The EU is on the road towards a single state and is already largely there.
30th March 2017
The European Union is an attempt to unify Europe under one centralised authority in a fundamentally similar fashion as tried for instance by the Roman Empire and Napoleon Bonaparte. The difference is that this time it's being attempted through a different method.
This is not a reference to the words of some eurosceptic as someone might assume. Like for instance a supporter of Britain leaving the EU. This is on the contrary a reference to a speech by former French President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, the main author of the European Constitution which was later renamed the Lisbon Treaty and is today the EU's supreme legislation.
The former French President delivered his speech on 29th May, 2003 in the city of Aachen, Germany while accepting the Charlemagne Prize for his contribution to EU integration. His words were meant to describe the EU's future with the then proposed European Constitution in place:
"Our continent has seen successive attempts at unifying it: Caesar, Charlemagne and Napoleon, among others. The aim has been to unify it by force of arms, by the sword. We, for our part, seek to unify it by the pen. Will the pen succeed where the sword has finally failed? In the scales of history, will the feathered quill outweigh the bloodstained blade?"
Last year, during the British EU referendum campaign, now Foreign Minister Boris Johnson pointed out pretty much the same thing while interviewed by the Sunday Telegraph. However, unlike in the case of Giscard d'Estaing Johnson's comments were condemned by EU proponents.
Johnson said European history had seen repeated attempts to unify the continent under a single authority. People such as Napoleon, Adolf Hitler and others had tried this with tragic results. Now it was being done through a different method. While Giscard d'Estaing did not refer to Hitler directly he clearly did so indirectly with the words "among others". Whether intentional or not.
Giscard d'Estaing went on saying he thought this time the unification of the European continent would succeed "because our success today is based on the free choice of the peoples of Europe to organise their common future. We shall have the answer in the months to come."
The EU got an answer when the European Constitution was rejected in referendums in France and the Netherlands in 2005. How did Brussels react to that free choice of the French and Dutch peoples? They decided that the voters of other EU members should not be asked and the European Constitution would be re-branded as the Lisbon Treaty and implemented anyway.
The main force driving the EU integration has indeed been the centuries old desire to create a single European state. With or without public approval. It's actually quite hard to find an EU leader in the last thirty years or so who hasn't called for a single state in one way or another.
This ultimate objective has already largely materialised. While the EU is not yet formally recognised as a single state it can be argued that in many ways the bloc is today more politically centralised than some formal states such as Switzerland. In fact it has been pointed out that in certain areas the Lisbon Treaty entails more centralised authority than the United States Constitution.
However, not everyone can obviously point this out in the eyes of EU proponents. This point can be made in order to justify further EU integration but not to criticise it. That, however, doesn't change the fact that the EU is on the road towards a single state and is already largely there.