Plan Would Keep Europe ‘Right in There’ with Afghanis

BRUSSELS ( – Despite strong opposition from the French government, a joint European Community think tank has concluded the “Internet” – a US-based collection of telephone cables – should be legalised before 2010.

Will the Internet Turn Europe on Its Head?

Although still technically illegal in Europe, the Internet is tolerated by centrist governments and is widely used by many teens.

“European businesses and consumers can benefit from our forward-looking stance,” says the report from the influential EC-funded Le Comité des Bureaucrates. “While we will still lag the US, our 2010 legalisation date puts us substantially ahead of other economic powers. For example, it will give us an 18-month, first-mover economic advantage over the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, and the ability to compete on an equal footing with much of central America.”

The threat to European businesses from the Internet has been likened in Europe to the devastating effect on the European wine industry of so-called “New World” Chardonnays. Imported from Australia, New Zealand, and California in the 1990s, these pretenders have for the last six months been the subject of an emergency debate in the European Parliament, where ministers have showed their patriotism by consuming approximately half the annual table wine output of member nations.

While considerably more sober, Internet-related unrest has been no less volatile. Tuesday, Parisian students burned their textbooks to protest the poor standard of American online pornography, while in the UK, the Blair government faced demonstrations after tax funds were poured into a futile government initiative to translate the online edition of the New York Post into English.

At the weekend, workers from heavily-unionised German power plants threatened to strike should the demand for electricity from Internet users increase the length of their work week. In a hastily-convened summit, European trade ministers moved to defuse the crisis by promising that the Internet would be strictly rationed, so as to minimise disruption to state employees.

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