Do you see a European federation/superstate eventually being created?

Nov 2010
7,404
Cornwall
#11
It is the dream of some, which is the big problem with Europe and why people want out - it's not to do with the economics.

How these people cant see the connection with places like Yugoslavia is beyond me.
 
Mar 2016
741
Australia
#12
We will, but I think what you're saying is highly unlikely. I don't see Germany being in a position to dominate anyone. They're neutered, if anything.

Much of the whole point of the EU is to put Germany into a context where they don't feel they have to turn mad and create continent wide wars once every half century. I mean it's not like the Germans were completely unjustified in their paranoia from 1871 (if not earlier even, looking at Prussian history) forward, just look at them - they are surrounded on all sides
With the strongest economy in Europe, being the #1 trade partner of many European countries, and having one of the largest populations in Europe, I don’t see how Germany wouldn’t take a naturally dominant position in any “federation”, just like Virginia did in the United States.
 

AlpinLuke

Ad Honoris
Oct 2011
25,222
Lago Maggiore, Italy
#13
This sounds like the best compromise, in theory at least - although I am unsure whether such a political entity might not have to take the steps towards a full federation, or something similar to it to be functional. How do you see this working out in practice? Would there be a common defence and foreign policy (as well as common currency) but no common budgets?
Until there won't be a shared policy about the management of the national public debts, I think that we will see a European Confederation with a common foreign policy, a common defense policy, but with a separate confederal budget. This will be the most sensitive point to deal with. I imagine a progressive process starting with coordinated national budgets [today there are rules and limits, but the content of a national budget is not coordinated with the other budgets, only discussed with EU].
 
Apr 2018
702
Upland, Sweden
#14
With the strongest economy in Europe, being the #1 trade partner of many European countries, and having one of the largest populations in Europe, I don’t see how Germany wouldn’t take a naturally dominant position in any “federation”, just like Virginia did in the United States.
It's one thing to be primus inter pares, it's quite another to be a hegemon. Germany is strong, but it is not that strong. France is very big as well, so is Italy. Poland is not that big, but it has a lot of rapport with the other eastern countries ("the Visegrad group"), which have some of the most dynamic economies in Europe. Yes, Germany is economically stronger right now, but it also has a declining population and a massive self-destructive persecutor-complex making sure they are almost incapable of wielding any real hard power, especially in regards to security policy - at least that's what I think.

Germany will always be important, but I don't think they have either mentality, ability or legitimacy to lead by themselves. Many southern Europeans strongly disliked what they felt was German overbearing parsimoniousness during the (ongoing?) fiscal crisis. If the EU is to hold together Germany cannot take too powerful a role, and I think the Germans are aware of that also. Their power is mainly negative, in the sense that "nothing can happen without them". Maybe that will change in the future, but I don't think so. I think the Germans largely identify themselves with "Europe", "niceness", "humanism" etc. these days, which is both a blessing and a curse for the rest of us. Of course the AfD is on the rise... so we'll see...
 
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AlpinLuke

Ad Honoris
Oct 2011
25,222
Lago Maggiore, Italy
#15
With the strongest economy in Europe, being the #1 trade partner of many European countries, and having one of the largest populations in Europe, I don’t see how Germany wouldn’t take a naturally dominant position in any “federation”, just like Virginia did in the United States.
This is one of the reasons why the Confederation is a better solution. In the perspective of the creation of a real European federation, we should consider the option to renounce to national states and to create regional states. In US there is even who would like to divide California because it's too big to be a state of the Union ...

But this is a well far future. Today nationalisms are coming back in some form and the national states are to remain there.
 
Feb 2019
211
Serbia
#16
It depends on how the political climate develops. If things go on like they are now and even escalate further into extremes I think that we will only drift away from this idea, however if not we might see a closer political-economic union and maybe even a confederation, after that maybe even a federation but that is just a guess. I hope it does not happen, the European continent has many diverse cultures and nations that will not give up their sovereignty in a federation or lose some of their independence in a confederation. Being a Serb we know from history what happens when you try to put different nations with different cultures in a single state, in the case of a European federation I think that it will probably end up like Yugoslavia or Austria-Hungary. Strong on the surface but full of internal problems that will lead to a horrible collapse. European nations are strong by themselves, I think that a common military alliance and closer cooperation betwen nations is necessary if we look at competition with the USA or China or even Russia but a federation or a confederation just for that is unnecessary.
 
Apr 2018
702
Upland, Sweden
#17
Until there won't be a shared policy about the management of the national public debts, I think that we will see a European Confederation with a common foreign policy, a common defense policy, but with a separate confederal budget. This will be the most sensitive point to deal with. I imagine a progressive process starting with coordinated national budgets [today there are rules and limits, but the content of a national budget is not coordinated with the other budgets, only discussed with EU].
Right. That sounds credible actually.

Are coordinated national budgets really that necessary though? I mean, to me the obvious solution is to allow countries to do whatever they like domestically, and just use the EU for certain common matters (defence, foreign policy, trade, environmental policy). Not to be a nag, but I like the Swiss model: I don't think they systematize or oversee cantonal budgets (although I am not sure), instead they simply allow the different cantons to compete with one another. There was even this example in the 80s of one canton breaking of from another because of tax-reasons, essentially. Obviously you need a common budget for the things I mentioned (like we even have today) but I don't think why the EU should have anything to do with domestic budgets... in principle. If the EU has the right to levy some taxes (like VAT) then this problem would be addressed.

