‘Too big to fail’ is the mantra often used by die-hard EU supporters and federalists alike. However, with Anti-EU geopolitical tensions running rampant in the last decade, we are only now beginning to see the serious chinks in the armour of the EU. Italy, Greece and the UK have all had issues with the European Union’s way of governance and geopolitical interference. Whether it is the soaring unemployment in Greece, to the rejection of Italy’s seemingly reasonable budget plan in 2018, the overarching rule of the unelected commission, and bureaucrats in Brussels, isn’t going unnoticed.
The fundamental issue with the goals of the EU
EU federalists will cheer and champion the end goal of the EU as being the only way to ensure economic prosperity and geographical safety from future threats. The end goal of the EU is to effectively be a giant United States of America, with each of the 28 member states serving as one unit, legislation being passed on a federal level and allowing its member states, like in the US, to govern certain laws for themselves. This, in theory, will see us under one nation (let’s call it the United EU) with a purely ‘strength in numbers’ approach to its military and economy.
The big issue is people’s division on the matter. According to a poll by the Eurobarometer, 64% of the UK deny feeling, in any way, european. The European consensus, according to the handy chart below, suggests that 31% don’t affiliate with the EU. This does not take into account population proportioning of the nations. With this level of disdain, isolation or lack of affiliation, it is almost impossible to get cooperation with 28 member states that are so diametrically opposed in goals. It is even harder doing this whilst trying to balance peoples democratic rights and avoiding the direct usurping of power in an authoritarian fashion.
Why the EU is doomed to fail
With the end goal of the EU being a ‘United States of Europe’, it requires a dissolution of individualism and breaking down of country pride in order to focus on the collective idea. The big difference between the hypothetical ‘United EU’ and the US is that everybody in the US sees themselves as american with only most notably Texas having very high levels of state pride. This is diametrically opposed to the ‘United EU’ who currently have massive levels of nation pride or ‘state pride’. When a group or collective gets too big, it is hard to have an affinity with it. People will just fragment and retreat back into their comfort zone. Trying to force that change would be met with the backlash of nearly 200 million people with no affinity to the EU and it would crumble.
This is enhanced further by the radically opposing ideologies, cultures and geopolitical tensions within EU borders anyway. The EU is full of countries who are in a fundamentally different economic position and want different things from the EU and the single market. Importantly, they are only looking out for their own interests (like any self-governing country would do). This leads to disagreements in the distribution of finances and we have seen it rupture the relationship between Greece and Germany for example. Expecting this level of coexistence with so much love for the greater cause is almost going to be impossible to achieve.
One of the big issues of the EU is people affinity with it because of its lack of transparency. The EU has not categorically set out its aims, expectations and why it operates the way it does. The average lay-person has no idea why they are listening to some unelected bureaucrat in Brussels telling them what to do. They don’t know what they do for them, they don’t know why they do what they do. The problem is a lack of evident hierarchical structure. People in Brussels are simply too far away from people on the local level. Changes to legislation, at the upper end of the EU, doesn’t necessarily filter down to change individual micro-behaviors at the local level.
Even if the EU formed as a mega state with all 511 million people at it’s disposal, it would quickly fragment as internal conflict would cause members to retreat to their own societies. It couldn’t physically last. Especially as democracy is the driving political system among our western world. People fought for it and want to retain it. It was the main reason for the fall of the USSR and democratic disagreements would likely lead to the downfall of the EU. It has been seen in the debacle of Brexit. Nearly all of the UK political parties have been accused of ‘going against democracy’ in how they’ve conducted themselves. I believe it isn’t possible to achieve that level of coalition without authoritative force.
The EU, as we know it, is going to crumble. It is just a matter of when.