Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Cheese-eating vacation monkeys

We did it last week, but who could resist Jeremy Slater's title on his piece over at Tech Central Station on Wim Kok’s "high level group" reporting on the Lisbon Agenda's progress - or lack thereof.

Much trailed, and very much leaked, hence our report, the official report is actually due to be published tomorrow but, as Slater writes, "to anyone who had hopes for an economic revival for Europe it has made depressing and enervating reading."

In laying out the failure of the EU to come close to the targets which the leaders of Europe set themselves in 2000, Kok certainly does not hold back any punches. His report claims, "What is at risk ... is nothing less than the sustainability of the society Europe has built and to that extent, the viability of its civilisation."

The full piece can be read from the link above, and it is worth the visit to get the full flavour of Slater’s work.

I take issue with his conclusion though, that “we Europeans” will still suffer the consequences of sluggish economies, but be cushioned by a social system that encourages only a small part of the population to work while the rest sit around with nothing to do. As the joke goes, "who is this 'we', white man?" But I like his pay-off: "If that is the case then we truly will become nothing better than cheese eating vacation monkeys."

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