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Cogs can think.

I'm a mere, tiny, insignificant cog in a whole clockwork of stupidity.
The little cog that wanted to break free, I am.

Eugenia, about the EU...

Okay, this post is somewhat directly addressed to Eugenia.

Eugenia, even though you're an outsider (living in the US and all), you have always profiled yourself as a sort of proponent of the European Union. Now, as is no surprise, I'm not a proponent. In the recent referendum about the European Constitution, I voted 'no', and so did 64% of my fellow countrymen and women.

I have always found it hard to exactly explain why I'm against the EU in its current form. Now, today, I got a really good and simple example of how the EU is influencing far too many things in its member states. It has to do with housing.

In the Netherlands, we have a system of 'Housing Corporations' (*not* in the evil MS/Google/etc. sense). These housing corporations, 500 of them, each control the renting of most houses in specific areas; ie. the Housing Corporation Schagen takes care of most of the rental homes in the area of Schagen, Harenkarspel (where I live), etc. Now, together, all 500 of them, they have 2.4 million rental homes. These corporations are semi-state owned. They assign houses to people/families, using a point system (details vary per corp.), which comes down to the longer you're on their list AND the more active you search, the sooner you'll get a house. Other factors, like age, family size, income, etc. also weigh in.

So basically, these corp. are an instrument of the government to make sure that everyone stands an equal chance of getting a rental home. That is very nescesary here, as housing is extremely expensive, and space is very, very limited (being on of the most densily populated countries in the world and all). Being partially state-owned, the state can make sure they don't drastically raise prices and stuff.

As you can see, this is a very decent system, aimed at providing each citizen with an equal shot at getting a rental house. This way we Dutch also ensure we don't get ghettos, like you see a lot in other countries. There is now way of telling if a street only is inhabited by poor or rich people (streets with rental homes that is, my parents for instance own their own house). The corporations can spread their houses equally among wealthy and less wealthy people, putting a stop to segregation.

And now the EU comes in. Today, a leaked official letter from Brussels (where the EU is seated) to The Hague (governmnental capitol of the Netherlands) was published, written by Neelie Kroes, the woman responsible for Competition. This letter was a threat from the EU, about our housing system. What's the problem? Well, as I said, these corp. are supported by the state, financially. This is needed so that the housing corp. do not have to strive for profit; very important if you want to rent out less expensive houses too. This is what the EU does not like. This, according to the EU, creates unfair competition. Unfair competition with private home owners who rent out their houses (real-estate brokers, in English, right?). So, the EU wants us to overhaul our system and stop any form of state influence.

That's not right, as you can easily see: private home owners have no interest in keeping prices low, and/or building/renting out cheaper homes. The state corp. do! Other than that, housing has been a hot issue in my country for over 60 years, and it also falls under the category of things in which the EU is supposed to have no say.

And this is where a little local politics come into play. The woman repsonsible for Competition, Neelie Kroes, is of the Dutch political party VVD. And those real-estate owners, which party do they for 95% belong to? Exactly, the VVD.

There you have it. That's how the EU works. This is just an example out of a dozens of these sorts of issues each year. You now get a little bit why we Dutch voted 'no'?
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6:57 PM, by Blogger Andrew Youll

In England people who rent out their homes are called "Landlords", here Real-Estate Brokers are called "Estate Agents" and actually sell houses for other people.

In UK, Town Councils, own housing stock usually about 30%+ of homes in a town are Council owned, more than 50% of homes at some time or another will have been council owned, people rent houses off of the council, and after a certain period of time (IIRC 15yrs, yes its a long time but you get the house at a huge discount usually about a 60% discount of actual value of the house) earn "The Right to Buy" only Flats and Bungalows (1 Floored Houses) are excluded from "The Right to Buy"    



8:00 PM, by Anonymous Eugenia

Thom, there is one thing you don't seem to want to understand. When there are new unions and cooperations, ALL countries will have to give part of their "special" laws or special culture. It's a price that everyone will have to pay. Greeks alike, French alike, Dutch alike.

