Thursday, March 24, 2005

Some are more equal than others.

EU: Papers unhappy with France and Germany getting their way on the stability pact and dropping the deregulation of worker movement thru the EU.

"German papers lash out at European Union leaders for their spinless retraction of monetary and service sector laws. Europe's high-tax social models clearly aren't working, commentators say, yet leaders seem intent on sticking with them. Why?

Germany on Thursday reverberated with news from the European Union summit. Most opinions, however, oozed anger and frustration, after EU leaders gleefully announced that they were backpedaling on laws designed to make it easier for people from various EU nations to move about and find work. Instead of deregulating and uniting, the EU more deeply entrenched itself in its high-tax social model by insisting it would not loosen the laws in its services sector to allow more cross border competition. The decision was made largely to appease German and particularly French voters who fear such deregulation would allow cheap laborers from Eastern Europe to sweep in and steal their jobs. The idea is that the laborers would be paying lower taxes in their home countries and therefore could afford to undercut the higher-taxed French and Germans. Leaders also agreed to weaken the fiscal rules underpinning the euro, known as the growth and stability pact, largely because euro biggies like Germany and France have had trouble sticking to it. To set the tone of the day, the left-leaning Berliner Zeitung features a large comic at the top of its editorial page showing EU leaders trying to blow up the EU hot air balloon. The tattered and partly patched fabric lies on the ground as various leaders get big-cheeked trying vainly to fill it. Meanwhile, high in the sky, the US and China balloons float peacefully by."

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