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Maciamo
01-12-05, 09:44
This question may be more difficult than it first appears. Some people argue that the EU is a country, while for others it isn't. If we believe the definition of international law, Scotland is not a country (although it used to be and has its own parliament and cultural identity), but Pitcairn islands (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pitcairn), with 48 citizens, is one - although not a sovereign nation. The Vatican state is apparently a sovereign nation though, as it has a seat as observer (like Switzerland) at the United Nations.

Tiny countries without their own currency, army, and often without universities, like Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and Liechstenstein, are all UN members and sovereign states. Yet, Taiwan, with everything one could wish for to be considered a sovereign state, is not considered so by the UN. Hong Kong, now an undisputed part of China, is still considered as a country in many ways (e.g. for visas, currency, etc.). The EU, which also has its own visas, special citizenship, currency, flag, parliament, courts, ambassadors, etc. is rarely considered as a country (even non-sovereign), which baffles me.

So my question is, what does it take to be called a country ? It is clearly not about sovereignty, as less than 200 of the world's 243 recognised countries (the EU is not one of them) are sovereign countries. It is obviously not about culture, language or ethnicity, otherwise the USA would not be a country at all. It is not about the capacity of a group of people on a defined land to to defend itself, otherwise, the Vatican would not qualify, without army or police. It is not about having a head of state, otherwise Andorra would not qualify, having the French president and Spnish bishop of La Seu d'Urgell as heads of state - and none among Andorrians. It's not about having a parliament or courts of justice, as authocratic states (including the Vatican) wouldn't be countries. It's clearly not about having a unique currency.

So what is it ? If it is about being recognised by other countries, then Taiwan; Cyprus, Palestine, Israel, etc. are not countries, but Hong Kong, Greenland; the Faroe Islands, Jersey, Guernesey, Aruba, French Polynesia, etc. all are countries (although dependent ones).

The term "sovereign state" has been defined in the Article 1 of the Montevideo Convention from 1933. According to the Convention, a sovereign state should possess the following qualifications: (a) a permanent population, (b) a defined territory, (c) government, and (d) capacity to enter into relations with the other states.

The case of the European Union

According to this definition, the EU not only qualifies as a country, but a sovereign one. It has everything mentioned. It has its own ministers/secretaries (called commisioners), its own ambassadors (e.g. the EU embassy to Japan in Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo (http://jpn.cec.eu.int/home/index_en.php)), its own parliament, laws, taxation, education programmes and subsidies (e.g. Erasmus Programme), its own flag, anthem, currency (at least in the Euro-zone), visas (at least in the Schengen zone), citizenship, passports (all EU states now have the same red passports with European Union mentioned above the country name), driving licences (all the same design and valid EU-wide), companies (Societas Europaea (http://www.eupedia.com/forum/showthread.php?t=19428)), etc. I can't think of anything that the EU does not have to qualify as a country.

I think it is just that people worldwide are either reluctant to recognise it as such. I believe that many people have problems with the concept of a two-level sovereign country. The federal system is not that old. The USA was maybe the first modern country to become a federal nation, a bit more than 200 years ago. Most of today's federal countries (Germany, Belgium, Spain, India, Brazil, Australia, United Emirates...) only became so in the 20th century. A federal country has different parliaments and governments in each state, but remain a single entity regarding citizenships (passports, visas...), foreign affairs, and defence. There has never been a case of dual sovereignty country before the EU. The EU is like a supra-sovereign state, in the sense that it does have its own citizenships, visas and foreign relations. There isn't so to say an EU army or police, but there are treaties binding each member states to protect each others, and cooperate in matters of police (Europol (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Europol)). In that way, it is also more a country than the Vatican, San Marino or Andorra. The EU is history's first case of non-uniformous supranational sovereign state. I say "non-uniformous" as its visa and currency policies have not yet been adopted by all member states (although all Western Contintental Europe has).

My questions for discussion are :

1) What are the requirements to qualify as "country" ?

