Comical Olli and an epidemic loss of influence

If you read European news these days, you see the same kind of things being said, whatever the country. Almost every EU state is in the same, unique position.

UK: Cameron puts Britain offside and offshore in Europe.  "UK has isolated itself and lost critical influence for no gain whatsoever," said Sony Kapoor, head of the Brussels economic think-tank Re-Define.

Sweden: "If we stay outside the deal, we are more in the periphery", says prime minister Reinfeldt.

Finland: "Finland must stay in the core of EU" says presidential candidate Paavo Lipponen.

Ireland: "Government must ensure Ireland is at core of EU summit"

I don't really read Dutch or Estonian, but I'd be surprised if news in the Netherlands and Estonia or Austria   would be any different. Everybody says the same:

If we don't do as the EU Commission says, we'll lose our influence! We'll be in the periphery! We must stay in the core of EU!

What sort of influence is it when you have to do everything you're told to do, otherwise you don't have influence?

How is it possible that everyone is risking this horrible fate of being in the periphery: you must not disagree about anything? What does it help you to be "in the core" of EU if that just means that you be a nice boy and pay up, just as you are told?

I do understand that you do lose influence if you make a constant nuisance of yourself. If you make trouble of every little thing. Or if you screw up constantly and consistently, over a longer period of time. This is what Greece has done, and that has got people irritated. I can surely say that not many people take seriously anything the Greeks say about economy or European integration, so Greece has lost "influence". But I don't think the problem is that Greece is not in the "core" of the EU. The problem is negligence approaching criminal. This is not the case with Britain, Finland or Sweden, who are net contributors to EU budget (although themselves in debt and in need of austerity).

We won't lose influence if we sometimes disagree. I've got a piece of news for you: the only way you apply influence is that you try to change something. And a good time to change things is starting now. The countries are not losing influence. It's these guys  in "think-tanks", parties and government departments who may lose influence, and some really well-paid jobs as conductors in gravy trains between  Brussels and Strasbourg, to which no one has any influence whatsoever.

Well, I suppose this rant isn't going to change too much. We can continue to admire the gall of Comical Olli:

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