European Unity? Not Quite
What is going on with the European Union? Last week both France and Holland rejected the monstrous 448-article constitution (ours, as you know, has 7 articles). In addition it seems that Italy may drop the Euro, which has been losing against the dollar, and returning to the Lira (Italian Welfare Minister Roberto Maroni has said that "during the last three years, the Euro has turned out to be inadequate..."). In the same week, Germany's Economy Minister also spoke out against the Euro. He claims, says the UK Telegraph, "that the perverse effects of monetary union were strangling German industry." France and Germany have record high unemployment rates. The Bank of Italy predicts that there will be no economic growth throughout 2005. What has happened to the promise of European unity?
Of course the unity was never there in the first place. Europeans would like to present a united front but the individual desires and identities of the members are too powerful to allow for that. Heritage Foundation Research Fellow John Hulsman explains that the two extremes are France and England. France would like to see a socialist, protectionist anti-American Europe, while England would like the Union to be pro-America and pro-free trade.
With the introduction of the 448-article constitution, written largely by former French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing, Europeans finally had a chance to vote on the EU. The failure (and impending failure) of these votes demonstrates the Europeans’ dissatisfaction not only with the constitution, but with the introduction of the Euro, about which they were not asked, about the 10 new members, about which they were not asked, etc. Europeans are finally given a chance to protest the inch-by-inch destruction of their individuality as nations.
World bodies are generally failures. The United Nations is a failure and always has been. The UN can’t do anything of value because the members cannot agree on what should be done.
The EU also has too many members, and makes the additional mistake of attempting to legislate away the rights of individual citizens of individual countries, which citizens object to -- the Dutch want to be Dutch, not European; the English want to be English; the French want to be French (for some reason).
In order for the EU to avoid becoming an embarrassing reminder of European disunity two things have to happen: First, the EU has to get smaller. Second, the EU has to stop looking at itself as a governing body. Each nation remains sovereign and governs itself -- keeps its own currency, its own individual laws, and its own constitution. The EU therefore becomes an economic agreement, as it used to be in the common market days.
The odds are against the EU rescuing itself, though, because the rescue would run contrary to two nearly inviolable laws of bureaucracy: 1) Once it is large, it will only get larger. 2) Once it has power, it will only get more power. This means that the EU is headed for disaster, which is not necessarily a bad thing. (The last thing the world needs, of course, is another super-power to balance the United States). The EU may remain on the scene for many years, just like the United Nations; nevertheless it is likely that, once again like the UN, it will stop being taken seriously long before its demise.