This article at The Daily Telegraph describes the different responses of EU countries to the world's economic downturn. The point is that due to EU rules on labor movement there is little a country can do to protect native jobs from being undercut by the importation of cheaper labor. One of the arguments of the conservative side in the U.S. at least is that if you let Government take responsibility for everything they will then end up deciding everything for you. You want cheeseburger? Not good for you, sorry, have a carrot instead. A commentator to this article, geoffthereff, writes:
"Has the day finally arrived when the politicians discover that what they thought the people needed is not what they actually want." (sic).
Unfortunately, I doubt it in the U.K. or in the U.S. The ruling, political elite thinks they know what is best in the U.S. but then doesn't live by the rules they want to force on the people. See Al Gore, Tom Daschle, President Obama, and so on for recent examples.