Yesterday was the first anniversary of the entry of ten new states into the EU. It was an anniversary generally celebrated amidst a notable lack of champagne and fireworks. Perhaps we are living in more discrete and austere times. Nonetheless there have been articles here and there in the press, amongst them the one in the Economist which I allude to in the title.
The Economist quote actually comes from one of the founding fathers of modern medicine – the second century Greek physician Galen – and the full quote is “Triste est omne animal post coitum” (no prizes for guessing the use to which the Economist puts this idea in the context of the recent enlargement, although if any of our commentators feels moved to provide anecdotal testimony on the soundness of Galen’s original idea, then please don’t let me stand in your way).
The article is provocatively entitled “Now that we are all bundled inside, let’s shut the door“, and is a survey of all the various kinds of ambivalences and ambiguities which can now be found among the 25 member states about the enlargement process in general. An interesting if not profoundly novel assessment of the state of play. Perhaps the most surprising discovery for me was the level of tension which currently seems to exist along the Brussels/Bucharest axis.
Perhaps a more balanced assessment can be found in today’s EU observer. Unusually for me I find myself entirely in agreement with the sentiments expressed by European Commission President Jos? Manuel Barroso who is quoted as saying that the anniversary “is a happy event for all Europeans” calling the enlargement “a reunification of not only nations and peoples but also of cultures”.