the largest group, with 217 MEPs. S&D were next with 189.

As such the EPP candidate - Jean-Claude Juncker (who was elected at an EPP conference in March 2014) - was the first in line. The EU Council (heads of state of the 28 countries) asked the leaders of the various EU parties if he'd do, and the EPP and S&D agreed. The EU Council then voted 26-2 to approve him and pass him, and his policies, to the MEPs to be approved.

It's typical coalition building. Most proponents of FPTP don't like this sort of compromise (I.e. Juncker's policies had to not only satisfy the 29% of MEPs in his "party", but enough of the rest to maintain approval), but it's not an aberation.

Then the MEPs looked at his policies, debated, then voted for or against him, and with 422 of 750 votes, he was approved.

It might seem a little alien to those who are used to a FPTP system, or to a directly elected executive, but it's quite similar to the way the UK 2010-2015 government was formed.


"Under FTPT, the people..."

You probably meant 'FPTP' there ('First Past The Post')? If not, what does this stand for?


I guess you must be talking about the JURI committee of the European parliament. Hell of a lot more MEPs in EP. Anyway, this topic isn't about EP really as this statement relates to an EU Council vote, i.e. involving member state goverments. Whole nuther organ.


What are you talking about?

The Netherlands alone has 26 MEPs.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Netherlands_(European_Parlia...


As a guess, the MEPs are divided proportionally to parties based on the vote total of the entire country. Rather than say, splitting the country up into chunks and having each chunk selecting an MEP.


Large countries are split into chunks - the UK comprises about 9 constituencies IIRC.


It's up to each country.


Sure, in general larger countries split (UK, France, Italy, Poland etc). Germany I think is the only >20m country that doesn't split.


A single constituency, that represent everyone in the Netherlands regardless if they were eligible to vote, let alone if they voted for X


In Italy there has been a radical change in terms of governing parties/policy towards the EU over the last year.

Right now the majority elected for the EU parliament does not really match the actual government's disposition.


Italy is currently run by populist who dislike the EU, so you can say there has been a rather big change.


Unfortunately, the majority of parties in Denmark have a real hard-on for this copyright directive. Either from a belief that it will protect the artists, or from a "law and order" perspective that this will finally stick it those eeeeeevil pirates by giving even more power to the rights holders, in an attempt to completely abolish fair use doctrines.

The ramifications if this directive passes are absolutely disastrous, potentially putting a gigantic legalistic roadblock in the way of any free sharing of information online. I've tried writing my representatives to explain just how extreme the consequences will be, but they just refuse to listen, and insist on sticking to the party line, most of the replies I got were just canned responses. Or I guess they prefer listening to the lobbyists instead of their constituents.

As someone who became a huge music fan through file sharing with my friends and later through the internet via FTPs, IRC channels and DCC, Napster, Kazaa, torrents and shady Russian forums, I think this unprecedented tightening of the net will be a real detriment to culture and art.


Yup, it's the same in my country. I'm going to specifically vote for an independent MP who was against this directive. I won't try to contact the others and explain anything because it doesn't work. Some party MPs have a split view on the issue and it's risky to vote for a party because you never know who they send to the EP.


Why would we be against it? I know it’s an unpopular opinion on HN, but I don’t have a problem with Facebook and Google being made liable for the content on their platforms.

Here is why: if you produce content, like music, you can put it on YouTube and YouTube will pay you for the views. They’ll only pay you for the content in your channels though, while themselves earning money from both the legal and illegal copies.

I’m not personally too worried about the privacy, people will always find a way to share, but the fact that YouTube makes money of the illegal content legally, just doesn’t sit right with me.

What’s even worse is that YouTube won’t tell us the profit ratios on our own content. Sure they’ll pay a record company to put music videos on an official channel, but they’ll never disclose how much money YouTube earns from it. Maybe it’s a fair split, maybe it’s not, but you have no way of knowing and you kind of have to be on YouTube. I mean, this last bit is where it becomes obvious that viewers are the product, because we only upload stuff to YouTube because they have all the damn users.

I know the fear machine, wants us to believe that private citizens wouldn’t be able to upload a video we filmed with a song playing in the background. But that’s actually already illegal. Only in its current form, it’s the private citizen who is liable and not the platform. I have no problem with switching that around, and make the platform liable instead of the individual. Maybe that will lead to more closed platforms, but my pets bet is that someone out there is willing to build a platform that allows the content and simply pays the royalties, for the same reason we accept the godawful YouTube contract. The users are valuable.

In Denmark, Sweden and Estonia we prefer the government to Google or Facebook, so naturally we support laws that moves power from the companies to the people.


Thinking this law only affects Google and Facebook is the problem.

Google and Facebook can afford to build those content recognition systems and pay those royalties. Can your local non-profit photo sharing community? Can a new video hosting service that makes less money because it doesn't surveil its users?


My local non-profit sharing community is already liable. That’s my point.

You couldn’t write a blog and share music a record company produced without permission. As soon as it was found, it would be taken down and you’d get fined.

Why should YouTube or Facebook have that advantage over you?


No, that's not true; a community that runs a photo hosting service is certainly protected if some user uploads protected content, just like YouTube (under the Electronic Commerce Directive 2000/31/EC).

They would only not have protection if the copyright holder could prove the hosting community itself purposefully hosted such content. But neither would YouTube if they did the same.


tl;dr Never let your pets bet!


What does this mean procedurally? Is this a veto? A statement that is likely to effect an upcoming vote?


We'd need either 13 countries or any number of countries that represents 35% of the EU population to oppose this law.

Last time, it was 8 countries representing 27% that opposed it. A handy voting calculator[0] gives us about 23.88% of the population using the countries listed here.

This is (was?) a less-likely scenario to stop it. One final attempt will be when all the MEPs get a chance to vote on it.

[0] https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/council-eu/voting-system/...


If the vote is before brexit it's 23.88% after brexit it's 27.42%.


You raise a very poignant point, should votes that are borderline, that the UK MEP's have voted recently be reviewed?


Only if the vote is 51.89% to 48.11% on an overly broad decision made against the backdrop of lies, finance illegality and interference from external actors.

I'm totally not bitter though honestly.

If the worst comes to the worst I'll just marry my partner (she'll still be an EU national after March) and take my skills (and taxes) abroad.


No, just like votes that happened just before new EU members joined in the past weren't revisited. You're either in or you're out. Britain's still in, and thus still gets to vote.


almost all EU policy areas in the council are now done using Qualified Majority Voting

> 55% of member states vote in favour - in practice this means 16 out of 28

> the proposal is supported by member states representing at least 65% of the total EU population

more details: https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/council-eu/voting-system/...

removing national vetos is the core idea behind the EU (replacing intergovernmentalism with supranationalism)


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Directive_on_Copyright_in_the_...:

”At this point, the text will be reviewed by the European Parliament Committee on Legal Affairs, and then presented to the full European Parliament for a vote. Should the vote succeed, then each of the EU's member states have up to 24 months to introduce laws within their own countries to support the Directive.”

