Final Word from Wednesday, June 1, 2005

Polish plumbers and, to a lesser extent, Czech IBM workers were to blame (or thank) for the No vote in France. Polish plumbers, because they represented the threat of low-wage workers coming in from the East. Employees of IBM CR, because they represented the "delocalization" to the East of even high-tech jobs. Europe's entire post-1989 history has been a rapid rebalancing of economic, military and political power. Those pushing for greater EU integration have argued that the net gain to both ends of Europe will positive. Even if a shift East means momentary hardships at home, they've argue, the final outcome will be better for all. The French No raises the ominous question of what if they've been wrong? What if the net result of all this rebalancing is negative? It was Mirek Topolánek who said Europe shows signs of a civilization on the verge of extinction. [Czech Republic European Union referendum industry wages Poland]


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