2) What are the requirements to qualify as "sovereign state" ?

3) In what way does the EU not match these requirements (that the Vatican, Andorra or San Marino do) ?

Index
01-12-05, 12:46
EU member states do not really fall under the control of the European Commission in the way that states are controlled by an executive body. Moreover, sovereign states usually have a foreign policy, which distinguishes it from the semi-independent states or federation states that may fall under it. The CFSP does not over ride the foreign policies of member states-they are able to pursue their own diplomatic relationships. I'd say these are a couple of significant ways in which the EU differs from a sovereign state.

By the way, country to me seems to be an indistinct term used in general situations or by laymen. States or nations (or nation-states) seem to be more commonly used technical terms.

I agree with you thought that the EU blurs the distinctions. It has been said that the nation-state was born in Europe and will die there.

Maciamo
01-12-05, 13:38
EU member states do not really fall under the control of the European Commission in the way that states are controlled by an executive body.

They do, but not for exactly the same competencies as nation-states. It is undeniable that the laws/directives or decisions of the EU commission have an effect on people living in the EU. Just look at the recent decision to introduce stricter norms for chemical products in all the EU, or the blacklist of airlines for all the EU.


Moreover, sovereign states usually have a foreign policy, which distinguishes it from the semi-independent states or federation states that may fall under it.

The EU does have a foreign policy on some issues. But so do some states, like Flanders and Wallonia in Belgium. Each level (EU, national, federal state) has a different competency and field of action though (i.e. a trade treaty between Flanders and Japan does not affect the rest of Belgium or the EU).


By the way, country to me seems to be an indistinct term used in general situations or by laymen. States or nations (or nation-states) seem to be more commonly used technical terms.

Well, "state" has a different meaning of country. The US has 50 states, some territories (Guam, Puerto Rico...), but the whole is the country. It's undeniable that the EU is a state, as it has an administration, parliament, civil servants, etc. What I wanted to know is whether the EU, or any separate EU member state can be called "country". Maybe the country is partly the EU, partly the nation-state, and partly the federal state in which one lives in a federal "country". I think we just need a new term instead of "federal country" for the EU, as it is a unique system, so far. Belgium already has a dual federal system (2 types of states with different competencies, justaposing each others), which is also unique worldwide. What about calling the EU a "multination state" instead of "nation state" ?

Index
02-12-05, 10:36
It's undeniable that the EU is a state, as it has an administration, parliament, civil servants, etc.
The EU is not recognised diplomatically as a sovereign state and is not capable of diplomatic relations with other states (obviously except for EU member states), and is therefore arguably not a state.


They do, but not for exactly the same competencies as nation-states. It is undeniable that the laws/directives or decisions of the EU commission have an effect on people living in the EU. Just look at the recent decision to introduce stricter norms for chemical products in all the EU, or the blacklist of airlines for all the EU.


Treaties or agreements passed by the Commission are only valid if the member states agree to them in the first place (which is UNLIKE like the situation with a traditional government and the citizens of a state), and they are often not binding. Moreover the EU does not have the power to over-ride the laws of member states and therefore cannot affect "EU citizens" directly- such changes or "laws" are only possible with the agreement of the member states. Again this is unlike the relationship between a traditional state government and its citizens.

Moreover just because EU norms or recommendations as the ones you mentioned affect people's behaviour does not mean the EU is a state. States are not the only entities that have the power to affect behaviour.


The EU does have a foreign policy on some issues. But so do some states, like Flanders and Wallonia in Belgium. Each level (EU, national, federal state) has a different competency and field of action though (i.e. a trade treaty between Flanders and Japan does not affect the rest of Belgium or the EU).

Some is unfortunately not enough because (a) it is not unified and (b) member states can have completely opposite foreign policy positions (eg. the differences in policy on Iraq). It doesn't make sense to talk about the EU being a state when its members represent themselves in foreign relations, and foreign policy positions can be drastically opposed. For the same reasons it is innacurate to say that the EU is a federation of states, since this would require further integration, established norms for delegation of responsibilities (eg. which competencies are taken care of by member states and which by the EU), and a comprehensive, common foreign policy.