So, this is a statement “we believe the European Parliament should vote against this proposal”.


> introduce laws within their own countries to support the Directive.

Why so complicated? It seems a bad idea to have 28 different laws which generally say the same thing but with possibly small differences so it gets a minefield. No wonder EU is a difficult market. Who possibly thought that's a good idea?


Because, despite what people say, the countries of the EU are distinct countries with their own legal systems.


That is true and, at the same time, the EU is forcing all countries to implement this directive into their law, whether they want it or not. There are 8 countries that don't want it, but they can't oppose.


Every country in the EU agreed to implement these directives when they joined the EU, whether they agreed to it or not. There were various stipulations on how much support there needed to be before everyone had to implement them. Some things need unanimous support (trade deals, accession), some countries have certain opts outs in certain areas

However when it comes to harmonizing copyright legislation it was agreed unaminously that 65% of the EU population, plus 55% of the EU countries, could implement laws that are binding on the rest.


Think of it like an interface and an implementation in programming.


With a good interface you do not have to know the implementation. But the implementations here are leaking hard since everybody can and does implement the directive differently, so you can't deal with the interface but you rather have to deal with each implementation separately!

So sadly no interface at all.


Actually, the analogy does apply in the general to way the EU works, and your explanation is the exact opposite of how it usually works.

The general rule of thumb is "as long as you meet the EU criteria, your product/service/etc is legal in all EU states", removing the need for figuring out red tape for each individual country. So if you have, say, a perfume that you want to sell, then as long as you follow the EU restrictions for which ingredients you are and are not allowed to use you should have access to the entire EU market. Before the EU existed you would have to find out the legal restrictions for each country separately.

Contrary to its reputation, when it comes to international markets the EU has saved companies tons of money in terms of administration due to reducing red tape.


And if you accidentally break a law because some countries did more than the directive?


IIRC you may make higher demands on your own country, but cannot restrict goods from foreign markets that meet the EU criteria (that's the entire point after all). It can get a bit weird.

For example, IIRC Dutch laws regarding for cheese production safety are more strict than what EU laws require, with mandatory weekly testing for bacterial growth. However, any cheese meeting EU laws is allowed to be sold on the market.


If Google News meets EU criteria, then why did they leave Spain after Spain introduced ancillary copyright? So goods and services are not handled the same? Or is the idea wrong?


I'm not a lawyer, so I don't know all the fine details. I merely dated a woman for four years who had a master degree in EU studies and picked up a lot of things about the general process.

Those are fine questions, but you'll have to do your own research to answer them I'm afraid.


I understand. Will do. :-)


Simpler than trying to craft a regulation that would be compatible with:

- Common law systems and civil law systems,

- with or without constitutions,

- in republics, federations, monarchies and principalties

- speaking 20-odd official languages.


The GDPR was a regulation - a type of EU law which immediately applies uniformly in every member state.

This proposal is different because it is a Copyright "Directive" - directives leave the implementation details up to the member states. If a court rules a particular member state's implementation to be in violation of the directive, the directive's wording has the supremacy and overrides the local law. Still, this leaves some leeway for member states. They may choose different approaches to reach a common EU goal, or more lax/stricter punishments provided that the directive allows for that.


each country has a different legal system, trying to make a single legislation is _really_ hard and generally not worth it. Some countries never ratify the directives either.

That's why GDPR (which is a regulation, not a directive) was such a big deal, but it came years after there was a data protection directive, allowing the systems to harmonize.


Also, directives typically describe goals, not the way to reach them. That gives individual countries some freedom.

For example, Directive 2015/720 requires member states to reduce single-use plastic bag use by 50% by 2017 and 80% by 2019, but doesn’t tell anything about how to do that.

Denmark taxes companies giving away bags, Ireland taxes every bag sold, the Netherlands made it illegal to give out free bags (with exceptions), Serbia (not EU, but aspiring to become an EU country) taxes manufacturers and importers of plastic bags, etc (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phase-out_of_lightweight_pla...)

And yes, there likely are opportunities to game this. If you buy a can of beer or a single-use bottle of soda in Germany, for example, you pay a deposit that you get back when you return the empty vessel. Often, you can buy the same vessel in Belgium, where the deposit is lower, or the Netherlands, where deposits only exist for bottles of half a liter or more.


The issue I see with the EU, is that it's essentially centralizing all the "countries" into "states". Where by, each of the states will simply answer to the two countries with the most power. Namely Germany, followed by France.

Personally, I think it's sad. It's as if we're watching the destruction of all the national identities. Only to be centralized by powers who are only interested in their own national identity.

This is similar to the struggle the U.S. faced at the start. You cannot have a centralized government making laws without invasively deciding everything. A federation of the EU made sense. Shared currency, shared military, etc. But by trying to manage the economy (which copyright is an extension of), they are essentially going down the path of ever increasing centralization.

With that, countries like the U.K., who have a strong national identity, can and should leave - if they want to be an independent nation.


The pedestal contemporary people put national identity on is just that, contemporary. National identities didn't arise naturally. Many of them were very thoughtfully and intentionally invented. For most of human history, the idea that people over a geography the size of Engalnd would see themselves as one people would've been ridiculous.

It's really only in the last 200-400 years that people have accepted the nation as their identifying place. Previously people's place identity came the much smaller geography of their county, kingdom, principality or hamlet. Joining these smaller identities into larger national identities was a big win that came with many benefits. Of course it meant that these places had to give up some autonomy. Just as there are many benefits of nations giving up some autonomy to act collectively in a regional power structure.

It's only our contemporary bias that tells us that the subordination of the political will of the hamlet to the nation is good and that the subordination of the national will to a continental or regional will is bad.


> The pedestal contemporary people put national identity on is just that, contemporary.

As opposed to the pedestal people put supra national institutions such as the EU? Rome? Napoleon's Empire? all failed eventually.

> National identities didn't arise naturally.

Neither did the European Union. All societies are man made constructs, what your point?

> It's only our contemporary bias that tells us that the subordination of the political will of the hamlet to the nation is good and that the subordination of the national will to a continental or regional will is bad.

Well, the EU is more power concentrated in the hands of fewer people. By nature it will always be less democratic than governance at a smaller scale. And these structures tend to seek even more power as time goes, not less.

What is better? more tyranny,bureaucracy or more democracy?

Ignoring local cultures and socio-economics specificities by trying to impose arbitrary rules to an entire continent? In that case there will always be winners and losers.


I think the parent comment is trying to make the point that nation state identity is equally as arbitrary and artificial as a continent identity.

People like identifying with a group. It seems like an innate craving of humanity. I think we should learn to be careful not to be exploited for this craving. Whether it is a nation, the EU, a religion or a soccer team, one should be very very careful.


"nation state identity is equally as arbitrary and artificial as a continent identity."

I would disagree.

Nation states are formalizations of ethnic groups and they did arise naturally. They are not arbitrary.

