There is far too much economic/wealth disparity between various EU states for a common currency to ever work out. I’m no economist and only vaguely understand the things I read about that. But it’s certainly discussed muchly among economists and policy-experts and op-ed writers.
Paul Krugman has written op-eds about that many many times over the years in his NYT column. (Sorry, I didn’t see any obvious mentions in his page of recent links, other than Brexit-specific stuff.) His basic thesis is that integrated monetary/fiscal policies over the entire EU-wide region simply don’t work when you have such major economic disparities like you see between Germany (economically rich and powerful) versus Greece (economic basket case).
The information I’ve read about the EU is so different from other treaty organizations. The more I’ve read about it the EU sounded like it had grand aspirations to be a sovereign state. Thankfully unfulfilled.
The EU already does lots of things that sovereign states do. It negotiates, signs and ratifies treaties with undoubted sovereign states (including the US). It exchanges ambassadors. It has citizens. It makes laws, which have effect in an identified territory. It issues currency. Etc, etc.
Of course, there are things that other sovereigns do that the EU does not do. It doesn’t have an army, most obviously. But the main difference between your typical sovereign state and the EU is that the EU’s component entities are themselves internationally sovereign states, who make treaties, exchange ambassadors, maintain armies, etc. in a way that is not true for the component entities of the US, Canada, Australia, etc.
So, as far as international law and politics go, the EU is unique. It shares a lot of the characteristics and functions of sovereign states, but in some respects it looks more like an international organisation. The EU’s own term to describe itself is “supranational”. It’s not a national entity, like other sovereign states; it’s not an international organisation, like the UNO or the WHO or UNESCO; it’s supranational.
I think the only way it can become a conventional sovereign state is if the member states give up their international sovereign status. I don’t see that happening any time soon.
Maybe not in our lifetime (hey, some of us are old) but 200-500 years is far too large a time-scale. It could easily change in 50-100 years.
The key to EU success is that everyone doesn’t want war any more, which was Europe’s most abiding traditional practice for most of the previous 19 centuries. WWII taught them a lesson – possibly the same lesson that the American Civil War taught the U.S. A loss of regional sovereignty and a centralized government is one of the best ways not to get into a war with your neighbors.
Too Much, much Too Soon. Maybe in 4-5 generations (assuming France and Germany don’t go at it again), and maybe this “common” currency, Parliament, Bank, Travel Zone, etc. will sound natural to European ears; but now? Much, Much Too Soon.
When the massive graveyards of WWII revert to weeds, all the pics get lost or destroyed, maybe then, the people’s Grandchildren can talk of being a “Single Entity”.
I didn’t think the UK would actually lose its senses like this.
Bit of a chicken and egg situation here. The whole point of the European project has always been to prevent recurrence of war between the European states by insuring that their identities are so pooled, and their interests are so intertwined, as to make war between them all but impossible.
Insisting that this objective must already be achieved before the project can get under way seems illogical.
To me seeing it as an outsider, the biggest problem with the EU is that it is neither here nor there. By that, I mean that it’s somewhat more than just a mostly overlapping combination of a customs union, common currency and free trade zones, but it’s not a real federal system either. The member nations seem to retain almost too much of their sovereignty for the union to really work like the folks in Brussels seem to want it to work, and it’s already considered too intrusive by some (UK, for example).
And I’m not sure exactly how you’d get to a fully federal system either; I don’t see say… the Netherlands being willing to essentially take on the level of sovereignty of a US state, nor do I see France doing so either. Beyond that, if you did go fully federal, I’d imagine that the hodge-podge of not having exactly proportional representation by population would become very problematic, as it would give the smaller states outsized representation.
At least I can see the EU eventually becoming one big country. The 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) laughably likes to think of itself as an Asian version of the EU, but I can’t see them even having a common currency here, let alone become a single sovereign entity, not for a very long time indeed. That one may actually take 1000 years. There’s a lot of distrust and intrigue to this day.
Which also reflects how the different members, as the Union evolved from the Common Market, each saw different things in what were they putting into and getting out of it, while the professional Eurocrats seem to have their whole own vision of what it should be all about and that may not map to that of a majority of the members (or even of any!) at any given time.
I’ve been reading about the EU since the Brexit vote. I’m looking at as an outsider too. Trying to make sense of it.
The EU has powers that just doesn’t make sense. The laws passed by the European Court of Justice for example really ticked off a lot of the Leave voters. Why would member nations want to follow EU laws? Each member nation already has their own laws. Immigration was another hot topic for Leave voters. The Euro has its critics. The EU is dabbling into all sorts of areas normally reserved for sovereign states. It’s so strange and I’m surprised the member nations ever allowed the EU to grow into these areas.
Thankfully I don’t live in Europe or the UK. If people want to live under the EU then thats their choice. I’m thankful the US isn’t part of it.
This doesn’t seem that different from asking ‘Why would Massachusetts or Virginia want to follow federal laws?’. And yet, both of them signed on to the Constitution, and on the whole it’s worked out pretty well.