What about calling the EU a "multination state" instead of "nation state" ?
Maybe one day. At the moment I'd still say it is a unique form of intergovernmental organisation.

Maciamo
02-12-05, 17:12
Some is unfortunately not enough because (a) it is not unified and (b) member states can have completely opposite foreign policy positions (eg. the differences in policy on Iraq). It doesn't make sense to talk about the EU being a state when its members represent themselves in foreign relations, and foreign policy positions can be drastically opposed. For the same reasons it is innacurate to say that the EU is a federation of states, since this would require further integration, established norms for delegation of responsibilities (eg. which competencies are taken care of by member states and which by the EU), and a comprehensive, common foreign policy.

The EU Constitution, if passed, will create a position of EU Foreign Minister and EU President. In fact, these are only new in name, as there is already the president of the Commission and Foreign Affairs Commissioner. As for disagreement between member states, it's a quite ridiculous point as I don't know a single country where all politicians always agree on everything. Very often, there are people with the same opinion in every country. It is mostly the proportion that is different, and more importantly, what the head of state of some ministers at one given time think. When politicians change, opinions change too. What's the difference between an argument between ministers in France or the UK or the USA, and an argument between EU commissioners ?

Then, don't forget that state has a wide meaning. The USA is a state, but California or Texas are also states. It doesn't require to have sovereignty, a foreign policy, or the full power over all laws of the territory in question to be a state. Each US state has its own laws, yet there are also nation-wide laws. It's the same in Europe. Belgium is an interesting case, as there are already 3 levels of state instead of 2 in other federal countries. I learned in European & Constitutional Law at university that the EU is only a fourth level of state. So depending on the issue, decisions will be taken at the EU parliament, Belgian parliament, Flemish/Walloon/Brussels parliament or Flemish/French-/German- community parliament. Every territory that has a parliament, administration and/or government is a state. And there can be several states juxtaposing each others on a same territory.

A nation-state usually requires a common language and culture. So France or Germany are nation-states, but the UK may not be one (England, Wales and Scotland are). A country is the outer borders of the highest level state. In the case of the EU, because EU laws do not overrule national laws, it is either member states (e.g. the UK), nation-states (e.g. England), or the whole EU. I guess it depends on one's point of view and the issues discussed (whether cultural, political, economic...).

Well, this is how I see it...

Kintaro
03-12-05, 04:21
Great Question...

I think the only reason the EU is not considered a country because the union is very decentralized and correct me if I'm wrong, but not a majorly large tax grabber (25 % or more).

The only reason Quebec is not a country is the fact that they haven't won a referendum yet. People would view Canada as a super-entity, but no longer one that power-trips on the provinces. Quebec is willing to take care of everything a sovereign state would in the victory of a YES.

And Taiwan is probably similar to Quebec with the sole exception that they have somebody willing to invade if they voted for independence.

Maciamo
03-12-05, 08:52
Great Question...

I think the only reason the EU is not considered a country because the union is very decentralized and correct me if I'm wrong, but not a majorly large tax grabber (25 % or more).

The only reason Quebec is not a country is the fact that they haven't won a referendum yet. People would view Canada as a super-entity, but no longer one that power-trips on the provinces. Quebec is willing to take care of everything a sovereign state would in the victory of a YES.

And Taiwan is probably similar to Quebec with the sole exception that they have somebody willing to invade if they voted for independence.

Belgium is one of the most decentralised country in the world, yet on a very concentrated and centralised land. Regarding the centres or population and business, then it is very centralised, with Brussels right in the middle as the major centre. But politically, all the important ministries (health, education, economy, employment, research, culture, tourism...) have been decentralised to the states. In other words the state of Belgium has no power at all in these fields. But Belgium is still called a country, although with less political power than Flanders, Brussels and Wallonia.

