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March 23, 2007

Would We Invent the EU Now?

Dan Hannan seems to think not:

The US was born out of a popular revolt against a remote government, and its constitution is consequently concerned with the rights of the individual and the constraint of government.

The Treaty of Rome is concerned with precisely the opposite principle: "ever-closer union". The EU's founding fathers had a guarded attitude towards democracy which, in their eyes, had led to fascism and war. So they deliberately vested supreme power with functionaries who would be immune to public opinion.

Would we really invent such a system today? Wouldn't we aim for something more democratic, less centralised? Something that allowed members to determine their internal affairs? I've even thought of a name for it. How about "European Free Trade Association"?

My own feeling is that if we did not already have the EU then yes, people would be trying to invent it. However, now that we've seen how it actually turned out, the question is how do we uninvent it?

March 23, 2007 in European Union | Permalink


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Maybe we could have some sort of "constitution" which limited the powers of the "union." It's a crazy idea but it might just work.

Posted by: Marcin Tustin | Mar 23, 2007 10:57:59 AM

We have spent the last 30 years trying to ininvent it or "reform" it is generally called. It has been like wading through quicksand. The answer is to get out.

Posted by: Neil Craig | Mar 23, 2007 1:26:16 PM

I wonder. I rather suspect that EFTA would be sidelined now as it was when Britain pleaded to get into the EEC. The founding fathers, were they around now, would still have no truck with democracy or free trade or small government.

Posted by: Helen | Mar 23, 2007 4:01:14 PM

In George Orwell's collected 1939-45 war journalism, I seem to remember a discussion about the UKs future alliances - one option was closer integration with the US. Oh how I wish it had happened...

As a longterm goal I wonder whether the Anglosphere idea might have some momentum - US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand. As Mark Steyn has noticed, this is the de facto effective international military already. Maybe this could be combined with closer economic cooperation.

I could get behind that.

Posted by: Bruce G Charlton | Mar 23, 2007 6:20:59 PM