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VOA双语新闻 - 年终报道:欧盟排除障碍向前迈进

时间:2011-06-10 01:57来源:互联网 提供网友:eu016146   字体: [ ]

  It is holiday season in Brussels. Belgians and tourists stroll through Christmas markets that sell hot, spiced wine and Belgium's famous waffles. They pause before an enormous Christmas tree in the Grand Place, the central square of Brussels that is surrounded by elaborately decorated old "guildhalls."
Profound change
These old European rituals are taking place at a time of profound change in Europe. For the first time, Europeans have a permanent president of the European Union, former Belgian prime minister Herman Van Rompuy, who takes office on January 1. They have a new EU foreign policy chief and new EU commissioners1, and after years of setbacks European governments finally ratified2 a pact3 called the Lisbon Treaty to bind4 the bloc5 together.
Nowhere are the changes felt more keenly than in Brussels, the administrative6 center of the 27-member bloc. Angelo Callant, a Flemish speaking Belgian, says he supports the Lisbon Treaty and he is proud that a Belgian is the EU first president.
"I am for a stronger Europe, so it is a good evolution now ... Europe has an important job in some issues. We need a stronger Europe for the economy and other things," Callant said.
French tourist Jacques Tacquoi is also pro-European Union. As a businessman, Tacquoi says, having a European Union and the euro currency makes a difference. He says he feels more European than French.
Some not interested in treaty
But many Europeans do not share these sentiments. Survey after survey shows that many are not interested in the Lisbon Treaty or the European institutions representing them. Turnout for European parliamentary elections last June was a record low, less than half of voting-age Europeans cast their ballots7.
Frederic Micheau has been tracking this apathy8 as director of studies for the IFOP polling institute in Paris.
Micheau says many Europeans feel the European Union is just a huge bureaucracy. Most Europeans have never heard of their new EU president Mr. Van Rompuy or their new foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton of Britain.
English tourist Dean Kershaw, visiting the Christmas markets in Brussels with his family, is no fan of the European Union. He believes it is more of a handicap than an asset. Kershaw says he is glad Britain is not part of the euro currency zone, which he believes has made things more expensive.
"I think that you can be in Europe without actually being in Europe in a governmental sense," Kershaw said. "We are an island and we should have our own independence. [The EU] does OK with countries like Norway and Switzerland [which are not part of the EU] so I cannot see why not for us. I think we would be a lot richer if we were separate."
Too much meddling9?
European critics argue the European Union meddles10 too much in their lives. The European Union is involved in many areas, from setting fishing quotas11 and agricultural subsidies12 to punishing companies that violate European antitrust rules. The EU parliament is gaining increasing powers although it cannot initiate13 legislation.
European officials say they are working hard to make people understand what the European Union is all about. The European Parliament's Paris office, for example, has launched citizens' forums14 around France to explain what the parliament does.
"I think people do not realize the level of protection they get through [EU] rules. Especially for consumers. Especially for environmental matters. If we still have agriculture that is very important on the economic level, it is because of the Common Agricultural Policy," European Parliament spokeswoman, Dominique Robert stated. "So I think there are a lot of issues which would not exist in a positive way if Europe did not exist."
What next?
London School of Economics analyst15 Iain Begg says the European Union has been focusing on pushing through institutional changes for years. So no wonder Europeans are underwhelmed. Now with the Lisbon Treaty in force, Begg expects to see some action.
"I would suggest 'watch this space' ought to be the watchword here because at last the European Union will get on with doing things rather than the process of how it does things," Begg said.
Begg says the Copenhagen conference is one example of a more vigorous European Union. While Europe failed to secure a tough and binding16 climate agreement, he says, its citizens see the European Union as the "good guy" in the greenhouse gas talks - pushing for the kinds of environmental changes they support.


