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A Common Defense Could Make the European Union Great Again

May 30, 2019 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

The European people have voted and left political devastation in
their wake. The established ruling order continues to collapse. To
do more than simply survive, the European Union needs to reconsider
its geopolitical ambitions.

European leaders need to abandon their attempts to create an
ever more intrusive continental government and instead emphasize
tasks that only international cooperation can achieve. The most
obvious EU responsibility should be sustaining a free European
market. The most transformational would be developing a serious
European security system.

The EU began in 1951 as an organization limited in function and
membership. It was designed to help reconstruct the continent after
World War II and reconcile long-time enemies France and Germany.
Six years later came the European Economic Community, or Common
Market, which freed trade among the organization’s members.
Still, old antagonisms refused to die: French President Charles de
Gaulle blocked membership for his wartime allies in London.

The supranational giant
has assumed unnecessary powers-but protecting the continent should
be its responsibility.

In 1993, the Maastricht Treaty transformed the so-called
European Project, setting the objective of an “ever-closer
union among the peoples of Europe.” The EU’s
institutions came to resemble those of an actual government,
including a parliament and various executive bodies and agencies.
The EU also expanded its legal and regulatory supremacy over
national policy.

The organization still was not a real state, but more than a few
European leaders envisioned creating a United States of Europe. A
growing gaggle of bureaucrats, politicians, lobbyists, and
journalists filled Brussels. A new Eurocratic elite continued to
expand EU authority and even created a common currency, the Euro.
When tying together economies with substantially different fiscal
and monetary policies resulted in crisis, Eurocrats pressed for
further political integration, including oversight by Brussels of
national budgets, the core responsibility of any sovereign
government.

Still, even Euro-friendly Germans were not willing to turn
control of their economy over to the fiscal wastrels in Rome,
Athens, and elsewhere. And the EU is no country. It has a flag that
no one salutes and three squabbling presidents whom people mock. No
one roots for a European football (soccer) team: fan enthusiasms
are strictly national.

The greatest gulf between theory and reality is the EU’s
pretension to be a Weltmacht even though it has no military. And
despite decades of proposals to develop a formal European defense
and security policy, little of substance has occurred.

EU members remain deeply divided on many international issues.
Much more separates European countries than American states, which
had independent identities but shared cultures and histories; the
colonies also fought together to win independence and forge a
nation. Despite the Civil War, they did not …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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