In practice, I see your point (it's about harmonizing dept levels, competetiveness, eliminating free riding on the artificially low interest rate more fit for German than Greek circumstances etc.). Perhaps my preferred strategy will be too divisive in Europe, and be considered "unacceptable" by the bureaucratic champagne socialists... but it would be more fair, i think, and actually work better in the long term. The alternative is a massive control freak system where Brussels has to have opinions about everything, just because Brussels is afraid of the southern memberstates failing economically and (I hope you don't find this offensive being Italian) the politicians of the southern - and eastern - memberstates want handouts or bailouts. The EU should not play the subsidy and bailout game to begin with if you ask me - if it did not, then there would be no need for budgetary harmonization, as nobody would expect the EU to come and bail them out when things are tough, or expect any money from it ---> the countries who are expected to fund the bailouts/ handouts will have no interest in creating control mechanisms to infringe upon the sovereignty of countries like Greece (which the Greeks obviously find humiliating, I would too). Of course this would demand accepting that sometimes countries fail economically. I am okay with that, but the paranoid Brussels politicians afraid of any dent in legitimacy of the EU might not be. Obviously this undermines legitimacy, as well as productivity, even more in the long term.

Another problem, besides legitimacy, with the current system is that time, energy and money spent on caring about harmonizing domestic policy across memberstates is time, energy and money they could have spent on caring for common European interests, like for example setting up a common European patent office (we still don't have that) or an AI strategy contra China (and maybe the US?). I fear that the strategy you (if I have understood you correctly) are saying the EU will eventually take here would actually create a "comission of public safety", where Brussels can regulate everything and there are no clear dividing lines of power between the nation-states and the EU, while simultaneously being unfocused and ineffective.

This last thing actually seems to be the problem today, and one of the things I dislike most about the current EU. In some ways the EU has it easier making legislation that (indirectly) influences domestic policy in all sorts of areas, even in areas that it formally isn't allowed to influence (like social security) than it has in dealing with the real hard issues (sexurity, foreign policy, some aspects of common economic policy, AI etc.). The end result: the memberstates become jealous, and want to "hoard" what national sovereignty they have by focusing on the core aspects of it (foreign policy, security defence, sole right to taxation). The end result is that we have a "bottom heavy" EU, a kind of "reverse federation" that lacks meaningful hard power, while also encouraging inefficent as well as illegitimate centralization and harming the competetiveness of the memberstates.

-----

But yes, I am aware that what I am advocating is a massive break from the current system
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
15,559
SoCal
#19
I see your point, and Brexit certainly seems to have encouraged many of the so called "euro-skeptics". On the other hand, I also think there is an argument to be made that the UK leaving actually increases the chance of a Federal Europe happening rather than decreasing it. As @Futurist pointed out, the UK's hostility to deeper integration probably put a hold on explicit drives in this direction in the past. Now there are all sorts of other things happening, like Macron calling for a United States of Europe etc.

Personally I think some kind of European Federation is essential if the countries of continental Europe are to maintain any meaningful political influence and autonomy on the world stage in the 21st century. On the other hand, I'm not too keen on my country loosing its identity and room to maneuver to subsidize inefficient and corrupt practices in other parts of the continent. My ideal would look like a giant Switzerland, rather than what the EU looks like today (being run by bureaucrats with the dirigiste mentality of parisian chapagne socialist bureaucrats). In fact, if the EU keeps being run by people with values like those of for example Emmanuel Macron I'd rather Sweden leave, and try it's luck on it's own - even if that is unlikely to work out in the long run; more realistically though, I see the EU changing. Many of the so called "euro-skeptics" in continental Europe have shifted from advocating outright leavning (not too many did to begin with) to advocating vast reform of the EU instead - like the Sweden Democrats over here for example.

My favourite example in these discussions is Victor Orban's call for a European army in 2016. Not every country in Europe is the UK, but because of the universal (and increasing) dominance of english as a media language there is often a weird framing of the entire discussion, especially in "populist" circles with a very strange implicit assumption that all countries on the continent have similar interests and similar historical experiences to the UK. To quote the polish ex foreign minister Radek Sikorski: You were not occupied. Most of us on the continent were. We will do almost anything to prevent that happening again.
Do you think that the federal structure of the US could also be a good model for a unified European federation?

It depends on how the political climate develops. If things go on like they are now and even escalate further into extremes I think that we will only drift away from this idea, however if not we might see a closer political-economic union and maybe even a confederation, after that maybe even a federation but that is just a guess. I hope it does not happen, the European continent has many diverse cultures and nations that will not give up their sovereignty in a federation or lose some of their independence in a confederation. Being a Serb we know from history what happens when you try to put different nations with different cultures in a single state, in the case of a European federation I think that it will probably end up like Yugoslavia or Austria-Hungary. Strong on the surface but full of internal problems that will lead to a horrible collapse. European nations are strong by themselves, I think that a common military alliance and closer cooperation betwen nations is necessary if we look at competition with the USA or China or even Russia but a federation or a confederation just for that is unnecessary.
To be honest, I think that Yugoslavia and A-H could have been more sustainable if they would have been turned into genuine federal states with each ethnic group having genuine large-scale autonomy over its own affairs. Think of a European version of the US.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
15,559
SoCal
#20
We will, but I think what you're saying is highly unlikely. I don't see Germany being in a position to dominate anyone. They're neutered, if anything.

Much of the whole point of the EU is to put Germany into a context where they don't feel they have to turn mad and create continent wide wars once every half century. I mean it's not like the Germans were completely unjustified in their paranoia from 1871 (if not earlier even, looking at Prussian history) forward, just look at them - they are surrounded on all sides
That was also part of the point of NATO--to keep the US in, the Russians out, and the Germans down!

Also, you are very much correct that if several prominent European countries team up, Germany can be neutered. For instance, if the Latin countries of the EU all team up with each other to counter German hegemony within the EU.