Would a U.S. of Europe basically be a big Germany?

Leader of the second most important government party in Germany, Martin Shulz, called for a united states of Europe to be made in 2025. ( Martin Schulz wants 'United States of Europe' within eight years | Germany | The Guardian )

Let’s say that it is made, would that country basically be a territory under almost complete control of Germany?

He himself already said it:

The drafting process of such a constitutional treaty, Schulz said, should involve citizens across the Continent. Once drafted, it would “be presented to the member states, and those who are against it will simply leave the EU,” he said, adding that Poland was already systematically undermining European values and Hungary was increasingly isolating itself.

Although still not in the EU, Serbia, Macedonia and Bosnia didn’t put sanctions on Russia due to friendly relations with it, so if they join this “USE”, would that mean that they would have to submit to whatever Germany wants and put sanctions on Russia or automatically be thrown out as Shulz himself says?

What about NATO? Would USE be a discrete way to make all EU/USE members parts of NATO? A defense treaty called PESCO was signed by EU members and it includes Austria, Cyprus, Finland and Sweden, although none of them are part of NATO.

I’m having a hard time seeing your hypothetical. Based on the articles linked to in your op, it sounds like Shulz is having trouble forming a government now. Nevermind that it seems like he’s trying to transition the EU into the US of E with only token input from other member states.
I’m not trying to say that’s the case, but it seems like that from the articles you linked. Can you provide links to stories that focus more on the idea of forming a USE and less on Shulz’s current difficulties forming a government?

If Shulz wants a truly democraticly formed USE I doubt that at the end of the process it would be an entirely Germany dominated government. I also don’t believe that it will happen by 2025

If such a union somehow did not include France, then yes, it would be basically a larger Germany. Germany already has a disproportionate amount of influence in monetary policy.

If such a union included France, then somehow or another I have a feeling that France would have a few choice things to say on the subject.

No. It would be a democratic country and Germany only has 16% of the population of the EU.

No more than the U.S.A. is a big California or New York.

(Although, alas, we are kinda a big Texas.)

Language will remain a factor. Already, for the first time ever, nearly all Europeans speak a common language within their national borders. The is a strong trend toward phono-nationalsm, with national boundaries the same as linguistic boundaries. So Europe, under present trends, would be very resistant to a multi-lingual “nation”.

Thus, expect a US of Europe only when a single language dominates, and that will certainly be English, not German. Despite the dyslogic of WWII vets, who would argue by analogy that “if Germany had lost the war, they’d all be speaking English there”.

Somewhere, Hitler is reading this thread, and smiling.

In many cases, population is irrelevant. What actually matters is GDP. And Germany produces 21% of the combined EU’s GDP. “He who has the gold makes the rules.”

If the UK is not involved, and it presumably would not be, then France is the only country with enough economic clout to act as a counterweight to Germany.

Ah, but Germany DID lose the war, and to a large extent they ARE speaking English over there.

Many Germans CAN speak English (many more cannot), but the premise requires that they abandon German and make English their official and everyday language.

It is much more likely for Scandinavia to do this, but still, they have enough contempt and disdain for each other, it seems unlikely.

You can have a single country with multiple languages, USSR, Yugoslavia, Spain, China, India, USE wouldn’t really need to have a single language it’s population would be forced to learn, instead it would probably remain the way it is in the EU, English (and maybe French?) would be “federal” language(s) and member states would continue business as usual in their languages.

That could make sense if all countries were somewhat equal in their political power per population and if everything depended on population alone, but do you really think that Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and such countries would have a important say in the politics of USE? Romania has 21 million people, Belgium has just 12, but who is stronger both politically and economically? Belgium hands down.

@Flyer already mentioned, Germany accounts for +20% of EU’s GDP in 2016, including UK, so without it it’s even more.

As for France, I haven’t really seen any sparks between France and Germany, Germany is already forming a unified EU army in a way by combining it’s army units with those from Netherlands and I believe even some from Romania and Czech republic. Macron also called for a unified EU army. He is a strong supporter of the “open doors” for immigrants, which Merkel is (in)famous for.

Someone said that USA isn’t a big California or Texas and that is true, however there’s a gigantic difference in how the states in America work and how independent countries in Europe work. States of the USA are not really “independent” countries in a alliance, they are basically regions with a wide range of autonomy, but they are not independent countries with entirely different political systems and goals.

On the other hand in the EU Greece has it’s policies and world view, Hungary and Poland have their somewhat conservative world view, Germany has its liberal worldview with the whole immigrant policy thing, let’s not even mention Sweden, there are countries that are somewhat friendly or neutral to Russia and some that are plan anti-Russian like Baltic countries. Dramatic differences like those don’t exist between California and Vermont or Florida, however, in order for USE to work, the differences between EU countries would have to be lowered to the level of differences between American states and this is where the problem lies, obviously no one in Berlin or Paris will really care about what Estonia or Bulgaria think about USE’s stategic goals, foreign policy, army,etc., instead they will push their own policies.

