i on europe


Brussels blog by some wire service journalists

EU’s chicken-and-egg conundrum


FLEURUS, Belgium (AP) — When Eric Pierart takes in the chaotic wiggling of thousands of hens caged in his renovated barn, he’s reminded of how tough it is for Europe to unite on anything.

And how much time it takes.

A dozen years after the European Union set Jan. 1, 2012 as the date to eliminate the most cramped cages to improve the living standards of egg laying hens, half of the 27 European Union nations have failed to fully comply — a flop seen as a metaphor for Europe’s current state of disarray.

“In all, they have been talking about it for 30 years,” complained the ruddy-cheeked Pierart, who adhered to the new rules.

“Now, it shows that common ideas for everyone are still hard to come by.”

Such is the way of the EU, where legislation seeps through layers of political and institutional granite in 27 nations at barely a trickle. And it affects a lot more than just the happiness of chickens.

Take the global economy.

For nearly two years, the world has been crying out for immediate and drastic measures to combat a debt crisis that has threatened to trigger a worldwide depression.

For nearly two years, the world has come away frustrated with explanations that Europe is not a legislative superhighway.



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