'Sweden' is where the 'Swedes' live, essentially. And they have for a very long time.

There is not much arbitrary about the nation states of Europe, they mostly have clear historical orientation.

The Habsbourg Empire - now that is an 'artificial state'. Spain, Netherlands, Austria, Hungary etc.. It faded ultimately because it was arbitrary.

WW1 - which has it's roots in turmoil within the Austro-Hungarian Empire (read: the succession of Habsbourg dynasty) - was caused at least in part by this 'arbitrary' mapping.

'Europe' is surely where 'Europeans live' - but - the 'EU' is not Europe. Many citizens (in some cases majorities) voted against the Treaty of Lisbon which gave the EU it's most powerful legal status, and most citizens didn't really have a vote.

The EU is a body politic, a rather undemocratic one, it's not quite the same as 'Europe'.

The legislation in question should be a pan-European concern, and I believe it belongs at the level of the EU, even if the EU is oddly constructed and has way too much power.

I don't think it's really a national issue in any sense, there doesn't seem to be any clear boundaries on this.

There are ideological advocates on all sides, and very specific economic forces from a few different nations acting as impetus.


You're assuming that ethnic nation-states were the norm in human history. They were not - most states originate from rulers that unified them, and their original citizenship was basically people who swore fealty to that ruler and not the other. Most modern nations didn't exist then, either, except as numerous separate tribes that had to be forcibly unified, and their distinct identities erased, to make them into those nations. We see the legacy of this process even today, e.g. in how many European countries treat their various regional languages and dialects.


And my point is more power concentrated in the hand of fewer people only leads to the tyranny of a bureaucratic elite and less democracy.

> I think we should learn to be careful not to be exploited for this craving.

You mean "we shouldn't trust the people with their intelligence", that's how every elite thinks.

Well I hope someday there is enough democracy left for the people in Europe to undo the EU bureaucracy peacefully. For the record I was pro EEC.


> nation state identity is equally as arbitrary and artificial as a continent identity.

It's not though. A person in Stockholm has lot more in common with a person in Malmo than he does with a person in Sofia.

Nation-states spring from a collection of ethnically similar tribes in proximity. In most cases the tribes volunteer to be a part of a nation (those that don't end up creating new nations or separatist movements).

It may be 'artificial' but it's certainly not arbitrary.


They can be fairly arbitrary. There are many places in this world where peoples separated by a border, even a very old border, look more like each other than either looks like the people in their respective national capitals.

Sure, a modern resident of Stockholm will fit in better with a group from Malmo than Sofia. But what about a city like St. Petersburg which was long thought too Russian by Europeans and too European by Muscovites. What of cities that have long sat across a border from each other or which have been long divided? Are their residents less similar to each other than they are to cities hundreds of miles away?

Now unwind the clock a bit. Go back to 1500 when in most places, people 100 miles apart didn't speak the same language, before national campaigns to settle the language, the grammar, the history, the traditions (many traditions we hold dear come from pro nationalist propaganda campaigns). You're looking at people after 200-300 years of shaping with a nationalist's chisel.

Again, my point is not that nations are bad or that multi-national powers are good, it is only that many of the criticism thrown around about multi-national governments were also employed against nationalism in another time. National identity isn't totally arbitrary, in some places it has alonger history than others but the strident form we know of it today is invented and lots of people didn't think in terms of it before or during its emergence.


Germany can be seen as a supranational entity. Until quite recently Germany was a bunch of almost independent states, reasonably similar to what the EU is now. So far increased integration seems to have worked out for Germany.


They all speak the same language and have the same culture and not at all similar to the EU.


Language in the EU is of course a problem, but I think you overestimate the cultural similarity between a Prussian and a Bavarian, or you underestimate the similarity between a German and a Frenchman.


Any German person has an order of magnitude more in common with an another German person than it has with any other person from a different EU country. It has nothing to do with overestimating or underestimating similarities when the effects are an order of magnitude apart. I encourage you to travel around Europe and interact with locals to see the difference yourself.


I have traveled and interacted with the locals, which is where I got my opinion from. Travel and interaction is so much easier now than when Germany was split into different states that cultural similarity in Europe is much greater now than it has ever been.


For me the experience is the opposite from what yours is. Cities, homes, food, temperament in my experience change completely when you cross a border from Germany to France. There really is no parallel between unification of German states to EU integration. For example do you really feel that someone from Munich is culturally as similar to someone from Venice as to someone from Leipzig?


Please don't be so combative with comments like

> All societies are man made constructs, what your point?

You understood the parents point of giving historical context.


>> The pedestal contemporary people put national identity on is just that, contemporary.

> As opposed to the pedestal people put supra national institutions such as the EU? Rome? Napoleon's Empire? all failed eventually.

>> National identities didn't arise naturally.

> Neither did the European Union. All societies are man made constructs, what your point?

I never claimed large regional authorities were natural, good nor special in any way. But the OP implied that national identities deserved special status or were some how superior. I'm simply pointing out that they aren't special and were once viewed with just as much suspicion as people now view larger political structures.

>> It's only our contemporary bias that tells us that the subordination of the political will of the hamlet to the nation is good and that the subordination of the national will to a continental or regional will is bad.

> Well, the EU is more power concentrated in the hands of fewer people. By nature it will always be less democratic than governance at a smaller scale. And these structures tend to seek even more power as time goes, not less.

This is obviously incorrect. You can have large institutions which are fairly Democratic, (the U.S. House of Representatives) and small institutions which are utterly totalitarian like Rafael Trujillo's Dominican Republic.

> What is better? more tyranny,bureaucracy or more democracy?

I prefer democracy to tyranny. But I contest the implication that centralized authority is inherently less democratic. And I'm not so sure we can assume bureuocracy is bad out of hand.

> Ignoring local cultures and socio-economics specificities by trying to impose arbitrary rules to an entire continent? In that case there will always be winners and losers.

That's pretty vague. There are always winners and losers. Competing nation states create winners and losers. Totalitarian regimes create winners and losers. As does free market capitalism.

You've read a lot into my comment. I do not really have an opinion about the quality of the EU as an institution. That's way beyond my knowledge. But I do contest the misunderstanding that the nation state has been ubiquitous throughout history and that it's some obviously superior socio-political construct.


Comments like this remind me how much I like California. It's nice to be in a place that doesn't conflate regional identity with race or religion. It was a surprise to me when living on the east coast how often people asked about my heritage.

My people are whoever comes down to Old Muscle Beach to work out, whoever is at the skate park. I'm super happy that those crowds are varied.


They do, just not locally. Ask an average californian about the average person from tennessee, and the bigotry is just as real.


Are you talking about the California of the LA Riots? The california of constant race riots in high schools? A california with the largest white supremacist population, the largest ethnic mexican gangs, largest asian-ethnic gangs, largest black ethnic gangs, etc? A california of ethnic neighborhoods and segregation?

https://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-rothstein-segreg...