France is the only counterweight, Spain and Italy are also powerful, all of them combined are more powerful than Germany, but still Germany is the most powerful one, with the most money and the most influence.


ETA: JakeRS’s latest just above says almost the same thing as I’m about to.
On top of that, what really matters is relative unanimity. If Germany represents 21% of the collective economy and speaks with one voice while e.g. five other countries make up the next 21% of the collective economy but speak with 3-1/2 voices pulling in different directions, the German 21% will far outweigh the other five’s 21%.

This is also where Trinopus’ point about a the US being a big Texas comes in. NY & CA are (relatively) diverse places that speak with many voices. TX is much more homogenous and speaks with mostly just one voice. The result is TX has outsized influence vs the raw state-level headcount or raw state-level GDP.

Such an idea would ruffle a lot of feathers in France. The EU is based on an alliance between France and Germany to bind themselves through economic ties and so prevent another disasterous war. Germany always had the stronger economy, but had few ambitions of leading Europe politically. France certainly feels it should provide the political lead in Europe, but it does not have the economic power. This dichotomy is an important facet of EU politics and they have learnt to live with it.

The French would be very sensitive about any assumption of German leadership and as for speaking English - that is a non starter! Language is not just a practical matter, it is a potent political symbol of national identity, which will ensure the EU remains a ‘Tower of Babel’. Official EU languages may be spoken by quite small numbers of people who may find English easier, but nonetheless the EU puts a huge effort into translating official documents because of national sensitivities.

An EU army is also hugely problematic. Germany is very reluctant to commit troops, there is a strong pacifist sentiment for obvious reasons. In any case having a big pile of money and co-dependent trading relationships is a good defense. The rest of Europe also has no wish to see Germany develop its military strength. The idea gives everyone on the European continent a nervous twitch. In any case the soft power that Germany wields is considerable. The expansion of the EU to embrace the former Soviet states, the Balkans and Greece worked to Germany’s benefit to stabilise these countries.

There is an emerging European identity that is taking root as people move between countries to work and live. This is particularly strong in places like London, which have seen huge numbers of EU nationals move here.

In this respect the US is far more advance politically, having a single currency, single official language, single market and free mobility of labour and a single national identity within a Federal system of states. The EU is trying to emulate some of those considerable advantages, but it has a long, long way to go. Europe is a hostage to its own history.

If Trump decides to break up the NATO military alliance and cut a new ‘deal’, then I guess that could force some changes.

That must explain why California and New York dictate policy decisions in the US.

Everything depends on how it is set up. If they have a bicameral legislature and Luxembourg gets as many senators as Germany, then the latter cannot dominate.

I don’t think it’d be a “big Germany” any more than the U.S. is a “big California.” Then again, there are very significant divisions of power in the U.S. system (the bicameral legislature and the Electoral College come to mind) that no one in their right mind who is paying attention to the way things have gone over here would want to emulate. They, along with the “every slave worth 3/5 of a human for voting purposes” were/are compromises cobbled together to get the country to unify in the first place. Get rid of those, and the U.S. government is very different beast. Then again, similar compromises (omitting slavery in any way) might be promulgated to unify Europe. But as that “3/5” thing showed, these things can have dramatic unintended consequences, like, oh, a Civil War that kills 600,000+ people. Moving slowly might be a good idea!

I agree that no one would copy the US system exactly, but you would not be able to form a USE if everything just went by popular vote. That’s the problem, and that’s why the US is the way it is. You have to compromise with the smaller countries or they have no incentive to join.

In fact the EU already has lots of different ways of expressing influence in the various branches for exactly that reason. per capita, per country, per etc …

A putative USE could do things differently in detail, but would certainly end up with a similarly mixed system because the same imperatives would still operate.

Ultimately people unify when the collective Other they face is more different from them than they are from each other. Said another way, a weak Other can only trigger highly similar groups to unify. It takes the presence of a strong Other to overcome the existing groups’ social repulsion.

Exactly. The Connecticut compromise was made in a situation not at all unlike the EU, and IMO is probably the most equitable and realistic way to set up a larger-scale EU legislature.

As Martin Schulz notes (and I think his whole idea is preposterous, but I agree with him here), this won’t ever be a live issue. Countries like Estonia, Poland, the Czech Republic etc. will probably leave the EU long before it gets to the ‘superstate’ stage.

If you’re going to set up a system of pure popular vote (or close to pure popular vote), why should the smaller states join it? Without some equivalent of the Senate giving smaller countries a voice disproportionate to their population (or land area) why would they want to give control over to the big countries?

Also not sure why no one in their right mind would want to emulate the US setup - recent elections have demonstrated that under the US electoral system you can’t simply campaign in a few bastions loyal to your party and ignore other places, but still expect to win the presidency, you have to actually pay attention to the ‘flyover states’. Belguim, the Netherlands, and other small European states would find it reassuring if a future German EU president would not be able to come to power without taking their interests into account. No Belgian in their right mind expects that Germany will always have their best interests at heart.