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Europe is failing to restore idealism

The referendum is a device viewed with suspicion by those who believe in representative government. Yet first the French and Dutch, and now the Irish, have used the referendum to defend representative government. It has become the means of protesting about the failures of representation in the European Union. These referendum defeats amount to a damning comment on the central institutions of the European Union – in particular, on the nullity of the European parliament. The problem is not that the parliament is powerless but that it has no authority. The parliament has no hold over European opinion, no ability to mobilise or shape consent across the European Union.

Voters sense what both the European Commission and national executives seem unable to understand – that important transfers of power from member states to Brussels in the past two decades have created the risk of a mutual discrediting. National parliaments have compromised their legitimacy, without the European parliament acquiring any. A generalised cynicism about government is on the rise. This weakening of democratic cultures in the member states may be an unintended consequence of the process of European integration. But it is no less serious for that.

How has the European “establishment” reacted to the vote in Ireland? With a few exceptions, it has responded to the problem in the way that has created the problem. Its voice has been paternalistic. The Irish are reproached for ingratitude after the material benefits they have received from aid and integration into a larger market. But this attitude betrays a failure to understand that markets do not create gratitude, whereas political systems – at their best – can do so. The reason for that is clear. Liberal democracies are founded on the principle of equal fundamental rights, equal liberty. The self-respect following from that principle gives citizens a moral foothold, in the form of self-government, that helps to compensate for the inequalities of market freedoms and civil society.

Inequalities of status, wealth and power are further offset by a factual condition generated by liberal democracy – the prospect of social mobility. In that way, both as a matter of right and of fact, liberal democracy is associated with individual empowerment. Yet that sense is fragile. It is only with difficulty that European states have created the culture of self-government that is now a central component of national identities. It is the liberal democratic component of those identities, something that prevents them from descending into mere tribalism.

The clearest example of the connection between national identity and self-government is the UK – where, in the absence of a codified constitution, national identity is closely tied to the sovereignty of parliament. Probably that is why, of all European countries, the UK has had the most difficulty adjusting to integration, to the loss or “sharing” of sovereignty. Those who dismiss the referendum results as unimportant – as reflecting irrelevant domestic priorities or obscurantism – fail to identify the deepest level of motivation in national voters. That is fear of their identity as citizens eroding and with it their self-respect. We should not dismiss or denigrate such a reaction. For it is a defence of the finest achievement of western societies.

What does the EU offer in place of liberal democracy in the nation state? There is now a widespread impression across Europe – and especially among the young – that it is in danger of offering pseudo-democracy, remote bureaucratic government thinly disguised by a European parliament. That is why the most striking moral fact about Europe today is the loss of idealism. The EU has been unable to make up for the disappearance of its founding idealism – the abolition of war in Europe, through Franco-German reconciliation – by replacing it with the idealism that can be generated by self-government. Its contributions to creating a peaceful and prosperous continent are simply taken for granted.

The EU’s failure to appropriate the idealist potential of liberal democracy stands in contrast to the US. It is hardly possible to deny that the Bush administration has taken a serious toll on American idealism, on the way Americans perceive themselves and their role in the world. But equally striking is the way the intense competition between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton has revived American idealism. The primaries have restored belief in the political system, its ability to regenerate a society that had lost its bearings. The primaries also educate Americans in the nature of their complex political system. Is it an exaggeration to say that, as a result of following the primaries, many Europeans understand American federalism better than they understand the relationship between the institutions of the EU and their own states? I don’t think so.

Deze opinie van Larry Siedentop verscheen in de Financial Times.

Meer verslaggeving over Europa op

22 Reacties:

At 10:07 Anoniem said...

En dan moeten we nog bedenken dat de FT eigenlijk een extreem-Eurofiele krant is... Schitterende ommeslag dus! Long live Eire!

At 20:03 Vincent De Roeck said...

Voor zij die nog steeds geloven dat de Eurofielen gelijk hebben in hun verwijten van "ondankbaarheid" aan het adres van de Ieren:

Ierland werd NIET welvarend door Eurosubsidies, maar ONDANKS deze marktverstorende geldinjecties. Ierland heeft de Europese Unie dan ook NIETS te danken, misschien zelfs net integendeel.

At 20:10 Vincent De Roeck said...

Via Ron Paul kreeg ik vandaag het volgende tragische bericht te horen: zijn campagneleider is komen te overlijden. Dit ter kennisgeving.