The stock exchanges of Amsterdam, Brussels and Paris have merged into the Euronext (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euronext). Like other euro-zone countries, Belgium has no currency and monetary policy of its own anymore, so not completely independent from a financial point of view. Visa and passport-wise (related to foreign affairs), it is in the Schengen zone, and therefore is noy completely free. There are no more borders between Flanders and the Netherlands, or Wallonia and France, than between Flanders and Wallonia. Culturally and linguistically, the country is also divided. There are no more purely Belgian banks anymore (all have merged with banks from neighbouring countries). So why do we call Belgium a country ? If that is by "tradition", then the country has only been unified as it is (well not completely), independent and known as "Belgium" since 1830, making it the youngest country in Western Europe. One thing that is sure is that there isn't one state in Belgium with its own government, parliament and administration, but 7 (without counting the EU).

Miss_apollo7
29-12-05, 14:16
At first, a nation can be characterised by social, political, and cultural constructions, which may be collectively experienced.
However, a homogeneity of any sort, e.g. linguistic, religious, cultural, is not the key to definition. Let us look at the Swiss for example, they are characterised by religious and linguistic diversity, (with German, French, and Italian). Yet, they are clear that they are not Germans or French.

It is apparent that self-professing nations do not have to be homogenous ethnic groups, or claim a common ethnic core.
E.g. from the French Revolution of 1789, the concept of nation gained populist tones, which carried over into the American concept of "We, the People."
In the American case there is no attempt to claim common ancestry or ethnic roots, as the fundamental idea is commitment to common ideals and goals. E.g. the American flag symbolises a commitment to the American view of freedom and democracy and carries with it a bundle of associations about individualism, active citizenship etc., Given time, any legal immigrant may become American.

The French retain more of a commitment to the principle of descent.

A nation exist when there is a civil bureaucracy, a law code, a collective identity, sometimes a collective political view, but can also be forced upon the people, e.g. East Germany with the division of Germany, by the Allies of WW2, the former African colonies of European nations, which became "countries".

A feeling of nationalism has to be present in the collective culture in order to have a coherent group of people building a nation, which was the case in Europe in the early 19th century with the generation of nationalism. Nationalism for the people were about belonging to a nation was more important than belonging to a class, town, or a religious group, and the struggle for the state to defend the interests and identity of that nation.

Maciamo
29-12-05, 17:29
Thanks for your reply, Miss Apollo. So what is your conclusion regarding my examples of the EU and Belgium ? Can either be considered as a country or nation ? There are about as many Belgians feeling European than Belgian. There is no linguistic, cultural or religious homogeneity, and institutions exist as much at the European level as the Belgian level.

Education plays an important role in one's national identity or collective culture, and education in Belgium does not exist anymore at a national level. It has been completely decentralised to the region-states. Well, there is only one thing for which the money comes from a higher level, and it is the EU-funded exchange programmes like Erasmus.

Traditional national symbols like the currency or the language don't work in Belgium. The monarchy is less popular than ever. There have been public visits of the king and the queen cancelled in some towns because almost nobody care enough to go out and greet them ! In fact, there are much more talks about the EU, the EU Parliament, the EU Commission, EU-funded projects, etc. than about the Belgian monarchy, and half of the ministers are not Belgian ministers, but Flemish or Walloon ministers. The political parties at the national parliament are divided by language, so that it is impossible to vote for a Flemish party in Wallonia or vice versa. The only time when we can vote for a party made of Flemish and Walloon politicians is at the EU parliament elections. But even then, the party is not just Belgian but European (so these parties exist in most EU countries).

The facts show that Flanders and Wallonia have most the attributes required to be defined as countries (language, culture, political parties, political power, parliaments...), but Belgium as a whole does not. Some Belgians argue that the monarchy is what keeps Belgium together. But, the monarchy does not mean anything, as the Queen of the UK is also Queen of Canada, the Bahamas, Australia, New Zealand, etc., showing that a single monarchy can be used by more than one sovereign country.