Not that we are any better on the east coast, but you must be living a very sheltered life if you think california is some racial paradise.


Not a racial paradise, but a relatively young place where there is less adherence to that stuff. LA riots were a long time ago. Largest white supremacist population? So what's that mean, a few thousand?

My high school had what was labeled as a race riot by some media. [1 for a link to the event] On the other hand, looking past a shitty week, that high school was incredibly diverse, and I'm thankful I got to hang out with a mix of people.

Maybe the subset of friends I had at the beach was sheltered, but that place was global. Friends from Iran, Russia, white, black, Asian, you name it. From millionaires to homeless.

So yea, I'm pretty thankful for California. There are still barriers, but I think they're a lot lower out here.

1. https://smmirror.com/2005/04/last-friday-at-samohi-it-was-a-...


What you are describing are diverse cities, not california as a whole. NY is even more diverse than than california if you just pick a diverse city and extrapolate that to the entire state.

If you want global, it doesn't get any more global than NYC. Not sure why you are pretending california or LA is special. The only thing california has going for it is great weather and constant flow of chinese money and a tech bubble propping it up. The east coast has pockets of diverse cities and suburbs as well. No different than california.


I lived in NJ / NY for a few years during school. It's diverse but people also want to know what group you belong to. Are you Polish? Are you Italian? To be honest, I don't really know. I'm beach people.

As a side note, you're incredibly negative. California is nice and I like it more than all the other places I've lived.


> the idea that people over a geography the size of Engalnd would see themselves as one people would've been ridiculous

Yet they were related people, ethnically, linguistically, and culturally. It's like saying the idea of a family would've been ridiculous, because brothers used to fight and bicker.


Not that related. Conquered and homogenised. Some of today's regional identities and dialects can be seen in this 1,100 year old map.

Britain after Alfred's restoration of London: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Britain_886.jpg


Mah, my take on the resurgence of Nationalism is that it is simply a reaction/struggle to Neoliberal Globalization.

Previous attempts at developing an international counterpoint to Neoliberals’ “End of History” have either fizzled on their own or were smashed apart (GenovaG8, World Social Forum, Occupy.)

The latest attempt at interpreting displeasure for TINA comes from the Right, which in Europe has meant rejecting the “Global Village”, unearthing very unpleasant forms of chauvinism and racist rhetoric, longing for a “gilded age” of Nations (where Countries and People - as in, homogeneous ethnic groups - identify.)

And the most recent - and counterproductive - development has been the disdainful elitism of the EU technocrats and their political supporters (in the last 10–20 years, the former gained a lot of respect and power at the expense of the latter.) They are literally shouting “There Is No Alternative to us and our policies, you stupid crowd of gullible populists!”

I can’t see this going anywhere good


Oh really? National identities didn't arise naturally? Ask the Greeks and the Italians


You almost couldn't have picked two worse examples. Italy, for most of its history was divided into regions or even into smaller city states depending on the era. Even during the Roman hedgemony the peninusala did not act as a single political entity. There was significant disagreement about who outside of Roman was "Roman". This came to a head when Rome fought a war against it's neighboring cities and villages over the issue.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_War_(91%E2%80%9388_BC)

It wasn't until the early 1800s that a group of nationalists and aristocrats started a nationalist movement.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italy#Italian_unification

Greek nationalism developed around the same time. Before that, the territory that is modern Greece passed in large pieces between different empires and the Catholic church. Previous to that the Polis or city state was the highest political authority and the unit of place identity. There was some flirtation with larger alliances like those that fought the Peloponnesian War but they were loose and did not last after outside conquest.


Actually he picked good examples.

"Greek nationalism developed around the same time."

This not true.

While the 'nation state' as a legal formalism didn't arrive until recently - the 'Greek identity' existed in antiquity.

Not only that - Greek identity was maintained throughout 2000 years of occupation!

That's how strong and 'not arbitrary' their cultural foundation is.

If smaller Greek states were 'arbitrary' - they would have evaporated during Roman occupation. But an entity the Romans called 'Graecia' (sound familiar?) changed hands several times throughout history - more or less intact as a people and culture.

Though Greece was a collection of smaller states, and never a unified entity - they shared very similar cultural foundations, which were distinct from those around them (most of which changed and/or evaporated).

When the Persians invaded 'Greece' - the infighting Greek states bound together and acted more or less as an entity to push out the invaders.

Point being: 'Invading Persians' was not the same thing as 'Spartans invading Athens'.

Nation states were not arbitrarily formed, they are mostly ethnically oriented, and some of the boundaries have not changed in eons.

The thesis that 'nation states are arbitrary' is easily dismissed by having a look at maps of Europe throughout time. The state of Sweden is not some random thing, it's where 'the Swedes' live - roughly.

If the lines were 'arbitrary' - we'd see a mishmash of weird lines, crossing ethnicities - much like the somewhat arbitrary divisions between Syria, Iraq, Kuwait etc..

But they are not.

Funny enough, I think the legal IP questions of this article have nothing to do with this issue! For once, we're dealing with a more secular, legal thing, I think.

Summary: 'Graecia' was Greece literally more than 2000 years ago, the formation of a 'Greek state' is not arbitrary.


> When the Persians invaded 'Greece' - the infighting Greek states bound together and acted more or less as an entity to push out the invaders. Point being: 'Invading Persians' was not the same thing as 'Spartans invading Athens'.

You're reading an awful lot into a single anecdote. There were other occasions where some Greek polities allied with Persians against others.


Italy was unified in 1871, in part by force. And many parts of Italy still resent that and consider themselves Sicilian, Napolitan etc rather than "Italian".

I can't speak for Greece, but Italy is a really BAD example of a "naturally arisen" national identity. In fact the (now second party) Northern League's sole purpose until Matteo Salvini was to split Northen Italy from the south.


Can confirm some of this is true, but it would be overstating the division. It's a LONG conversation that I would be happy to have with a couple beers, but as a mixed Piemontese-Sicilian person living in the US I have a little more perspective on that than the average person :)


Ah yes, apologies if I overstated. I should perhaps have said "some people in many parts of Italy still resent...". I'm often told by friends from the south about how the north treated the south during and after unification, and from what I understand there is still a lingering resentment there. I think the point still stands that Italy is not example of a "naturally arisen" national identity anyway.

Source: British person living in Northern Italy with many friends from the South.


You didn't really overstate it, IMO. The Northern League political party (which at present goes just by The League) stated agenda AND main purpose was to obtain (enforce) fiscal federalism over Italy, in a way that would have effectively split the north from the south economically.

That was the agenda, then of course there are a lot of declinations the whole thing took. Like, as an example, members and sustainer of the Northern League considering the people from the south as "not Italians", derogatorily addressing them as "terroni" and so forth.

Then along came Salvini, who switched the focus from the south of Italy to the refugees, making them the enemy now. And the rest is pretty much in the daily news.

So no, sir, you did not overstate it.