In loving memory of Kent Snyder

The Freedom Movement has suffered a great loss. Kent Snyder, chairman of my presidential campaign, lost his tragic battle with pneumonia last week. Kent was a true lover of liberty. He was an American patriot. He was my friend. And, he will be missed.

Kent was a gentle man who carried himself with quiet dignity. While soft spoken, great inner strength lay behind his kind blue eyes. He was filled with conviction, and principles of decency, loyalty and respect ran to his core. Those fortunate enough to work closely with Kent were touched by his integrity and old-fashioned American work ethic. Stories of his youth in Kansas and lessons taught to him by his two greatest influences, his mother and father, were often shared with friends and colleagues. During difficult times, Kent was always a calm at the center of the storm.

I first met Kent in 1987 when he, as a young man in his late 20’s, served on my first presidential run. Over the next twenty years, we worked together on countless projects in the name of Freedom. It was Kent, more than anyone else, who urged me to run again for president last year. I was skeptical, but he was much more confident that the time was right. Without Kent, I don’t think it would have happened. Though he was an optimist, in the end, even he didn’t expect what we achieved.

Like so many in our movement, Kent sacrificed much for the cause of Liberty. He sidetracked a blossoming political career when he chose to work for a third party candidate. He walked away from a lucrative career as telecommunications executive to work for me in Washington when I returned to Congress in the late ‘90’s. Ultimately, he sacrificed his health as he worked tirelessly around the clock on our presidential campaign, ignoring the pleas of his doctors to pull back.

Kent poured every ounce of his being into our fight for Freedom. He will always hold a place in my heart and in the hearts of my family. We deeply mourn his loss.

I hope we can celebrate Kent’s life, the wonderful man he was, the tremendous success of his contribution to the cause of liberty, and the bright path he helped blaze to a future where freedom springs alive once again. Kent should be remembered with every victory we achieve as we move forward together. Without Kent Snyder, the fight for liberty would not be where it is today. We all owe him a great debt.

In liberty,
Ron Paul

At 21:40 Anoniem said...

He will be sorely missed.

At 00:30 Anoniem said...

i met Kent in New York and am shocked to hear of his passing as he appeared so young, vibrant and healthy. I wish his family and friends all the best. He will be remembered for his great achievements.


At 00:31 Anoniem said...

Proost to Kent!

At 00:54 Vincent De Roeck said...

Ondanks de juridische nederlaag in het Verenigd Koninkrijk die de uiteindelijke ratificatie van het Verdrag van Lissabon niet meer kon tegenhouden en ondanks de weinig verhulde plannen van de Duitse president om te anticiperen op een rechtzaak en het geratificeerde verdrag gewoon te ondertekenen, blijkt het proces toch niet zo goed te verlopen voor de Eurofielen. De Poolse president Kaczynski verkondigde vorige week dat hij de ratificatie niet zal ondertekenen en ook Vaclav Klaus, de president van de Tsjechische Republiek, is duidelijk: Tsjechië zal het verdrag niet ratificeren. Of mijn emails naar de Tsjechische leiders iets uitgehaald hebben, weet ik niet, maar het resultaat is er in elk geval wel.

Dit is het antwoord van het kabinet Vaclav Klaus op mijn recente emails omtrent de ratificatie van het Verdrag van Lissabon:

Dear Mr De Roeck,

Thank you for your letter addressed to President Klaus regarding the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty. Since unanimity of all the EU member states is required in order for the Lisbon Treaty to be ratified and one member state voted against it, the ratification cannot be continued and the Treaty cannot take effect. Not only the ratification of the Treaty must stop now, but also the implementation of the Treaty must stop now.

The following are President Klaus’s press statements in the wake of the Irish referendum: The Lisbon Treaty project ended today with the decision of the Irish voters and its ratification cannot be continued. In one of the 27 EU countries a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty was held. In one only EU country the politicians allowed the citizens to express their opinion. The result is hopefully a clear message to everybody. It is a victory of freedom and reason over artificial elitist projects and over the European bureaucracy.

The whole of Europe should thank the Irish people for slowing down the current erroneous processes towards more unification, towards the suppression of nation states, towards a ‘Europe of regions’, and towards greater centralization from above, which the Lisbon Treaty embodied. The referendum was a perfect example of what ordinary people think about this development – at odds with the EU-supporting politicians whose motivation lies elsewhere.