What's more, Belgium does not historically exist as a country. I only came into existence in 1830, after the artificial division of Europe in 1815 put the whole region under Dutch rule. Before 1789, what are now Belgium and Luxembourg were parts of 3 different countries.

Based on these explanations, if you were Belgian, would you feel more Flemish/Walloon, Belgian or European ?

Brussels is clearly a European exception, as it is geographically in Flanders, but is 80% French-speaking and 1/3 of its inhabitants are not Belgian or naturalised Belgians. It could really become a kind of Washington DC. It is already an semi-independent state called Brussels Capital Region, or Brussels C.R. Officially it means "capital of Belgium", but for many it means "capital of the EU", which it also is officially.

Miss_apollo7
30-12-05, 14:09
In my opinion, the EU can in most cases be qualified as a country, and hopefully will be recognised as one in the future (my wish).:cool:

The member (nation-)states of the EU are still regarded as nation-states because they have parliaments represented by the people in each member state and they still have sovereignty – some more than others, however, as you pointed out Maciamo, the nation-statesf sovereignties are threatened by several sides;
E.g. the Market economy is no longer secured fully by the nation-states in the EU, but also by GATT/WTO and the EU itself.
In this regard, some gnation-statesh of the EU canft in the strictest sense be recognised as nation-states, but merely as gnationsh, which is characterised as a geographical area with a population which are bound together by collective solidarity and sense of community – commonly with a homogeneity of linguistic, religious, cultural, historic bases.
Maybe this relates to Belgium since the state no longer has fully control of the nation-state, as you pointed out, and doesnft play a deep and important role?
In Denmark, the state still plays an important role, being a very centralised state with Montesquieufs three branches of government, and the welfare state.

The EU can be regarded as a country because I think:
Like in any democratic nation-state, the power is divided between different decision-making centres, which control one another. The power in the EU is not just divided between the Council of Ministers, the Commission, the European Parliament and the EU-court, but also among the EU and the national levels in each member nation-state. This, in practice, is a power structure which is very different from the American.

The decisions in EU are not taken not with a little majority like in the nation-states, but a big majority in different instances is needed.

Common history & culture....

Why I think the EU canft be regarded as a country:
The EU doesnft collect tax –the overall expenses for the EU by each nation-state is gjusth 1–3% of GNP. Most of EUfs policies are about agricultural support and development of structure, trade-liberalisation, technical regulations of markets, and support to underdeveloped countries, hence, the
EU doesnft have many (or any) policies that can make the people interested in the areas which concern them most: e.g. healthcare, education, taxes, pensions etc. The sentence in bold is fundamental, as people need to have a sense of belonging.

The population of EU is perhaps not attracted to EU as a country due to its functions at this stage, and canft be related to their own identity as a citizen. Although it can be argued that a common history and culture is something they share, with an EU anthem etc.

Maciamo
30-12-05, 15:17
Thanks for your reply again.


The member (nation-)states of the EU are still regarded as nation-states because they have parliaments represented by the people in each member state and they still have sovereignty

A parliament is not a requirement to be a nation-state. Parliaments are a fairly new thing in most countries around the world (apart from Northern Europe). A democratic parliament (i.e. elected by the people) is certainly not a requirement, otherwise China and dozens of African countries would not qualify as "countries", nor would any part of the world before the late 18th century.


The EU doesn’t collect tax –the overall expenses for the EU by each nation-state is “just” 1–3% of GNP.

There are EU taxes to fund the CAP, the EU administration, EU education programmes, etc. Even if it's a small part of the GNP, it does have its own tax system.


Most of EU’s policies are about agricultural support and development of structure, trade-liberalisation, technical regulations of markets, and support to underdeveloped countries, hence, the
EU doesn’t have many (or any) policies that can make the people interested in the areas which concern them most: e.g. healthcare, education, taxes, pensions etc.

