Integration: Anyone for a federal Europe?
12 October 2010
As it goes through another crisis of confidence, Europe has split into two opposing camps, those who seek to relaunch the federalist project, and those for a more British style loose form of membership. And it's very hard to tell which solution is the best. Excerpts.
Listen, for a moment, to the opinions (somewhat simplified and paraphrased) of a Veteran European Statesman. "The European Union is dead but long live Europe. There will never be another EU treaty. The 'reform' agreement signed in Lisbon three years ago was the high water mark of the old federal dream."
This (he goes on) is an opportunity, not a failure. "If we can bury the federal myth, we can create a leaner, meaner European project, driven largely by nation states and not by Brussels. We can create a much stronger, more practical European power – a 'puissance Europe' to preserve the European Way of Life from the assaults of a cheerless 21st century."
Who is talking? The phrase "puissance Europe" is the giveaway. The Veteran European Statesman (VES) is not British, even though his ideas closely resemble those of successive British governments for more than half a century (Edward Heath's administration in 1970-4 excepted). There is little in what our VES says that could not be endorsed by a moderate Euro-critic like William Hague or all but the most mouth-dribbling of xenophobes amongst Conservative eurosceptics.
The VES is French: Hubert Védrine, 63, French foreign minister from 1997-2002 and secretary-general (ie, chief aide) to the very European presidency of François Mitterrand from 1991 to 1995.
Védrine has never, admittedly, been a Eurofanatic. He has always had nationalist and sovereigntist tendencies (which, unlike some other French politicians, he has openly confessed). Read full article in The Independent...