Italy is probably the worst European example of this. For most of history the country was split into nation states that warred with each other. Even after unification, there's a strong cultural divide between the north and the south.


And Italian really didn't become the primary language untill the invention of the television.


This is not at all what's happening. Structurally, those big countries can easily get outvoted, and to change EU law it needs to be proposed by the commission, which is voted in by the council, where all member states have an equal vote.

It then needs to be passed by the parliament, where votes are proportional to population. There Germany and France have the most members, but just over 1/5 of the overall membership.

What actually happens is that all the other states also want these policies, and then when their electorate doesn't like it they say "the big bad EU made us do it!". This is in no small part the cause for Brexit.


> It then needs to be passed by the parliament, where votes are proportional to population.

Votes in the parliament aren't directly proportional to population in order to prevent large countries from dominating votes. Germany has 1 MEP per ~855k citizens, France ~870k while smaller countries like Belgium or Ireland have 1 MEP per 400-500k citizens.


That's pretty much the same in any country. In the UK constituencies go from 22k to 110k.

In the U.S. congressional districts range from 500k to 1 million.


The problem I have is that within these big countries, the policy doesn't have a majority. For me, that questions the democratic legitimacy for the european legislative process.

Because it can evidently be abused to push through "unpopular" laws that only serve special interests.


A majority of what? A poll among the general population? support of local parliamentarians in those countries?

In either case, that doesn't per-se call the democratic legitimacy into question. The entire point of a representative democracy is that you elect competent people to make decisions for you, which by definition means that a lot of the time they'll decide to do X even though Y would be the outcome if the issue were to be put to a popular vote.


No, you are correct. This is not the only example that I would suggest questions their mandate and democratic processes. But there a quite a few topics that add up.

This law is a very plain case of trying to enact a law serving special interests. Just look at how it came to be and who is responsible for that. It is a form of nepotism that does indeed question legislative processes.

The mandate of any democratic government is only valid as long as enough people believe in it. And stunts like these create doubt.

You should remember that for the next time you point the finger towards euro-critical movements.

Shit like this isn't necessary, doesn't solve any problem and is certainly not in the general interest of the population. Because it just servers special interests.

edit: And just to add: enacting laws via the EU to evade domestic criticism is a widely known and often employed political tactic. There are countless examples of this.


> countries like the U.K., who have a strong national identity

I laughed, good one. You're aware of Scotland almost voting for independence, and Northern Ireland being demographically only a matter of time until independence (reunification with Ireland)? Or that both of those places voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU? Gibraltar voted 99% remain.

So which bit of the UK wants to be an independent nation? There's about a dozen permutations you can arrive at. If Scotland and / or Northern Ireland goes, expect independence for Yorkshire and Cornwall, maybe Northumbria campaigns.

I think just about the only thing that unites the UK at present is the dire quality of this generation of Westminster politicians. Perhaps also embarrassment of being British and associated with them.


As a non-brit having lived in London for a few years my (mostly but not entirely tounge in cheek) take on it is that it seems pretty much all parts of England loathes every other part of England, to variying degrees; while all other parts of the kingdom also dislikes most of England, to varying degrees. The only thing that seems to unite the British, in my mind, is non-londoner's (and some londoner's too!) dislike for London! (Particularly Westminster, as you mention.)

I suppose they all unite also when England performs well in big soccer games. If they don't do well however...


You seem to be figuring us out quite well. Most of the inter regional loathing is a sort of benign, almost friendly loathing, until you look south or north(depending on starting point)... North-south divide is a little more real, if you see what I mean.

Well, England unites for soccer, Scotland, with their own footie team, hopes for England to go out on penalties, as always. :)

For things where there's a British rather than English team they might.


Hah, yes. Wales too I suppose. I wonder – do people from Northern Ireland root for Ireland or England? I'm only half referring to soccer with that question. ;o)


Yeah, let's not open that can of worms. It's tricky. :p


Haha fair enough. Thanks for the laughs buddy!


I believe they (Formula One fans) also claim Lewis as one of their own, as they certainly did with Mansell.


> Personally, I think it's sad. It's as if we're watching the destruction of all the national identities.

Ha, that gave me a good chuckle. When in Europe, I would be happy to take you of a tour and show you how vastly different people live, behave and think just in the patch of land between France, The Netherlands and Germany. (I am Dutch, live in Germany and my folks live in France, so I claim at least some experience).

You will quickly see national identities are well and alive, regardless of EU centralization.


> With that, countries like the U.K., who have a strong national identity, can and should leave - if they want to be an independent nation.

I want what you're smoking. What are you talking about? Do the Scots identify with the Welsh or the Irish? The UK, as all countries is an artificial construct which did not 'organically' came to existence based on the 'national' awakening of Its population.


Quite, as a UK citizen I struggle to see anything in common with 52% of my fellow citizens


Assuming you mean because of the Brexit vote, then you either mean 38% or 66%.

Turnout was only 72%. So if you've got a beef with Brexit voters that's 52*0.72 =~ 38%, or maybe you also resent those who didn't bother to vote at all, which combined with Brexit voters raises it to around 66%.

That's before attempting to adjust for voters who've died since the vote, and those voting age citizens who couldn't legally vote in 2016.


> The issue I see with the EU, is that it's essentially centralizing all the "countries" into "states". Where by, each of the states will simply answer to the two countries with the most power. Namely Germany, followed by France.

The commission consists of one commissioner per country. The parlement has (currenlty) 705 seats. Germany is represented by 96, and france by 79 seats.

On paper it is entirely possible for smaller countries to stick together and work against the interests of germany and/or france. If they don't I assume that it's because they get an economic benefit as a compansation in exchange.

I don't agree with your take on national identies at all. I don't think national identities have changed (much) in the last 20 years and I doubt they will in the near future.

If they do won't be due to too much EU, it will be because the EU institutions/mechanics are too weak+slow and cannot address problems at hand. Similar to the rather slow reaction to the migrant crises.

However, this won't be an EU specific problem. We see similar problems in the UK and US (and other EU countries) where political parties are too divided that they are seemingly unable to work together and solve (pressing) problems.


> The commission consists of one commissioner per country

However they don't work for the country.

I guess the closest analogy for the U.S. would be the white house - but where the president is elected by the electoral college (in the E.U it's by the council, although that's just a rubber stamp based on the party who gets the highest number of votes in the equivelent of House vote)

However instead of the president choosing heads of department himself, he gets to choose from 28 people sent from each countries.

The "U.S. Senate" equivalent is the council, where every country gets 1 vote, regardless of size.

To get things passed through the Council, a double majority needs to happen - both a number (55% of countries I think) and a population (countries representing 65% of the population). This ensures that small countries can't gang up on large ones, and vice versa.

Imagine the U.S. senate, where you need 55 votes to pass, and that can't just be from states like Wyoming and Vermont, but would have to include at least a couple of states like California or Florida.

Then to pass into law, it also has to pass through the MEPs, who represent the voters of the EU (rather than the governments), in a roughly proportional manner.


