Nation-states were the problem: supranationality was not the answer.
1) Did the founders ever asked themselves what would happen to "Europe" (virtual state!) if their "technocratic elites" were captured by a foreign hegemon that turned their EU construct into simple vassals?.
2) Did the founders ever asked themselves what would happen to "Europe" if their "technocratic elites" ever turned it into a Kakistocracy?
For an observer from the "Jungle", I can see that their construct is doomed to disappear because of the flaws of their original axioms. As it stands today, the EU is a de facto Kakistocracy and a mere US vassal entity. The dog does not even bark when their Suzerain blows up their energy infrastructure!
How can the headless chickens running the EU chicken coop free themselves from the shackles of the hegemon? Russia is not their enemy, the US is.
"One would have been to draw on the immense cultural, intellectual and linguistic heritage of Europe, its complex history and its Christian and Classical roots, to construct a collective European sensibility and mentality”.
Of all China's strengths, its cultural patrimony is probably its greatest, as Fernand Braudel suggests. "Imagine the impact on European civilization of a series of Imperial dynasties maintaining the self-same style and significance from Caesar Augustus until the First World War. Now imagine such a civilization existing on the other side of the planet unaware of Greek philosophy, the alphabet, Roman governance, Christianity, feudalism, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment or democracy, but with its own, unique cultural and institutional correlates that exceeded all of them in intellectual subtlety and material success”.
And being on the same cultural page pays big dividends, as Keynes observed: “Planning should take place in a community in which as many people as possible, both leaders and followers, wholly share your own moral position. Moderate planning will be safe if those carrying it out are rightly orientated in their minds and hearts to the moral issue”.
Agree. The EU was a top down construct not anchored in history. Such edifices usually fail but have potential to cause great harm before they do. Burkes critique of the French Revolution’s attempt to reinvent the world is a useful reference here.
Agree too that it was based on an incorrect read that European wars were caused by ordinary people. But they typically went along while elites led. After all, the Nazis were dominated by intellectuals even though Hitler himself had no serious academic qualifications. Bismarck created universal suffrage precisely to frustrate the popular will and so forth.
The missing piece is the role of the US. It dominates both at the government to government level, by exerting power at the level of individual politicians with offers of jobs and money, as well as through corporations. In the past thirty years it has been able to use the EU as an extension of its own power in order to control Europe. Europe can only move forward if it takes control of its own destiny and kicks the US out.
I hate to say it (one of my degrees was from a U.S. school and I spent two happy years there plus have spent over two decades working for US anchored firms) but the US foreign policy establishment (not the people) is the biggest threat to the world right now
Racial Hate papered over, is like the Chinese Proverb, holding fire in a paper bag. Europe made itself rich by diverting the hate of others practiced and refined on its seas and plains, which gave it a technological edge in the business of slaughter of other Europeans into the business of pillaging others further away, richer and more alien than the war worn and be-beggared of Europe. However old habits die hard, and now it will be a hard dying by Europe as it let the hate burn through the bag and directed it at a Slavic nation that has centuries of experience in stomping out such fires. It no longer holds the technological advantage in industrial murder, and all it's other assets, education, and skills are even easier to overtake today now that it can no longer use force to suppress others even in the global south. The colonial French Franc is dead, and the USD is debauched.
I'd read commentary from the early days of the European union movement (early 2950s, I think) that described Schuman, Adenauer, and Gaspari all as "Catholic Germans," so your analogy to the Catholic Christendom (and Charlemagne symbology) has been around for a long time. I don't think those three men would even deny it too strenuously.
Aurelien says: "After the end of the Ukrainian crisis, when the debris has stopped bouncing, European states will have to learn to live with Russia, individually and collectively."
I'm reluctant to disagree with our August host, but here I must. I believe the current insanely intense anti-Russian propaganda campaign will result in an EU that is, ultimately, going to become the new sacrificial lamb for Cold War II/ World War III.
We are already seeing things like the decision to ignore Hungary's veto on funding Ukraine, the determination by EU member states to make their nations into clubs like Ukraine - la Baerbock's "We're backing Ukraine, to hell with the voters" to the various Eastern European nations forcong support for Ukraine down a disinterested population's throats. The states of the EU are already enthusiastically turning their police on protestors, with, I expect more and worse to come.
Collapse of the EU (and its' component states) is a best case scenario. I think a neo-fascist kleptocratic dystopia WAY more likely. How long can that last? I dunno, but I'm not counting on a rapid triumph of popular opposition.
The correct phrase in paragraph 21 is ‘it surpasses belief..”, not “it passes belief..”
The hipocrisy of this "Europe" is one of the reasons.
They are the most totalitarian hypocrites.
And most of them totally misunderstand all things about Russia.
Freedom of movement will not collapse because of a surge of Ukrainian refugees whatever the economic strains. For Europeans especially the young - this aspect of the EU is the one that makes the most impact on one's day to day life. Can't find a job in Athens - head to Berlin or Stockholm etc. Need a vacation home to spend some time in the sun - you can buy in the Algarve or the Costa del Sol. EU citizens won't give this right up and given declining birthrates the Ukrainian influx may be a boon if Europe can stem the deindustrialization stemming from high energy prices.