All of this talk of a two-speed Europe following the rejection by the Irish people of the Lisbon Treaty got me thinking. Let me show you how Europe is already two-speed:
The above is a graph from a report entitled the Social Situation in the European Union 2007. Although it is based on 2004 data of the EU-SILC (a relatively new harmonised measure of income and living conditions), it shows that the ‘old’ EU-15 are clustered to the bottom and right of the graph with the newer accession states on the type and right, with some exceptions. I don’t think you need to understand the ins and outs here but you might note the clusters on the graph generally: the further to the right of the graph you are, the higher the equivalised median income in that state. The lower on the graph you are, the lower the percentage of the total population of that state is deprived. This graph is also viewable here.
Make up your own mind on Lisbon but don’t tell me that we now run the risk of a two-speed Europe.