As a Swede this is exactly why I'm against the EU.

Free trade is great, I get that, but I really don't like the centralization and getting less and less influence. I don't want Germany and France to shove idiotic internet laws down my throat.

In some way it's also why I'm rooting for U.K. to leave the EU and for it to work out.


> I don't want Germany and France

That's basically UK propaganda (though they like to focus on Germany).

Granted, the workings of the EU are complicated, but they are not opaque, or particularly unfair towards smaller countries. Downthread you mention connecting to politicians, and it being easier with local politicians. Try e-mailing your MEP once.

As far as things being shoved down one's throat: as far as I know, Sweden is still not using the Euro.

Also, being pro-EU (or at least not anti-EU) is not the same as being pro-federalisation. As you say, "free trade is great", and I think you'll agree that clean beaches aren't too bad either. EU directives and regulations in general are really just the largest common denominator opinions that most countries agree on, and as such get out-sourced to the EU. Our "president" is a moderator of a panel of elected heads of state. There is no reason the EU has to turn out like the US, and not really a lot of appetite for that in various member states.

But regardless, as unbelievable as it sounds for an institution covering 100s of millions of people, the EU is what you make of it. You're a citizen.


Just wondering, what exactly makes you think the laws shoved to your throat by Sweden would on average be any less idiotic? And why would just Sweden be the right size of entity that optimizes the idiocy of the laws, why independent Skåne would not be shoving less idiotic laws to your throat?


I'm under the illusion it's easier to influence a Swedish politician than it is to influence an order of magnitude more foreign politicians, to get the same proportion of influence.

The problem will always be there of course. I'm not saying Sweden is the optimal size, I just find it better than the EU alternative.

If you go to the extreme you can get too small as well. For example a society with a couple of thousand people is too small to form what's essentially a country. There is no clear cut answer.


> I'm under the illusion

I think that's brexit all over, illusion rather than substance.

> it's easier to influence a Swedish politician than it is to influence an order of magnitude more foreign politicians, to get the same proportion of influence.

Yes, and that's bad.

A big benefit of the EU is it's harder to manipulate -- there's a lot more people to control -- at least 16 independent heads of governments and nearly 400 MEPs. Far easier to lean on a single struggling PM and promise your endorsement in return for dinner.

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2017/feb/05/rupert-murdoch...

And the EU's power is limited, by national vetos, and national laws, and the fundamental material scope of eu law. How broad or narrow that scope is of course something to be debated, but the limits are there.

Copyright is clearly is one of those things that needs to be tackled at a level of government higher than the local town council, especially if you have an open market. Imagine a world where a movie made in LA wasn't protected by copyright in New York, let alone Toronto, Paris, or Singapore.

The EU is far more democratic than say the ISDS treaties, WTO and the web of complex interlocking treaties between countries.

> If you go to the extreme you can get too small as well. For example a society with a couple of thousand people is too small to form what's essentially a country. There is no clear cut answer.

Decisions should be taken at as low a level as makes sense. Defense can't be done at a city level, or even a national level for most countries, so these decisions make sense to move to larger areas. How far we're willing to move is an ever changing view, but the principal stands.


>Yes, and that's bad.

How is that bad? It's possible to change the law afterwards. With the EU it's basically impossible. Swedes would have to lobby politicians from a foreign country that they can't vote for nor can they speak the same language. That's terrible.

>Copyright is clearly is one of those things that needs to be tackled at a level of government higher than the local town council, especially if you have an open market. Imagine a world where a movie made in LA wasn't protected by copyright in New York, let alone Toronto, Paris, or Singapore.

But it has been protected on a higher level since the 19th century. Almost every country in the world is a signatory to the Berne convention.


Because when it's easier for you as an individual to change things, it's easier for Rupert Murdoch or Mark Zuckerberg to do it.

I assume Swedish MEPs speak Swedish, lobby them. I assume that the Swedish governemnt do to.

If the european population does not like a specific rule, then they lobby their MEPs and the Council members. You don't need to lobby Greek MEPs, Greeks do.

In the UK I can lobby my own local MP on Westminster matters, I can't lobby an MP in Cornwall though, I don't live there. People with the same views as me in Cornwall lobby their MPs, and those voices are therefore heard in parliament. I don't get to vote for 649 of the 650 MPs in Westminster.

The main "democratic deficit" in the EU is mainly as a result of neither the media nor the people taking it seriously. The information is there, but media outlets tend to have more people covering tiddlywinks than what happens in Brussels. This leads to apathy at best from the people, which leads to less coverage. It's an self-fueling antagonistic feedback loop.

The UK media loves to paint it as "unelected bureaucrats forcing the UK to do things". They don't paint Westminster as unelected bureaucrats forcing cornwall to do things. The problem there is that only 30% of us bothered to vote in 2014, and of those about 30% voted for people who simply claim the paycheck but refuse to actually do any work.

> But it has been protected on a higher level since the 19th century.

And the EU is a more democratic way of having these pan-national agreements set, discussed and changed. Some rules must apply at a global level, some can be set at a local level, some fall between - Trade, air travel, MRAs, Environmental issues, movement of goods, services, people and capital. The EU isn't unique in concept, NAFTA, EU, ASEAN, are all regional agreements covering various rules and laws.


To drive home just how bad this is in the EU, a few days ago the European Commission posted this astounding blog post on Article 13: http://archive.is/snRgE

They pretend that they're helping ordinary citizens fight back against the big internet platforms by creating this law that only big platforms stand a chance of complying with. That they're helping tip the balance in favour of creators by forcing platforms to kill their livelihoods through false positives and outright extortion attempts. That anyone who sees this as it actually is has been brainwashed by the evil, foreign Californian big tech.

They're also the only institution with the power to propose new EU laws - and there's essentially nothing we, as ordinary citizens, can do to replace the current members with people who might actually care about our interests. They're appointed through a process so indirect that any vestige of democracy is practically homeopathic, and they're not even meant to represent us in the first place.


> They're also the only institution with the power to propose new EU laws

Same as the UK. While in theory backbenchers can propose new laws, in reality Christopher Chope exists.

> and there's essentially nothing we, as ordinary citizens, can do to replace the current members with people who might actually care about our interests

The commission president stood as the candidate for the largest grouping in 2014. Personally I'd have preferred it if ALDE and Guy Verhofstadt had received the most support, but EPP did, and our MEPs duely voted Juncker in. Just like the UK MPs voted in May as PM, or the U.S. electoral college voted in Trump. That's pretty transparent.

The rest of the commissioners are appointed in the exact same way that the U.S. executive is appointed - on the whim of the President. The difference is that the U.S. president gets to choose from an unlimited pool, but the EU president has to choose from a pool appointed by national PMs.

MEPs can block those appointments, just like the U.S. senate can block appointments.

Parliament can also kick out the commission, that's no more or less democratic than the UK system where MPs can kick out the government.

If we don't like the commission, then we as ordinary citizens, need to vote for someone other than the EPP, or persuade our MEPs to censure them.

