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Europe and the European Union





corridor_writers
I am originally from the USA, but have spent a lot of time abroad working n Europe. My job has taken me to Sweden, France, England and Germany. I must say that there are a lot of things that appeal to me regarding the way they do things in Europe, though one might say that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Smile

Some of these things are:
- The European Union (or EU for short). Having a passport from one of the EU nations instantly allows you to travel, work, and (in most cases) live in any of the other EU nations.
- Mandatory second language. It simply amazes me that the further north you go in Europe, the better the English. England requires a second language (French, German, etc.) in their schools, but non-English speaking countries like Germany and Sweden require English as a second language. So, if you start in Spain, their English is not so good. France is probably worse (they are a bit over-protective of their language.) But as you move North, the English gets better and better. Most Germans speak great English, and most Swedes speak better English than most American’s I know.

So…..that opens up this thread. What do you think about Europe and the EU?
LimpFish
I'm swedish and I must start off by thanking you very much for the compliments on mine and my countrymen's english skills! Smile I also must say that I have the same experience regarding the english skills in Europe varying depending on how far north you are. I've been to Spain myself and had kind of a hard time making myself understood.

I recently spend 7 months in Hawaii, and must say that as a EU-citizen, I also enjoy a lot of things in the US. For one thing, EVERYthing is so much cheaper over there, and you guys hardly pay ANYthing in taxes!

Personally I think the ultimate country would be one taking the best of both the EU and the US! Smile
Shin
Western European are quite proud of their own languages. Apart the Germany and Holland because their language share the same root of English, it's called Germanic, I think.
Soulfire
The EU reminds me of an empire almost. As each nation joins, they are stripped of their sovereignty.

Soon, the EU will be just one country - and the former countries who made it up would act as states, similar to the federal system we have in place in the United States.

That, or, the U.S. will join the EU (Lol!)
nopaniers
I'm Aussie, and I also like the EU, but for purely selfish reasons.

It's really good to be able to travel around and use on currency. And it's a currency that makes sense too - the Euro. It's the right value, much better than remembering how much a Lira was, and how many Schillings there are in one Deutsch Mark.

I totally agree with corridor_writers. Some Europeans speak English better than some native speakers that I know. I think it's a very good thing to speak a second language.
bogger
@ soulfire:

Not quite, Ireland's joining of the E.U. has helped us REGAIN our sovereignty. The economic advantages and cultural advantages of no longer being under England's shadow (no offence intended).

In fact, The European Union has helped regions such as Scotland, Basque, Catalonia push for independence, without worrying the large companies of being cut off from a market!

@nopaniers: Speaking 2 languages stops you form going senile!
(I can't find the link, though)
mathiaus
bogger wrote:
@ soulfire:

Not quite, Ireland's joining of the E.U. has helped us REGAIN our sovereignty. The economic advantages and cultural advantages of no longer being under England's shadow (no offence intended).

In fact, The European Union has helped regions such as Scotland, Basque, Catalonia push for independence, without worrying the large companies of being cut off from a market!


No offence to you, but have you never heard of the EU constitution? Or the renamed and slightly stripped down treaty which WILL be ratified (unfortunately)? Soulfire is 100% right about what will happen. The EU already makes laws which all members must add to their own laws. For example, by you having regained your sovereignty, you have LOST your currency and now use the euro. How can things like that be happening yet you say the opposite is happening?




corridor_writers wrote:
France is probably worse (they are a bit over-protective of their language.)

I hate the French but you are also wrong. They may well be over protective, but their English is great. They start learning English much younger than we in the UK start learning French or German.
corridor_writers
LimpFish wrote:
I'm swedish and I must start off by thanking you very much for the compliments on mine and my countrymen's english skills! Smile I also must say that I have the same experience regarding the english skills in Europe varying depending on how far north you are. I've been to Spain myself and had kind of a hard time making myself understood.

I recently spend 7 months in Hawaii, and must say that as a EU-citizen, I also enjoy a lot of things in the US. For one thing, EVERYthing is so much cheaper over there, and you guys hardly pay ANYthing in taxes!

Personally I think the ultimate country would be one taking the best of both the EU and the US! Smile


Lol – not everyone is cheaper, and though I do admit the taxes in America are less, we also do not share the benefits often gained by the high taxes in some European countries (things like socialized medicine and job security.)

I should clarify that last bit. One of my biggest gripes about where I am now is there is NO job security. The employers here work under what is called a ‘right to work’ clause which basically says that they can sack you at any time, for any reason, and the law will back them up on it. There is no job contract or other stipulation that says you have any right to your job. While I see how this would benefit employers, as an employee it adds to the levels of stress one has – especially when working for a company that enjoys the occasional downsizing. Smile

Soulfire wrote:
The EU reminds me of an empire almost. As each nation joins, they are stripped of their sovereignty.

Soon, the EU will be just one country - and the former countries who made it up would act as states, similar to the federal system we have in place in the United States.

That, or, the U.S. will join the EU (Lol!)


