Wednesday, June 18, 2008


How many times have you heard or read about how Ireland is "ungrateful" for voting 'No' after pocketing all that EU money?. And it's apparently a truism that Ireland has benefited more than any other country from membership of the European Union¹.

Every time I heard/read this line of argument the same two thoughts came to mind: (1) was this explained at each referendum that a 'Yes' would mean the end of the right to vote any way but the "right way"? and (2) now Europeans understand how Americans can get so annoyed by Europeans because Europe owes at least as much to the United States for Europe's peace and prosperity as Ireland owes to the EU.

¹ The single market provided no benefit to Germany, France, Italy, Holland, the UK, etc.? What is that worth to each of those countries? What are Ireland's lost fishing rights worth? Etc. You cannot evaluate the value of EU membership to an individual country by looking at direct transfers.