The Duck of Minerva

The Duck Quacks at Twilight

Nein! The EU is not the Fourth Reich!

November 19, 2011

Why would anyone even suggest such a thing?

THE [Irish] GOVERNMENT has complained to the European Commission over the release in Germany of a document disclosing confidential details about new taxes to be introduced in Ireland over the next two years. In a deeply embarrassing development the document – identifying austerity measures of €3.8 billion in next month’s budget and €3.5 billion in budget 2013 – was made public after being shown to the finance committee of the German Bundestag yesterday. The document, seen by The Irish Times , confirms the Government plans to raise VAT by 2 percentage points to 23 per cent, which would generate €670 million. Next month’s budget would also contain a €100 a year household charge, yielding €160 million, it says.

I find this particularly interesting, given that I spent last Monday at a conference entitled “The Decline of the European Empire.” In my presentation, I argued that it doesn’t make a ton of sense to talk about the EU as an “empire,” except — and this is a pretty important except — when governments in the periphery are reduced to subalterns implementing policies preferred by Europe’s polycentric (albeit German-inflected) core. Via Henry Farrell.

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Daniel H. Nexon is a Professor at Georgetown University, with a joint appointment in the Department of Government and the School of Foreign Service. His academic work focuses on international-relations theory, power politics, empires and hegemony, and international order. He has also written on the relationship between popular culture and world politics.