I cannot imagine any development other than recognition of the fact that this is not the way to go. Let’s seek a European model different from a supranational state with its centre in Brussels . Let’s go back to a community of friendly, effectively cooperating states. Let’s keep most of the competencies on the level of states.

We should let people living on the European continent be Czechs, Poles, Italians, Danes, and not make Europeans of them. That is a flawed project. The difference between a Czech, a Pole, an Italian and a Dane (as random examples) and a European is akin to the difference between Czech, Polish, Danish languages and Esperanto. ‘Europeanness’ is Esperanto: an artificial language.

Ratification cannot be continued, the Treaty can no longer enter into force. To continue as though nothing has happened would be pure hypocrisy. This would be more significant news about the ‘state of the Union ’ than the Irish NO. The ratification of the Lisbon Treaty in the Czech Republic ended last Friday. To pretend something else is undignified – at least if we presume to live in a world where one plus one equals two.

You can find more information in English on The Czech Constitutional Court continues to scrutinize the compliance of the Lisbon Treaty with the Constitution. In this respect the President’s reply to the Court of June 3 (i.e. before the Irish vote) is still up-to-date and you can find its English translation on the website (the 5 concluding questions are crucial and I believe they will be of interest to you).

I would like to thank you, once again, for your kind feedback, as well as for the wishes for the President’s early recovery.

With all best wishes

Jiri Brodsky
Deputy Director
Foreign Affairs Department
Office of the President of the Czech Republic

At 02:00 Charles Bricman said...

Tout ce qui est excessif est insignifiant. Alle standpunten mogen verdedigd worden, maar de illustratie gekoppeld aan dit artikel (de hakenkruis) suggereert dat zijn auteur een immature jonge idioot is.

At 04:26 Danish Dynamite said...

"Tout ce qui est excessif est insignifiant."
Mooie woorden, meneer Bricman, maar even goedkoop als de constante aanvallen van politiek correcte regimekranten als Le Soir en La Libre op alles wat niet in hun kraam past. De regimepers doet alles om de EUSSR te verdedigen en doet bewust mee aan het verzwijgen van alles wat niet extreem pro-EU is. Hoe verklaart u het anders dat geen enkele regimepers op voorhand verklaarde dat de Ieren nay zouden zeggen? Nochtans was die informatie via objectieve peilingen wel beschikbaar. Bewust verzwijgen? Incompetentie? Verborgen eigen agenda?

"Alle standpunten mogen verdedigd worden, maar de illustratie gekoppeld aan dit artikel (de hakenkruis) suggereert dat zijn auteur een immature jonge idioot is."
Heeft u leren schelden bij Le Soir of La Libre? Of bij uw vriendjes bij de big corporations in dit apenland? Ontkent u dat Hitler exact hetzelfde voor ogen had met Europa dan de Eurocraten vandaag? Ik ken uw loyauteit naar de Eurofascisten niet, maar vermoed dat u ergens wel hoopt ook ooit eens aan de vetpotten van Egypte te kunnen zitten. En dat kan makkelijker als Euro-apparatsjik dan als journalist voor Le Soir of La Libre.

At 04:33 Anoniem said...

At 04:35 Anoniem said...

At 15:42 Philippe Van Den Abbeele said...

Ik ontken dat Hitler "exact hetzelfde voor ogen had met Europa dan de Eurocraten vandaag". Het Verdrag van Lissabon, hoe ondemocratisch het ook mag zijn, is toch geen 'Mein Kampf', noch een voorbereiding van een derde wereldoorlog, of de bezetting van andere landen door Duitsland, of de inrichting van uitroeiingskampen, of....

Of het nu de Libre, Le Soir of de illustratie bij dit artikel betreft, het hangt mijn voeten uit dat zo enerzijds het nazisme gebannaliseerd wordt, als anderzijds andere meningen steeds meer gediaboliseerd worden als nazistisch, racistisch of Eurofascistisch. Een mond met een verbodsteken er door b.v. was een gepastere illustratie geweest van wat er in Europa aan de hand is. En spaar de vergelijking met de nazis voor de echte wrede dictators in deze wereld.

At 15:28 Brian Barker said...

Don't beleive anyone when they claim Esperanto is artificial, or dead.

It is not.

Detail is available on

At 15:29 Anoniem said...