Even Nigel Farage said "One of the few things the European Parliament can do is to hold the European Commission to account for its actions".


No, it really isn't the same as the UK. For a start, the ability for backbenchers to propose laws isn't merely theoretical - they actually do it, and occasionally some of them become laws. This isn't possible even in theory in the EU. Also, our ministers are all elected politicians who can be voted out, and they have to defend their proposed laws on the record in the Commons just like the lowliest backbencher.

> The commission president stood as the candidate for the largest grouping in 2014. Personally I'd have preferred it if ALDE and Guy Verhofstadt had received the most support, but EPP did, and our MEPs duely voted Juncker in. Just like the UK MPs voted in May as PM, or the U.S. electoral college voted in Trump. That's pretty transparent.

The largest grouping in 2014, the EPP, had a mere 29% of the seats. The US electoral college can only select a president if a majority of the electors support him, and the same is more or less true of UK prime ministers. Also, MEPs aren't elected based on which candidate they support or even which political grouping they're a member of: they're elected based on which local political party they're part of. This all makes the selection process pretty arbitrary in practice, with the main thing influencing it being how exactly the actual political parties have allied themselves into factions this time around.


> No, it really isn't the same as the UK. For a start, the ability for backbenchers to propose laws isn't merely theoretical - they actually do it, and occasionally some of them become laws.

https://uk.news.yahoo.com/christopher-chope-wrong-object-fgm...

In practice backbenchers can't get laws past because of MPs like Chope.

> Also, our ministers are all elected politicians who can be voted out

Not by me, my MP is a backbench tory who's never been in government. Other people can vote ministers out - which has pros and cons. The U.S., which tends to be accepted as a "democracy", does not have the ability for the general population to boot out "ministers".

In 2017, 25 out of the total 118 (21%) ministers in the UK government were in the House of Lords in any case.

> The US electoral college can only select a president if a majority of the electors support him

And the EU MEPs can only select an EU commission president if a majority of the electors support him. And that's exactly what happened in 2014, when about 56% of MEPs backed him. This is similar to the UK in 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2017 when the Queen's Speech was passed by MPs of more than one party. In fact in the last 10 years it's only been 2009 and 2016 where the speech was passed by a single party.


You know why 56% of MEPs voted for him, right? It wasn't because they necessarily supported him - before the elections, the major parties entered into an agreement where they'd vote for the candidate backed by whichever party got the most seats from now on and only that person, essentially meaning that party's candidate was guaranteed the job despite having a minority of less than 30%.

Again, this is nothing like how coalitions work in the UK and other democratic countries. The Prime Minister has to convince her coalition partners that her government is worth their support, generally by bringing its policies more in line with what their voters care about and giving them roles in government. As far as I know, we've never had a deal like this where two minority parties each agree to help the other gain power just for the reward of getting the same help themselves next time, wiping out the influence of all the smaller parties in the process.

The closest I've seen to this is the (failed) attempts to turn the US presidency into a popular vote by committing a majority of electors into choosing whoever wins the popular vote, though the EU shenanigans are even more of a shady end-run around the intended process than that.


> the major parties entered into an agreement where they'd vote for the candidate backed by whichever party got the most seats

That's wrong. The only pre-election statement was that the president should be someone who had campaigned for it. It wasn't until after the election that the parties agreed that EPP should have first shot as the largest party.

The S&D for example demanded budget changes for their backing of Juncker, and I believe Parliament presidency, the negotiations continued for some time before they agreed to back him.

If you want to talk about democratic deficit, In the UK in 2005 the Labour and Cooperative parties got a combined 35% of the vote - barely more than the EPP in 2014 - but they got 100% of the power.


That's interesting, I've found it much easier to get in touch with MEP representatives than it is to get in touch with national politicians, and MEPs have been much more responsive as well. Have you tried contacting any MPs, and/or MEPs, and what was your experience?


Okay, but let's say you convince all the MEPs in your small country. Now what? Are you going to start sending letters to MEPs from foreign countries? Why would they care about what you have to say?


They probably wouldn't, I'm not part of their constituency. But that's just how representative democracies work, MPs (or in the EU case MEPs) argue and vote on behalf of their constituency. I can of course try to sway MEPs of other countries, but they're far more likely to listen to "my" MEPs as it were – it's part of their job after all.


> I'm under the illusion it's easier to influence a Swedish politician than it is to influence an order of magnitude more foreign politicians

Yes. And that includes the fact that the dumbfucks who think pi should equal three because bible says so also have more influence to the politicians at the level of Sweden than EU. I asked a question, why you think Sweden would be more optimal than EU and you basically replied "because I think so". Count me unconvinced by your arguments.

(Personally, I think that instead of discussing what is the right geographical scope of independent country, we should discuss which are issues that need to be decided on city level, which on state level, which on country level, which on EU-like entity level and which are issues that would actually need global democratic process to back them up. But unfortunately this discussion is way too complicated to the people that like to discuss with arguments like "Let's fund NHS with the EU membership fee instead")


> Yes. And that includes the fact that the dumbfucks who think pi should equal three because bible says so also have more influence to the politicians at the level of Sweden than EU.

With that line of thinking democracy is a failed concept and we should just abolish voting anyway. Because then dumbfucks don't get any influence.

> I asked a question, why you think Sweden would be more optimal than EU and you basically replied "because I think so".

No, I said it's because it's easier to influence Swedish politicians to which you cite religious dumbfucks as a counter-argument.

Even if I convince all Swedish politicians that won't do. Now I need to convince many politicians of other countries, many who don't speak my language and none who care about my vote.

> But unfortunately this discussion is way too complicated to the people that like to discuss with arguments like "Let's fund NHS with the EU membership fee instead"

Yes that would be a nice discussion to have. None of this should be decided by the European Commission because we as ordinary citizens are powerless to replace or influence them in any way.


So, you cannot vote for your MEP?

As far as I know they're chosen from current parties by proportional representation. With a few exceptions. (Country dependent.)

You (as Swedes, for instance) voted for those people. They are local national level politicians in an international setting, no different from any minister except for the stakes and reach.

That other countries can exert some influence on yours? That is a fact of life and nothing will change it. Everything is an agreement, including EU, with relatively specific scope, agreed to because it is beneficial (or politically convenient) even if limiting at times.

They're about as easy to influence as any minister, but more numerous and more diverse most of the time.

Essentially just think you're writing to a minister of european affairs in your country. Minister of foreign affairs.

It is a better model than everyone keeping laws dictated by the US, Russia, Germany or France, or WIPO, Google or MPAA lobbyists, which it was before. (National standards get copied or are intentionally very similar.) You get to vote at least on the common choice, instead of the strongest one winning.


> That other countries can exert some influence on yours? That is a fact of life and nothing will change it.

So we'll just accept anything? It's about limiting outside influence as much as possible. Not throwing your hands in the air and give up.

