VILNIUS - Torn by disagreements on foreign and economic policy, the European Union has found itself united by a rising anti-American mindset, lawmaker Algirdas Paleckis stated this week.
"It is a paradox and a sad thing, but we have to admit that the anti-American attitude is probably what unites the European people most at the present time. It is discomforting that most Germans and Slovaks prefer Vladimir Putin as a politician over George Bush," Paleckis said March 21. "Such trends are disquieting."
In his opinion, the EU has three options 's to oppose the U.S.A., to go with the flow and do nothing, or to support Washing-ton by strengthening trans-Atlantic relations.
"This [latter] would be the wisest choice. The crumbling trans-Atlantic bridge has to be repaired fast. After all, the EU and the U.S.A. are both united by the same democratic values," Paleckis, a member of Parlia-ment's foreign affairs committee, said.
As a strong traditional ally of the United States, Baltic politicians have tried to bridge the widening gap between Washington and several West European countries. After prominent European philosophers Jurgen Habermas and Jacques Derrida wrote a paper last year that Europe's unifying philosophy was anti-Americanism, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, a former foreign minister of Estonia (and currently an MEP), penned a lengthy response to the affect that this was the last thing that should unite Europe.
"Willy-nilly, the EU and the U.S.A. will have to approach one another. The EU will have to swallow the pill and give way to the U.S. superpower, and the U.S.A. will have to take a good look around and notice its strategic partner 's the EU 's more often," he accentuated.
The EU is currently torn by disagreement on ties with the United States, Russia, China and East and Central European countries, said Paleckis, who is a Lithuanian representative to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. The EU is also split on the level of economic regulation, with the most recent example being France, Belgium and Germany's opposition to the EU's directive on services aimed at liberalizing member state provisions.
Rich EU members, objecting to the abovementioned liberalization, fear they will be invaded by cheap service-providers in the East. In Paleckis' opinion, this dispute poses a threat to the referendum on the EU Constitutional Treaty scheduled to take place in France in May.
If the referendum fails, plans to have the constitution in force by 2006 will certainly be postponed.
The MP admitted that euroskeptics were gaining support in Great Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, France, and that no country was committed to fight for the EU and assume a leading position.