Ik ben Eurofiel en haat zowel fascisme als nazisme , laat dit duidelijk zijn. Om het gruwelijke nazirijk met zijn kampen en vervolgingen van alles wat niet in zijn kraam paste te vergelijken met het veringde Europa moet je wel bijzonder veel gedronken hebben, of gewoon kwaadwillig zijn .


At 15:29 Nicolas Raemdonck said...

Je al me begrijpen dat ik iets tegen "fielen" heb. Overmatige obsessies voor een bepaalde materie is nooit aan te raden. Het ontneemt mensen het vermogen om helder te denken en kritisch te zijn over datgeen wat ze geobsedeerd zijn.

Dat doet evenwel niet af aan het feit dat die ettelijke verwijzingen naar nazisme en fascisme als het op de EU aankomt contraproductief zijn.

At 01:10 Paul Vreymans said...

The text most governments introduced to their Parliaments is NOT the final version of the Lisbon treaty. Governments sold a pig in a poke. Peter Mach discovered that a seemingly inconspicuous sentence in the middle of the consolidated version enables the Council of Ministers to adopt directives on minimum rates of taxes and excise duties upon a claim that national rates distort competition. The new sentence is a final blow to the fiscal autonomy of the states. The fraud exposes what this treaty is all about: disabling tax competition between member states and creating a pan-European TAX.

How to read the Lisbon Treaty?

If one wants to learn what the Lisbon Treaty is really about, reading the treaty itself is insufficient. Reading consolidated version of the current treaties (where amendments of the Lisbon Treaty are incorporated) is also insufficient.

One must compare individual articles of the Lisbon Treaty with individual articles of the current treaties. The Czech government (similarly as governments in other EU member states) did not introduce to the parliament the consolidated version of the Treaty with specifying what was dropped and what was added as it is common with ordinary bills. Thus the government is in fact selling a pig in a poke.

Let’s show an example. Paragraph 79 on page C306/70 of the Lisbon Treaty says: "At the end of Article 93, the words within the time limit laid down in Article 14 shall be replaced by and to avoid distortion of competition."

Seemingly an innocent sentence. Something about avoiding distortion of competition. After all – who would object to avoiding distortion of competition!? But-First we must understand that the above mentioned article 93 is that of the Treaty establishing the European Community whichsays: "The Council shall, acting unanimously on a proposal from the Commission ...adopt provisions for the harmonisation of legislation concerning turnover taxes, excise duties and other forms of indirect taxation to the extent that such harmonisation is necessary to ensure the establishment and the functioning of the internal market within the time limit laid down in Article 14."

Thus a seemingly inconspicuous sentence somewhere in the middle of the Lisbon Treaty abolishes the time limit within which the EU can harmonize indirect taxes, which as we could see in the article 14 has expired! The new sentence would also enable the Council of Ministers to adopt directives on minimum rates of taxes and excise duties upon a claim that the current rates distort competition. If the Lisbon treaty is ratified one should not wonder when the Commission proposes, say, increases in minimum VAT rate from 15 to 19 (currently basic rate in Germany or France) pointing that British 16 or Luxembourg 15 per cent represent "harmful tax competition" and "distort competition" in the single market.

Shall we then solace ourselves at least by the fact that the EU needs unanimity in the Council of Finance ministers in order to adopt such a directive? Precociously. Another series of inconspicuous paragraphs in the Lisbon Treaty enables shifting taxation from unanimity to majority voting.

The Lisbon Treaty (on page C306/43) says, that in the article 93 the words "acting unanimously on a proposal from the Commission" shall be replaced by "acting unanimously in accordance with a special legislative procedure" and then (on page C306/39): "Where the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union provides for legislative acts to be adopted by the Council in accordance with a special legislative procedure, the European Council may adopt a decision allowing for the adoption of such acts in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure." Keep on mind that the words "ordinary legislative procedure" in the Lisbon Treaty mean majority voting while the "special legislative procedure" means unanimity.

Can we then at least believe that our prime minister will never agree to a proposal that would shift taxes from unanimity to majority voting? Hardly. In comparison with signing the whole Lisbon treaty, which enables all this, a single voting in the European Council is a bagatelle. A Prime Minister who easily signs the Lisbon Treaty can - one late night of a Council summit - even more comfortingly support a proposal like "decisions according article 93 (113) shall be adopted in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure".

Purpose of this article is not to describe all the changes included in the Lisbon Treaty. We have just shown a small example whereas the Lisbon Treaty is full of similar "innocent" provisions.

