As much as I hate to do it, I've got to compliment the French.
They not only kicked Jacques Chirac (search) in the pants. They also voted to stall the European Union, a bureaucratic nightmare that almost makes the United Nations (search) look honest and orderly.
A few years back, I was invited to visit the European Parliament (search), which is divided between Brussels, Belgium and Strasbourg, France. I was wined and dined by all kinds of bureaucrats and parliamentarians. And the conclusion that I came to was that the European Parliament was one of the biggest boondoggles ever.
The idea is fine — one parliament for one region, with one currency. But the reality is an unaccountable bureaucracy that hires thousands of people to do virtually nothing. The lifetime jobs of the European Parliament's bureaucracy have benefit packages that would make Jack Welch jealous. The enormous building complex in Strasbourg is used for just four days a month but costs over $200 million a year for staff, travel expenses and infrastructure.
Turnout for European Parliament elections is awful. As one analyst wrote: "Sadly, not very many people care who wins because they simply cannot relate to the European Parliament."
So the French, and now the Dutch, want out. Well, good for them — even if they want out for the wrong reasons. If this kills off another unaccountable bureaucracy, I say good riddance.
And that's the Observer.
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