For your country, you might not like EU because it might take more away from you from what it will be able to give you, but for MY country, EU is a *blessing*. Without the EU's financial help Greece would have been like Albania today (and yes, Albania is pretty bad for a country that's in Europe).

And besides this, I am for globalization, 100%. I am not romantic when it comes to shauvinism. I despise shauvinism. I want ONE planet, ONE country, ONE HUMAN SOUL. I want PEACE. This is why I like EU. Because I see it as a first important part of such a step.

No doubt, EU will make mistakes, like any other local government does. But I am willing to look the other way for some of them if they manage to bring people together at the long last.

You are free to dislike Nethernland's involvement with EU, but you would be very bold to say that EU is "inheritely bad", because as I said, EU has saved another country. Mine.    



8:25 PM, by Blogger Andrew Youll

Peace, is an ideal many would like to see, I personally do not believe world peace will ever occur due to human nature, we are a territorial spieces, in fact for such a physically inferior Primate (Chimpanzee's, Gorilla's and most monkeys are physically superior to us) we are extremely violent. Fighting over mates (opposite sex not as in friends), fighting over possessions (Territory), fighting over beliefs.. you wont find a chimpanzee attacking another chimpanzee because he doesnt agree with the type of tree the other chimp likes to sleep in.    



8:43 PM, by Blogger Thom Holwerda

The EU "saved" countries like Greece, Spain and Ireland by globally making them pay less and recieve more. That is a good thing, and I'm all for that. I'm all for spreading the wealth equally among EU members.

As I said, I'm against the EU in its current form.

The EU today puts far too many rules on its member states. It tries to involve itself in all sorts of matters that are of no benefit to anyone. What benefit does Greece have when we fcuk up our housing system? What benefit will any country have over this? How will someone benefit from us Dutch having to overhaul a proven system (and that is just one of many examples).

The crucial part in this entry was the involvement of local politics. The EU might sound "European", but is in fact nothing more than a "every man for himself" organization-- people who are supposed to represent the cause of all EU inhabitants, actually only are involved in matters that benefir their own voters (as in the case described).

For your country, you might not like EU because it might take more away from you from what it will be able to give you.

Again, I have no problems with paying a little more tax in order to support the people in eastern Europe. This is not a money issue. This is an issue of where you must draw the line. The EU is supposed to represent the cause of *all* Europeans-- not just of those that happen to be in a high person's voting public.

You do not seem to be known with cases of a lot of farmers in eastern Europe losing their jobs because they do not have the money to follow the strict EU rules on agriculture. This has nothing to do with money; it has to do with people up in Brussels creating a huge bureaucratic machine, fed by rules and regulations that do not benefit a single person inside the EU.

You seem to think that this is somehow a money issue; that I'm not willing to pay more taxes to support other people. That is definitely not the case. It's a mistake our politicians have made too; they are stuck on the thought that we Dutch and the French have voted no because we pay too much. That is not true. I voted no because the EU is hard on its way to make life impossible due to rules and regulations, and not just here, but in any member state. You cannot create rules that apply to AND a farmer in Ireland, AND a farmer in Greece, AND a farmer in Spain, AND a farmer in Italy, etc. That is impossible, because the variables are in no way consistent.

It's no money issue. We here have enough money (however, also that doesn't go for everyone here. We have poor people here too; people that can barely survive. How should I explain to them that they have to pay more taxes becuase people in Poland need it?).

----

Anyway, the EU should do what it has proven to do best: to spread wealth equally among member states. That can be done without a huge bureaucratic machine that tells us how high our speed bumps must be. Because those are the sorts of rules we have to deal with these days.    



8:50 PM, by Blogger Thom Holwerda

Andrew,

Support open trees and join the Free Tree Foundation! Read the General Tree License!

Sorry, couldn't resist :).    



10:10 PM, by Blogger Andrew Youll

we talking GTL 1.0 or 2.0? because 2.0 stops me from sleeping in more than 1 tree at a time lol    



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