I would not say that the nations are stripped of thier sovereignty, though you are correct that there are some rather radical changes that come (or will come) to certain nations. Overall though, I don't see Europe ever becoming the "melting pot" that America has.

Though I suppose only time will prove me right....or wrong. Smile It would certainly put an interesting ‘spin’ on the way we view the world today.

As for America joining the EU I would say no way, though I would also have to follow this by saying that if the EU ever becomes one ‘empire’ as you have described then the next step would be for the EU and America to start a new union that would include them both and more. Smile

Kind of reminds me of the whole “New World Order” thing…
KellaDayne
i'm studying in Germany now (came from Russia) and the whole organisation of European Union makes me wondering, how the hell (sorry) they've made it so good! lol - just the opinion of a man from Russia )))
i also love it, how you can move from country to country havein only one Shangen Visa - that's cool and would be even greater, if it was so easy for me to get one )) but i finaly got and now can travel much and interesting, which for i can't stop feeling myself happy ))
speaking about France..... i visited it onley for one day - the town named Strasburg, which is situated just near to the border to Germany. i was shocket to know, that a shop assistant in the suvenier store didn't speak any other language, but French. as i was with my freinds from other countries, we've tryed to speak to him in German, English, Portugiese, Spanisch and even Italien - nothing helped! how come, that in suvenier store the shop assistant can't speak foreighn languages??? that was really funny, but we left the store without buying anything - good lesson to him ))
tijn01
I love Europe and I love the EU.... I think the EU is the beginning of the world community that we will all peacefully and happily join one day!
I love that Europeans are proud of their countries while accepting all the differences around them and learning English for all of us stupid Anglophones who didn't listen in French class!
I hope all the countries keep their individuality while being a huge union like they have so far!
helsinkimay2007-1
The European model is changing rapidly with the expansion to the East, doubling the number of countries. These countries are extremely poor in comparison. So governance will be complex and also the culture mix. This could lead to growing tensions and resentment.
LimpFish
yeah, the introduction of the eastern countries already causes lots of problems... I'm not sure it's such a great idea really... but who knows, I hope I'm wrong! Smile

Im happy though that Sweden still doesnt have the Euro! I think it has it's charm to go to other countries and use their local currency! One of the things with traveling I like, makes you feel like you're NOT at home Smile
b4r4t
The best thing to be in EU is ... no VISA's or such of thing Smile You may ravel where You want ...

I'm from Poland and thanks to EU our dumb president and his goverment can't do whatever he want ... there is always European Tribunal ... and if something goes wrong I can always escape from Poland Smile

About Euro curracy thing ... for my country ... now - impossible ... becouse then our normal pension will be ... ~600E / month ... (but lot of ppl half of this stake) ... but maybe on EURO 2012 ... who knows ... but we have to exchange our two potatos to normal president and prime minister :]

Maybe that what i wrote doesn't sound patriotic... but I like my country :] Nice place where the funniest TV Station is TVN24 (something like BBC News) Smile
stan
Yea, I can confirm that the norther Laughing you go the better the english people speak. I went to Switz for winter vacation back in 05 and I noticed a lot of people around speak english rather well and then I went to Italia, Rome, not a lot of people there speak english so I have problems communicating around town. I noticed that the italian in Rome were especially meaner Laughing they speak and do thing really fast. So when we went to a food place to order some pizza, they were rushing us when we were just looking at their menu. But maybe we were there at a bad timing or something. I also when to Finland and some other places. I think English is their main language there as I have never heard people speak any other language.
LimpFish
stan: I can inform you that Finland certainly do NOT have english as the main language of their country Laughing They have finnish and swedish as official languages of their country. They do study english in school though.

Actually, us swedes, being the "brother country" of the finns, usually tease the finlanders about their heavy finnish accent and bad english. Finnish people have a little harder speaking finnish than swedes, probably because the finnish language is very different from english. Swedish on the contrary is pretty similar.
corridor_writers
helsinkimay2007-1 wrote:
The European model is changing rapidly with the expansion to the East, doubling the number of countries. These countries are extremely poor in comparison. So governance will be complex and also the culture mix. This could lead to growing tensions and resentment.


I am not familiar with the EU’s expansion to the East. Can somebody clarify this for me? Are you talking about Eastern Europe countries like Turkey? Or further East than that?

Moving on…. Smile

stan wrote:
… I also when to Finland and some other places. I think English is their main language there as I have never heard people speak any other language….


I have to laugh here too. Not because your wrong, but because as a foreigner visiting these countries this is actually how it appears (for me as well!). I think the Finn’s and Swedes know when your not ‘native’, and so most shops and stores will speak English for you. This is especially true in the more ‘touristy’ areas.

LimpFish wrote:
stan: I can inform you that Finland certainly do NOT have english as the main language of their country Laughing They have finnish and swedish as official languages of their country. They do study english in school though.
….
.

Which comes back to my original comment that Swedes often speak better English than the native English speakers. Smile It’s easy to see how Stan can make the assumption he did.
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