The EU wishes to become a nation state

The EU wishes to become a nation state

Here are the aims of the next President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyden.

Is she alone? Are these just some aberrant views not shared by other European leaders, who despite this nominated her to the most powerful office in the EU? Many Remain supporters express doubt that this is actually the EU’s aim, instead believing the lie that ‘a vote for Remain is a vote for the status quo.’ Last month I was accused of ‘paranoia’ and this being my ‘pet apocalypse’ for saying that a factor behind my decision to vote Leave was the EU’s desire to become a nation state.

Well no, it’s not unusual. Below are some top EU leaders openly supporting federalism. I’ve deliberately just picked some of the biggest names that people are likely to have heard of; if we went down to vice-presidents, group leaders and deputies one could find many more.

Even leaders who don’t explicitly back the federal project consistently push for more Europe. Macron, for example, has called for an EU-wide minimum wage, an EU army and greater harmony in many other areas. And of course the call for ‘Ever Closer Union’ is baked into the EU treaties themselves, a course of direction that can only have one end.

This is not remotely secret or a strange conspiracy theory. Full political integration is the openly stated goal of many current EU leaders and was baked into the ideals of the EU from the beginning:

There is nothing fundamentally wrong with this ambition. It is not one I share, but it is not in any way immoral or evil. There are, I know, some Remain voters who share this ambition, in which case they are right to wish to Remain. And, of course, it is not inevitable that the EU will be successful: the next financial crisis could cause it to fissure, stopping the federalist project in its tracks.

However, history teaches us that it is generally a good idea to believe political leaders when they say they want to do something controversial – particularly when it’s something we might prefer they didn’t. Given the EU has publicly, openly and consistently told us its direction of travel for the last half century, we would be well advised to take them at their word. And when considering our own position on Brexit, we should consider the possibility of a nation of Europe to be a likely circumstance within our lifetime – as if we do not wish to be part of it, much easier to get off now, than further down the route of Ever Closer Union.

5 thoughts on “The EU wishes to become a nation state

  1. I still think it would have been easier to wait till the EU tried to put through a treaty change to make us one country, said no until they really really wanted us to leave, and then agree to leave so long as the deal was good enough. Obviously this is a strategy which was dead as soon as Cameron called his referendum.

    1. There are two issues with this:
      1) Salami slicing. The EU would never have put forward such a treaty until well after we were actually one country. Incrementalism means there is unlikely to be a definitive point to take a stand until it’s too late.
      2. Lack of confidence that our leaders would do this, or give us a referendum on which to have our say, especially after Cameron’s betrayal on the Lisbon Treaty.

      1. Expert as the EU is at salami slicing I think even they would struggle to salami slice us into a federal state without us noticing.
        I take more seriously the leader problem. However I wonder if Cameron was stuffed legally on the Lisbon treaty – since it was already ratified I suspect he received legal advice that while he could hold a referendum on it, if people voted against he couldn’t unratify it, his only option would article 50 (from the school of the wheels of European integration only turn one way).

        1. This is optimistic – they’re already doing it.

          Does having a flag define a nation state? An anthem? Limits on working time and VAT? A directly elected Parliament? An EU seat at the WTO and G20? Powers of direction over voting?

          No? How about a directly elected President? An EU-wide minimum wage? Powers of direct taxation? An EU army? An EU seat on the UN Security Council? Power of veto over national budgets? A common foreign and security policy?

          What would it take then?

          All of the second paragraph are either mooted or in the process of being delivered (army and power of veto). Both they and those in the first are being brought in gradually, not all at once. Just as we didn’t move in one go from an absolute monarch to a purely ceremonial one, it happened gradually and there wasn’t a single point you could say it changed.

          It’s likely that individual national parliaments – and symbols such as the Queen – would still exist (just as state legislatures do in the USA) long after individual nations had effectively ceased to exist.

          1. An EU army would do it, but notice this is only being discussed because we’re leaving (hopefully), and before that everyone knew we would block it.

            I thought the EU budget veto was about the Eurozone?

            What were your thoughts re: the Cameron/Lisbon point.

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