Tax competition between countries is good. International tax agreements that organise tax harmonisation are bad. Tax competition compels governments to economic use of public resources. It stimulates efficient public services, prevents wasteful public spending and saves taxpayers money.

At 01:41 Vincent De Roeck said...

Nadat Paul Vreymans mij vandaag via e-mail onderstaand artikel uit The European Journal bezorgde en ook ikzelf wel degelijk bezorgd ben over de eventuele invoering van taxharmonisatie in de Europese Unie die de voordelen van crossboarder competition volledig teniet zou doen en het EU-pad nog verder zou effenen voor economische stagnatie en recessie, heb ik ook nog een aantal andere artikelen over de EU doorgenomen, die allemaal minder positief zijn voor de EU dan onze vaderlandse media of politiekers doen uitschijnen.

Kevin Myers van The Independent Times is één van de weinige kritische Europositivo's in Ierland. Zijn columns, ofschoon vaak ophemelingen van alles wat maar blauw is of gele sterren draagt, blinken uit in degelijkheid en oprechtheid. Dat maakt het net zo vreemd dat hij in zijn laatste schrijfsel de mat uitveegt met dezelfde Europositieve parlementsleden die hij normaliter de hemel in prijst. Zij noemden de MEP's die het Ierse "neen" willen respecteren "rechts-extremisten" en zelfs "nazi's". Of hoe respect voor democratie plots als fascisme versleten wordt...

Het eerste slachtoffer - althans als we "democratie" of "rechtsstaat" op zich niet als slachtoffers beschouwen natuurlijk - van deze heisa is ook al bekend: de Grote Coalitieregering in Oostenrijk. De socialisten wilden het Ierse "neen" respecteren, de christen-democraten wilden dat niet. Het gevolg: de regering viel over het Verdrag van Lissabon (én omwille van andere redenen waarschijnlijk, maar die zijn mij niet bekend) en Oostenrijk krijgt in september nieuwe verkiezingen, die waarschijnlijk opnieuw tot een coalitie van ÖVP en FPÖ zullen leiden. De rechts-populisten van de FPÖ zijn meestal eurosceptisch, tenzij wanneer ze zo opnieuw in de regering kunnen zitten.

En om de verspilling van Europees belastinggeld nog verder te duiden, bovenop de honderden miljoenen euro's voor de maandelijkse verhuis van hebben en houden tussen Straatsburg en Brussel, werd afgelopen week de speciale "Eurotrein" in gebruik genomen. Deze sneltrein werd speciaal voor Eurocraten ontworpen, en is ook uitsluitend voor hen toegankelijk, en kent meer luxe dan eender welke andere trein in Europa. Een kwestie om de eigen mensen een extra cadeautje te doen, bovenop de massa's vergoedingen, zitpenningen en onkostennota's, want Eurocraten zijn moeilijk te vinden, zeker? Hoeveel moeite zou het niet gekost hebben om 54,000 dikbetaalde postjes in Brussel opgevuld te krijgen? Een trein kan het nijpende tekort aan werkkrachten misschien verhelpen...

Maar de interessantste tekst van deze week is en blijft, alweer, een kritische tribune van Daniel Hannan, een Brits conservatief Europarlementslid, over het Gemeenschappelijk Europees Landbouwbeleid (CAP). Als geen ander weet hij mij via zijn blog en via zijn artikels in The Daily Telegraph en The Spectator meesterlijke inzichten in de kronkels van de EUSSR te verschaffen. Zijn laatste bijdrage droeg als titel "Want to cut food bills? Withdraw from the CAP!" Ik heb daar andermaal niets meer aan toe te voegen.

Before lecturing the rest of us, the Prime Minister might usefully ponder what he could to do lower food bills. Gordon Brown says that judicious purchasing could save the average family £8.00 a week. Even if this is true, it is a small saving next to the £20.00 a week that we should save if Britain left the EU's Common Agricultural Policy.

The CAP is the most expensive, wasteful and amoral system of farm support devised by human intelligence. It penalises us repeatedly: we pay higher taxes to encourage production, we pay again to store surpluses, we pay yet again to destroy them, and then we're billed all over again as consumers to maintain artificially high prices. Output-based subsidies encourage the felling of hedgerows and the use of chemical fertilisers. Preventable poverty is inflicted on Africa, which finds European markets closed to its chief exports. Agricultural subsidies stand in the way of a comprehensive world trade settlement which would benefit consumers and farmers alike. Inflation is driven up, with deleterious consequences for the entire economy.