True, but we could say the same for the Belgian state. Healthcare, education and most of the taxes are managed directly by the Flanders, Brussels and Wallonia.

What's more, these are all fairly recent (mostly 20th century) things. Are you saying that a medieval country without healthcare, state education, state services, etc. cannot be called a "country" ? Wasn't Japan a country before the Meiji Restoration ? Wasn't France a country before the French Revolution ? Neither had a parliament, an state education or helathcare system, nor most of the things we, Westerners, take for granted in the 21st century, but they were countries nonetheless (otherwise what were they ?).


The population of EU is perhaps not attracted to EU as a country due to its functions at this stage, and can’t be related to their own identity as a citizen.

According to the EU-wide polls, there is a significant number of people (between 40 and 90%, depending on the nation-state) who feel European. They may feel also from a smaller region at the same time and it is only natural. Many Belgians, Germans or Spaniards feel a stronger attachment to their regional state (e.g. Flanders, Bavaria, Catalonia...) than to the nation-state itself. Based on this, we could say that the nation-state also don't qualify as countries then. Once a majority (over 50%) of the people in an area feel that they belong to one political entity (EU, Spain, Bavaria or whatever), then this political entity is a country.

With globalisation, federal states, the common currency, the increasing mix of ethnicities and more people speaking fluently various languages or eating food from all over the world, I believe that culture, language, ethnicity, religion, etc. do not play an important part in defining one's national identity. An illustration of this : it's not because I have eaten Japanese food and spoken Japanese on a daily basis for a few years that I have lost my sense of belonging to Europe.

Nowadays, no developed country can say it has full sovereignty on its land and people. They all must compromise with other countries, respect international treaties, and even bend to foreign pressure when others disagree (yes, even the USA sometimes). What's more, it is possible to be citizen of more than one country at the same time. All EU citizens do have the EU citizenship in addition to their nation-state's citizenship since 1992. It works like a dual citizenship. So if citizenship defines the boundaries of a country, the EU is as much a country as EU nation-states, even if their boundaries are superimposes. Citizenship does care about physical boundaries anyway. You can be an Italian AND American citizen, but it won't create a conflict of boundaries between Italy and the USA for that reason. The Vatican is physically part and parcel of Italy. It's boundaries used to be much larger, but 99% of its land is now in Italy. But it could be argued that the Vatican IS in Italy, although technically it is not. Andorra is ruled by France and Spain, but has it's own citizenship. This shows how political boundaries, the actual autonomy and power of the state and citizenship are not related.

Furthermore, citizenship is not equal to the sense of belonging. If I decided to become French, I could still say that I am Belgian, even after losing my citizenship. I don't mind saying that I am French or Italian or English or British or Belgian or Luxembourger or whatever, as long as I feel a strong sense of belonging to that society (i.e. when I feel home when I am there). That's mostly why I say that I feel European, because it would be too long to explain that I feel from all the countries mentioned above. Yet I do not feel Finnish or Hungarian or Greek or Irish, because I have never lived or been to those countries, do not speak the language or feel a cultural attachment, and do not have any ancestors or family from these countries.

Because people living on the same land may have quite different feelings of belonging to others lands, I believe that the sense of citizenship/nationality cannot be exclusive (=> the dual nationality paradox). It is totally possible for person A to feel Catalan ANd Spanish AND European, and for person B to feel Bavarian AND German AND European. Depending on the circumstances, they would feel more one or the other, but never completely lose the feeling of belonging to one of the three.

Both one's native language and native region shape their sense of belonging. An overseas Italian born/raised in the USA or in Brazil might still feel very much Italian, even if they have never been there, because Italian is still their mother-tongue. But they could feel American or Brazilian all the same, because that's where they have grown up.

