For the past few decades, Europe has been growing ever-closer. Since the fifties, European states have decided to work together towards a political union, bringing with it a period of prosperity and peace. However, with Brexit, the EU now faces its first membership withdrawal, provoking a new period of uncertainty. Some see Brexit as the beginning of the end, while others see it as an opportunity to launch a United States of Europe.
This idea is nothing new. The notion of a European entity modelled off the United States was already discussed in the 19th century, and the term ‘United States of Europe’ was coined by Germany’s social democratic party in its 1925 Party Programme. Only last year, its party leader Martin Schulz was still calling for such a union. Similarly, in France, President Macron is pushing ahead with reforms meant to strengthen the EU. Yet, we are also simultaneously seeing the rise of elected officials whom explicitly reject the concept of an “ever closer union.” Some even call for the return to nation-states altogether.
What do our readers think? We received a comment from Antonio, who wishes to see the creation of a United States of Europe within the next 20 years. How realistic is this?
Will we ever have a United States of Europe? We asked Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from all sides of the political spectrum to stake out their positions on this question, and it’s up to YOU to vote for the policies you favour. See what the different MEPs have to say, then vote at the bottom of this debate for the one you most agree with! Take part in the vote below and tell us who you support in the European Parliament!
Well, I don’t believe in a United States of Europe, but there are many things that we need to improve in Europe: we need to improve public transparency and accountability; we need to tackle the double standards; we need to look at the way that social Europe has been sidelined, which is a shame; we need to look at how lobbyists have been able to influence policy developments in Europe; and we need to know that another Europe is possible.
But I don’t think that would be achieved if we were to go in the direction, as is suggested by Antonio, of a federal Europe. It needs to be a Europe that is made up of diversity and many member states that can tackle global challenges that we face at a European level. But, at a national level, national governments need to have the power to be able to deliver for their own citizens, the people who elected them, as opposed to being imposed a neoliberal model, which – when you look at what happened to Greece, what is happening in Catalonia with the double standards, and the ignoring of the annexation and colonization of the occupied territories of Palestine, and the annexation of Crimea – then you can see that there is a lot in Europe that needs to change, and I don’t think any of that can be achieved by the kind of Europe that is suggested by Antonio.
I hope that we will never have United States of Europe. This would be the end of national sovereignty, which is itself the bulwark of national identities. I am for a Europe of cooperation between sovereign states, not a European federal Leviathan.
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