1 commissioners 304cc42c45d99acb49028bf8a344cda3     
n.专员( commissioner的名词复数 );长官;委员;政府部门的长官
  • The Commissioners of Inland Revenue control British national taxes. 国家税收委员管理英国全国的税收。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • The SEC has five commissioners who are appointed by the president. 证券交易委员会有5名委员,是由总统任命的。 来自英汉非文学 - 政府文件
2 ratified 307141b60a4e10c8e00fe98bc499667a     
v.批准,签认(合约等)( ratify的过去式和过去分词 )
  • The treaty was declared invalid because it had not been ratified. 条约没有得到批准,因此被宣布无效。
  • The treaty was ratified by all the member states. 这个条约得到了所有成员国的批准。
3 pact ZKUxa     
  • The two opposition parties made an electoral pact.那两个反对党订了一个有关选举的协定。
  • The trade pact between those two countries came to an end.那两国的通商协定宣告结束。
4 bind Vt8zi     
  • I will let the waiter bind up the parcel for you.我让服务生帮你把包裹包起来。
  • He wants a shirt that does not bind him.他要一件不使他觉得过紧的衬衫。
5 bloc RxFzsg     
  • A solid bloc of union members support the decision.工会会员团结起来支持该决定。
  • There have been growing tensions within the trading bloc.贸易同盟国的关系越来越紧张。
6 administrative fzDzkc     
  • The administrative burden must be lifted from local government.必须解除地方政府的行政负担。
  • He regarded all these administrative details as beneath his notice.他认为行政管理上的这些琐事都不值一顾。
7 ballots 06ecb554beff6a03babca6234edefde4     
n.投票表决( ballot的名词复数 );选举;选票;投票总数v.(使)投票表决( ballot的第三人称单数 )
  • They're counting the ballots. 他们正在计算选票。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • The news of rigged ballots has rubbed off much of the shine of their election victory. 他们操纵选票的消息使他们在选举中获得的胜利大为减色。 来自《简明英汉词典》
8 apathy BMlyA     
  • He was sunk in apathy after his failure.他失败后心恢意冷。
  • She heard the story with apathy.她听了这个故事无动于衷。
9 meddling meddling     
v.干涉,干预(他人事务)( meddle的现在分词 )
  • He denounced all "meddling" attempts to promote a negotiation. 他斥责了一切“干预”促成谈判的企图。 来自辞典例句
  • They liked this field because it was never visited by meddling strangers. 她们喜欢这块田野,因为好事的陌生人从来不到那里去。 来自辞典例句
10 meddles a568f8618848e028fb02a2a5c8387249     
v.干涉,干预(他人事务)( meddle的第三人称单数 )
  • Who meddles in all things may shoe the gosling. 闲事样样管,时间白白丢。 来自互联网
11 quotas 56efa1d6a3d7b4abe55e080dda812715     
(正式限定的)定量( quota的名词复数 ); 定额; 指标; 摊派
  • In fulfilling the production quotas, John made rings round all his fellow workers. 约翰完成生产定额大大超过他的同事们。
  • Quotas of the means of production are allocated by the higher administrative bodies to the lower ones. 物资指标按隶属关系分配。
12 subsidies 84c7dc8329c19e43d3437248757e572c     
n.补贴,津贴,补助金( subsidy的名词复数 )
  • European agriculture ministers failed to break the deadlock over farm subsidies. 欧洲各国农业部长在农业补贴问题上未能打破僵局。
  • Agricultural subsidies absorb about half the EU's income. 农业补贴占去了欧盟收入的大约一半。 来自《简明英汉词典》
13 initiate z6hxz     
  • A language teacher should initiate pupils into the elements of grammar.语言老师应该把基本语法教给学生。
  • They wanted to initiate a discussion on economics.他们想启动一次经济学讨论。
14 forums 68daf8bdc8755fe8f4859024b3054fb8     
讨论会; 座谈会; 广播专题讲话节目; 集会的公共场所( forum的名词复数 ); 论坛,讨论会,专题讨论节目; 法庭
  • A few of the forums were being closely monitored by the administrators. 有些论坛被管理员严密监控。
  • It can cast a dark cloud over these forums. 它将是的论坛上空布满乌云。
15 analyst gw7zn     
  • What can you contribute to the position of a market analyst?你有什么技能可有助于市场分析员的职务?
  • The analyst is required to interpolate values between standards.分析人员需要在这些标准中插入一些值。
16 binding 2yEzWb     
  • The contract was not signed and has no binding force. 合同没有签署因而没有约束力。
  • Both sides have agreed that the arbitration will be binding. 双方都赞同仲裁具有约束力。
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