The EU is a quite unique phenomenon, as people do share some common history and cultural elements, yet speak different languages and have also diverging cultural elements. More than that, subgroups of languages and cultures exist at a very regional level (Corsica, Galicia, Alasace, Wales...), AND a the level of nation-states. There are thus 3 levels of belonging : EU, nation-state, region. For some people, it's only 2, or possibly one. But these are exceptions, not the rule. Note that the "language group" within Europe is sometimes spread over several nation-states (English, French, Dutch, German, Greek...), sometimes only at the nation-state level (Danish, Finnish, Portuguese...), and sometimes at a regional level (Catalan, Galican, Corsican, Dutch, French, Gaelic...).

Conclusion :

- Someone's sense of belonging depends on the language-related culture and region-related culture.

- Flags, anthems, etc. express that sense of belonging. This one can be national, regional or linguistic.

- Many countries have several language groups and several regional cultural groups. This shows that countries can be, and often are, multicultural.

- To be called a country, a defined land needs a government and laws, but not necessarily a democratic system. It doesn't need anything else (a parliament, monarch, elected president, state services, pension, health care, education system, etc. are all optional and features of developed modern countries only).

- Full sovereignty is an illusionary concept in the age of globalisation, international organisations (UN, NATO, WTO...) and international treaties (Geneva Convention, Human Rights, Non-nuclear Proliferation Treaty, Kyoto Treaty...). Federal states further divided sovereignty by delegating exclusive political power in some fields to the regional states.

- Cases of dual citizenship shows that there do not need to be only one citizenship for one political boundary, but there can only be one political boundary.

- Federal systems show that governments can superimpose each others. The case of Belgium shows that there can even be two types of regional states, superimposing each others, with different boundaries and different political power.

=> The EU is a multicultural, federal political entity with defined boundaries, laws and a government. Nation-states currently have more delegated power than the top-level government. In some cases like Belgium, most of the nation-state's power has been further delegated to the regions.

The EU has a flag, anthem and citizenship underlying a sense of belonging. It even has a democratic system, education programmes, and many other things characteristic of modern, developed states, although these are not required to qualify as country.

Maciamo
30-12-05, 17:16
I see the relation between the EU and EU-member states as the two sides of a Euro coin : on one side the EU, on the other the member state of one's nationality. Indeed, all people with the nationality/citizenship of one member state automatically have the European citizenship. It is impossible to be, say, Italian, and not be European at the same time. In the same way, it is impossible to be European and not have the nationality of an EU-member state. Like the two sides of one coin, both cannot be separated. I think that this system is unique in human history.

In the USA, or any other federal country, there is no citizenship for each state, but only one for the whole USA. That's why the EU is not really a federal country, and member-state are not really independent countries either. It is a system in between : a dual state with dual citizenship, and further federal states inside.

Miss_apollo7
31-12-05, 00:28
I am glad that I still have my Christmas holidays (going back to work on Monday), so I have time to visit the fora more frequently....I almost forgot the interesting threads which quite often pop up. :wave:

I am sorry if there are sentences left out, mispellings occur, or I am repeating myself...the time here is 12:28 am and I am past my bedtime.....


Are you saying that a medieval country without healthcare, state education, state services, etc. cannot be called a "country" ? Wasn't Japan a country before the Meiji Restoration ? Wasn't France a country before the French Revolution ?

Of course ancient or medieval countries were gcountriesh back then. Many of those gcountriesh as notions of states as essentially patrimonial (or religious) possessions in early modern Europe could still be combined with concept of gnationh (e.g. The Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation) as distinct from gtribeh or other grouping.

It is interesting that I just found out today that the term gnationh derives from the Latin word nascire= to be born. Back then, this term was used to describe a population sharing the same birthplace and were bound together just like family, or clan.
This discussion might as well lead to an interesting argument between scholars called gessentialistsh and gconstructionists.h

The first group of scholars claim that nations are natural entities, however, Anthony Smith, a constructionist, lists a set of elements which together, in varying combinations, appear to him crucial ingredients of national identity and nation-building. He presents two basic models of the nation: the gwesternh and the gnon-westernh, East European or Asian, on the other.
hHistoric territory, legal political community, legal-political equality of members, and common civic culture and ideology are the ingredients to the standard, western model of the nation. (in his book: National Identity). Despite contradictions in his book, his underlying view is that gethnic coresh form the original and essential basis of nations.