> Everything is an agreement, including EU, with relatively specific scope, agreed to because it is beneficial (or politically convenient) even if limiting at times.

It's always a trade-off. There are good parts and there are bad parts.

EU has morphed into something entirely different than what it was at the start.

> It is a better model than everyone keeping laws dictated by the US, Russia, Germany or France, or WIPO, Google or MPAA lobbyists, which it was before. (National standards get copied or are intentionally very similar.) You get to vote at least on the common choice, instead of the strongest one winning.

You don't solve the issue that laws are influenced by other forces by eroding your voting power. Then you only worsen the problem.


Because when Swedish politicians push for stupid laws they can be revoked while campaigning for it. The politicians will care, because the politicians are the ones who risk not getting elected if they ignore the issue. If the EU decides on a directive that people don't like, then the only way to get it revoked would be for Swedish people to start campaigning foreign politicians, who they cannot vote for.


It's even worse than that, because laws like this are created and pushed for by the European Commission which isn't elected and doesn't really represent the countries or the people of the EU.


How do members of the EC come into power?


The actual mechanics are complicated, a mess, and (in the case of the current President of the European Commission) made up out of whole cloth with no legal basis and used exactly once so far, but a rough summary is: through shady backroom deals we have no visibility into.


I assume these deals are ultimately made by elected heads of state though? Not that it makes this a good system of course, it’s clearly a mixed bag at best, but if the EC is ultimately appointed by individual elected governments rather than by EU fiat then the problem is thornier than just unelected representatives. Then again it’s understandable that voters probably don’t place EC appointments as a major factor in their domestic elections.

It sounds like a system ripe for cronyism and abuse, opacity, and in need of reform.


Monetary policy without a fiscal policy to give it teeth is why Greece was able to use Germany's good credit rating to get a loan they couldn't repay.

And yes I believe the EU is becoming more like a federation. How do you think it isn't?

How is the central EU government deciding everything? The diesel laws in German cities aren't an EU law. France and Germany can't pass EU laws on their own.

My last point is based on belief. I cannot fathom why leavers in the UK believe the UK can be stronger alone. Or that the economy can grow without migrant workers and immigrants. Two are ALWAYS going to be stronger than one. And the EU has what, 27 member states (excluding the UK)?


I don't know what you mean by "centralized economy" but centralized markets have their (huge) benefits. Think about how much easier it is to launch a service within all the United States of America at once compared to launching it in all of the countries in the European Union. The language barrier is a huge obstacle, no doubt, but it's far from the only one.

Another way to look at "centralization" is from the point of view of "standardization" for markets and platforms, and that has huge benefits for startups and big companies alike.


Yes. A small example from my very small world (railway).

Materials to be used on rolling stock (trains) must comply with Fire/Smoke/Toxicity standards. A few years ago these standards were only at national level, there is a French standard, a German one, etc... It was hell to demonstrate that your German-made widget could be used in a train meant to operate in UK.

In the last few years this has been harmonized in a EU-level standard, which makes much simpler and cheaper for manufacturers to market their products across the Union and for customers to integrate them in their systems.


Well, I'm looking at it, and considering how the EU basically has almost no major tech companies, I would say that the EU is not really serving its purpose. Even right now different parts of the EU are region locked into different services. Eg sometimes the Baltic states are clumped in with CIS. Add on the many additional regulations and the EU seems to be a worse place to launch a service than in most developed places in the world.


> Personally, I think it's sad. It's as if we're watching the destruction of all the national identities.

I am perfectly willing to accept that you think this is sad. Just like I am willing to accept that some people like blue color over red. But have you ever thought why you think that is sad? In some real, rational terms?


Well, I would argue that not having a centralised fiscality is the biggest EU problem at the moment.

Every country try to lower the tax for big companies to attract them, and now we have a situation where the GAFAM pay ridiculous taxes, and the citizen pay a bigger share of the pie.


> But by trying to manage the economy (which copyright is an extension of), they are essentially going down the path of ever increasing centralization.

That management is core to one of the major benefits of the EU though the free movement of goods. By necessity to have that completely free movement goods have to be produced, sold and consumed under the same set of laws. Otherwise a product produced legally in one country could be illegal in another which would start to inch back towards border checks over time as national laws diverged.


I do not think the EU surpresses national identity but I have a problem with how the decisional process is influenced by special interests in two countries.


> The issue I see with the EU, is that it's essentially centralizing all the "countries" into "states".

> It's as if we're watching the destruction of all the national identities.

You don't live in a federation, do you?


> It's as if we're watching the destruction of all the national identities.

Apart from all its faults and goals, if there's one thing the EU (the institution) is less likely to touch is national identities (Merkel "wir shaffen das" nonetheless), but usually protects it, especially in the form of national products

Oh and the "strong national identity" of the UK comes across often more as a lack of willing to modernize and adapt as just wanting to keep a national identity.


You win at right wing talking-points bingo.

The whole point of the EU is that Europe is better when it's together. There were multiple wars, involving the death of many millions, and that's just the last hundred years.

Independence is just dressed up nationalism, and all the ugly facets it is made of.


> There were multiple wars, involving the death of many millions, and that's just the last hundred years.

Of which the EU has existed for just 27 years.

For the 70 years of its existence NATO has been a strong bond and influence, with the exception of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus it has prevented violent conflict between its members. And it didn't require integration of forces; it published standards for commonality and each member nation determined the nature of its own implementation and declared its contribution to collective defence.


The road to the EU began in 1951, a mere 6 years after ww2 ended. Integration has increased more and more since then.


Pax Americana (NATO) is what is keeping Europe peaceful at the moment and not the EU. Europe had long periods of peace as well long periods of wars throughout its history.


>Independence is just dressed up nationalism, and all the ugly facets it is made of.

I'm not sure if this is your intention, but this one line screams authoritarianism to me.


> Independence is just dressed up nationalism, and all the ugly facets it is made of.

This really needs to be phrased better, because it's the argument for technocratic global soft dictatorship.


The UK was the only one vetoing a real EU military

So with them gone, expect it

Just going to have to accept that Germany is better at this game


I had no idea the copyright lobbying was so strong in Germany. We absolutely suck.


As long as France and Germany like it, that's all there is to it. Arguing will get you nowhere.


Yep, just like Germany building Nord Stream 2 to bypass another EU country at the bidding of Putin.


That's it? Less than half a page to make their argument?


The detailed argumentation is made elsewhere, in a longer format. For a declaration, I think half page is just right. Happy with my government for doing this (but very unhappy with the union).


Save your being unhappy with the union for when the MEPs don't vote this down. Until then, be outraged at the lobbyists that nudged elected governments to support this, while keeping in mind that these elected governments' heads of state are the ones that nominate the head of the EC.


I am unhappy if the civil servants and the machinery of EU keeps preparing bad proposals, even if they are torpedoed by MEPs. This seems to be a constant case of pressure to which organisations then yield at some point.

Yes, both elected and unelected officials should be better at resisting lobbying.




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