Oh, and I almost forgot: Britain, as a food importer with relatively efficient farms, does especially badly out of the system, paying more in and getting less out. If we gave a direct acreage-based grant to our farmers instead of subsidising their Continental rivals, we could cut food prices, cut taxes and raise farm incomes all at the same time.

What's that? You think it's unfair to blame the Prime Minister? It's all the fault of the French? I wonder. The last time the CAP came up for renegotiation, Labour went into the talks claiming that it would not surrender Britain's budget rebate without a comprehensive overhaul of farming. In the event, Tony Blair gave up our rebate while agreeing to increase the percentage of the EU budget devoted to agriculture from 42 to 48 per cent. Then again, perhaps he did get something in return: shortly afterwards, many of the leaders who had done so well out of the settlement announced that they would back Tony Blair as President of the EU.

This is the party that now lectures us about scrimping and saving on our food bills - while maintaining intact a mechanism that hurts the poorest in Europe and in the rest of the world. Shame on them.

At 01:37 said...

Je overdrijft wat die eurocraten trein betreft. Het is geen superdeluxe speciaal ontworpen trein, maar gewoon een standaard Thalys, gecharterd door de EU die hiermee nota bene probeert geld te besparen.

En dat het EU parlement maandelijks verhuisd, daar zit ik niet zo mee. De kosten zijn peanuts in vergelijking met wat er in de CAP verspilt wordt.

Het is eigenlijk voor de democratie beter dat niet alle macht in een stad geconcentreerd is. In Zwitserland kwam het parlement vroeger voor elke sessie ergens anders bijeen, een traditie die men nog steeds in ere houdt door minstens een sessie per jaar niet in Bern te houden.
Eigenlijk zou het Europees parlement elke sessie ergens anders moeten houden. Faciliteiten zijn in elke grote stad aanwezig, en het zou de concentratie van de macht in Brussel verminderen.

At 01:38 Pieter Cleppe said...

Krist: daar valt iets voor te zeggen. Er is nu zelfs een nieuwe petitie voor een "oneseat". In Straatsburg wel te verstaan.

At 01:40 David said...

Krist, je trapt iets té snel in de Europraatjes naar mijn goesting. Het is inderdaad een gecharterde TGV maar dat is niet alles: een designer werd onder de arm genomen om de trein her in te kleden, een topchef werd aangenomen om de catering op de trein te voorzien en de spoorlijninfrastructuur werd aangepasd om de TGV te kunnen laten rijden.

At 01:40 David said...

oeps, "aangepast" natuurlijk ;-)

At 13:26 said...


op Herman Welter van de GVA na ken ik geen enkele journalist die in staat is een artikel te schrijven dat over een trein gaat dat niet bol staat van de fouten.
De TGV die gecharterd wordt voor de europese gemeenschap is geen speciale TGV. Hij is niet speciaal door een designer onder handen genomen. De journalist die dat schrijft bazelt maar wat.
Op dit moment laat Thalys al haar treinen door een topdesigner nieuw aankleden, en het is inderdaad mogelijk dat men voor de eurocraten trein het eerste stel genomen heeft dat al vernieuwd is. Dit stel wordt echter ook in de normale dienst ingezet, dus ook gewone reizigers kunnen van de nieuwe aankleding profiteren.
Verder heeft men de spoorweginfrastructuur niet aangepast. Wie verzint er zoiets. Het is al ene hele tijd perfect mogelijk om een TGV van Brussel naar Straatsburg te laten rijden, daar zijn geen aanpassingen aan infrastructuur voor nodig.
Dat men de catering extra goed verzorgt kan ik wel heel erg goed begrijpen. Het is immers het enige element waar een organisatie die een Thalys chartert van het standaard product kan afwijken. Ik weet van bedrijven die een Thalys charteren voor een personeelsuitje naar Parijs, en aan de catering wordt daar ook veel aandacht besteed.

De normale trein van Brussel naar Straatsburg (en verder naar Basel) is echter inderdaad een triestig geval. Tussen Zwitserland (waar ik woon) en België reis ik dus meestal over Duitsland. Al was het maar omdat je op Duitse treinen tegenwoordig beter kan eten dan op Franse...


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