Saturday, June 19, 2010

The United States of Europe?

The Europe Union is often - wrongly - understood by Americans as the equivalent of the United-States (at least in its infancy).

Here's a good European perspective as to why the comparison does not stand, in this week's The Economist .

Americans who compare their two centuries of union to the six decades of European integration may think they are paying Europe a compliment. But it often comes across as condescension. Yes, it took America a while to form a federal government and issue a common currency, and America did fight a civil war. But European differences, whether of language, religion or history, go back millennia. Europe’s conflicts were not civil wars.

On numerous measures, Europe is more diverse than America.

Per-capita wealth in Mississippi, the poorest state, is almost two thirds the national average. But the poorest EU member, Bulgaria, stands at 38% of the union average.

Mississippi is also the most religious state: folks there are three times more likely to go to church weekly than in Vermont (the most secular state). Well, three quarters of Maltese and two thirds of Poles go to church once a week: just 3% of Danes do the same.

Mississippians are less likely than Californians to think global warming is a “very serious” problem, by 56% to 73%. Try Estonia, where just 42% think climate change is “very serious”, compared to 84% of Greeks.

Of course, there might be other differences too ...... ;-)

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