At 11pm yesterday when there was midnight in Moscow the whole of Russian part of Salaspils were celebrating 2007. Then obviously there were a lot of fireworks on midnight. My brother in law rather omenously said that he wished to see also fireworks exploding at 1am when New Year was celebrated from Warszaw to Madrid. Yes, there were sporadic leftowers of fireworks, but overall public mentality Salaspils show that we are still living in two seperate communities.
In the meantime the EU is richer by 30 mlj. souls - therefore WELCOME Romania and Bulgaria!
At least we are the biggest internal consumer market in the industral world today, and perhaps the EU shall also impose its soft policy internationally one day?
Exerting ones will upon others internationally wont be easy and for having the fame of soft power one must achieve the status of some legitimacy of hard power as well. It means that we still have some way to go the United States of Europe! One may wish that Gerrman presidency 2007 might bring some changes, aye, but not structural and we still have to wait till the French presidential elections. In the meantime there is a lot to internally, and perhaps Germany would be able to push for revised version of the Constitution pour l' Europe? Anyway, constitution shall bring tangible changes in longer term, but there is alot to do also internally in the 12 new member countries.
CONGRATULATIONS Slovenija as a member of the Euroland! It should be actually the PRIME task of governments of Eesti, Latvija and Lietuva now - to join Eurozone as soon as possible!!! Slovenia should be as a positive example and I believe that Estonian shall follow quickly. It will be interesting to see Lithuanian election outcome next year, and it has paramount importance for Latvian public of how professionally & quickly Latvian legal system will be able to determine who exactly are guilty of graft in the row of corruption cases.
In the meantime there is the burden on internal reforms also for the newcomers Bulgaria and Romania. For the civil society it wont be easy especially during first couple of years when prices will be soaring and living standard wont be able to catch up as fast as you wish. Your political elite has been scolded for ineffective fight against graft and corruption. Until you were candidate country your leaders were forced to eradicate the loopholes of the judicial system that foster corruption by the unique pressure of europeanization. Now, you are members of the club and you must be the ones who excert that pressure. If your civil societies wont do it, you will be mired by miraculous macroeconomic stability, growing alianation of ever emigarting population and fatter cats sitting in offices in Sofia and Bucuresti. Good luck fellow Europeans in your personal and collective struggles for plainer playfield!