:sleep: zzzzzzz

By the way, why is your flag set to Belgium Maciamo? Are you there on holiday?

Maciamo
31-12-05, 10:59
Of course ancient or medieval countries were gcountriesh back then. Many of those gcountriesh as notions of states as essentially patrimonial (or religious) possessions in early modern Europe could still be combined with concept of gnationh (e.g. The Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation) as distinct from gtribeh or other grouping.

So what about African countries that were created quite artificially, with almost no regard to the linguistic and ethnic groups living there ? In a country like Nigeria, there are hundreds of ethnicities and languages, and no particular common history.

I have discussed this with many people, and I feel that most of the Europeans that hesitate to describe the EU as a country have a strange conception of what should be called a country. They insist on the common descent and/or common language, but by this definition most of the American, African and Asian continent are not made of countries.

Just look at India and China, which are much more diverse than Europe, both in languages and ethnicities. There are 23 official languages in India, about over 800 non-official ones, and millions of dialects. These languages belong to 6 different families (the Indo-European family is only one of them). There are many native ethnic groups (Caucasian/Aryan, Dravidian, Mongoloid...) and all the major religions on earth. Europe is much more homogenous in comparison. China is 3x bigger in size and population than the EU, and also has more ethnic and linguistic diversity.

So I feel that both India and China became "nation-states" only by opposition to the Western world. But between themselves, I believe than a Tamil and a Rajhastani feel as different as a Swede and an Greek (maybe more in fact, as Swedes and Greeks are both Caucasian and both speak an Indo-European language, while a Tamil is Dravidian and speaks a Dravidian language, while a Rhajastani is an Aryan and speaks a Indo-European language). Likewise, a Han Chinese speaking Mandarin is more different from a Tibetan or Uyghur than any two Europeans.

I would go as far to say that if India and China are "nations", then the whole Western world, including Latin America, is also a nation. In my eyes, these are civilizations, i.e. a grouping of nations sharing similar cultural traits.

The Oxford definition of "nation" is : "a large body of people united by common descent, culture, or language, inhabiting a particular state or territory".
(NB : the definition of country is "a nation with its own government, occupying a particular territory.")

I don't see any common descent, culture, or language between the inhabitants of Northern India, Southern India and Eatern India. Same for Eastern China, Southwestern China (Yunnan, Guangxi...), Western China (Tibet, Xinjiang) and Northeastern China (Manchuria, Inner Mongolia).

In comparison, an Argentinian and a Spaniard (or a Brit and an New Zealander) are much much more similar. They share the same ethnicity & language, but a different territory.

We thus need a common state and territory to have a nation. South America (or the whol Western world) cannot be called a nation, despite the close historical, cultural and linguistic ties between the countries, because there is no common state.

The EU does have a common state, common visas, a common currency, a common parliament, a common Internet domain (.eu), etc. I do not know any organisation that has all this and oes not call itself a nation - and indeed a country.



By the way, why is your flag set to Belgium Maciamo? Are you there on holiday?

No, I have left Japan. I now live in Belgium.

Templar
27-04-12, 14:15
Just look at India and China, which are much more diverse than Europe, both in languages and ethnicities. There are 23 official languages in India, about over 800 non-official ones, and millions of dialects. These languages belong to 6 different families (the Indo-European family is only one of them). There are many native ethnic groups (Caucasian/Aryan, Dravidian, Mongoloid...) and all the major religions on earth. Europe is much more homogenous in comparison. China is 3x bigger in size and population than the EU, and also has more ethnic and linguistic diversity.

Hmm that's a pretty good point, but maybe China isn't that good of an example considering that 92% of Chinese are ethnic Han. So in their case its more like one big "nation" with a few minorities.