Saturday, January 08, 2005

A champion idea

Someone one clearly hasn't got the message on the Washington Times, its latest piece starting: "Now that the European superstate is a reality…". Don't they know they're not supposed to use the "S" word?

Anyhow, with the superstate on its way, says the Times, some Europeans are beginning to dream bold corporate dreams, American style. This is, apparently, what Gunter Verheugen, the EU industry commissioner, is telling Le Monde. And, to pave the pay, competition law must be tailored to allow the corporate giants to come into being.

Needless to say, this exercise in European corporatism is heavily disguised by yet another of those loathsome euphemisms. Corporate – us? Non. Mon Dieu – we have "European champions".

The Washington Times is a little less kind in its choice of title, labelling these wannabe corporate giants as "uber-companies", a little close to the bone perhaps, but it does suggest that they could replace the pan-European bureaucracy? Little chance of that, sport. These parasites feed off each other.

Actually, the WT agrees. The idea that the bureaucracy might go is dismissed as "an idle thought." Of course it is – the WT explains: "Monolithic European bureaucracy has become a matter of culture," it says. And don't we know it!

Still, the WT likes Verheugen's proposition. It would put Europe more in line with US antitrust regulation and increase the union's corporate competitiveness. But it misses the irony. To compete with the despised Americans, the EU must become more American. Now that's a champion idea.

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