Sunday, November 25, 2007

Europe's improving relations with US

More people are writing to point out positive developments in the relations between the US and Europe. I reported two weeks ago on blogger Don Surber's observations. Now more main-stream sources are making similar observations. Charles Krauthammer, a syndicated columnist at the Washington Post, reports. And 10 days ago W Post columnist and former foreign columnist William Drozdiak reported: "Four myths about America-bashing in Europe"
Myth 2 Europeans look down on the American way of life. Young Europeans are more eager than ever to work and study in the United States. A brain drain from France and Germany has sent some of their best and brightest to the United States. A top destination is Silicon Valley; an estimated 80,000 young French people, known for their math skills, have migrated there in pursuit of jobs with high-tech firms. When I spoke last year with about 50 Germans studying at MIT and Harvard, not one of them expressed a desire to return home. They all wanted to live and work in the United States, where, they said, opportunities are far more abundant. Many complained that the sclerotic welfare states in Europe punish those who work and reward those who don't. So they're fleeing the crushing tax burden at home for more lucrative challenges in the United States. Europe's leaders are slowly waking up to the fact that, with shrinking birth rates and a diminished work force, the continent may no longer be able to afford lavish social benefits, such as universal health care, retirement on full pensions as early as age 50 and up to nine weeks of paid vacation per year. They are exploring best practices in the United States to see how to rekindle entrepreneurial spirit and push people off welfare rolls. Similarly, European politicians are seeking to learn from the United States about diversity. Faced with growing difficulties in integrating Turkish and North African immigrants, European governments that once scorned affirmative action are now looking to America for ideas to improve racial integration and encourage class mobility.

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