The EU unveiled I: A failed promise
Updated on 12 April 2023
Make no mistake: in historical perspective the European Union has been a great success. For about 1000 years Europe was a place of “warring states”. Today’s national states slowly emerged from a struggle for mastery in Europe overlaid by religiously motivated sectarian strife. After two world wars, Europe no longer is in a position to tear itself apart anew. Economic integration first of Western Europe, and now the ongoing process of undoing the outcome of WWII for Eastern Europe makes internecine war impossible. Yet Europe disappoints, and the emerging political structure has limited popular support. Pundits have emptied rivers of ink over the fact that most people remain suspicious of the European Union. I shall not add to this chorus of lamentations, but rather point to a point that I have yet to see in print. The European Union is all about the “four freedoms of movement”: goods, services, capital, and people. Over the years, substantive progress has been made. It is this kind of integration that renders war impossible: no country now has an autochthonous and self-reliant industrial and agricultural structure capable of waging or sustaining the war effort. If nuts are produced in Germany, the bolts come from Spain, or Greece. There is one glaring exception to this integration, and I’ll ask you to identify it. Think hard.