September 06, 2011

A new European Union?

When leaders of both the EU and its member nations wave copies of the U.S. Articles of Confederation and admit they should have read them through before negotiating and approving the Maastricht Treaty, you'd like to believe a new EU, one with at least some degree of fiscal power over its member states, actually will happen.

But, I'll believe this new EU idea becomes a reality when I see it.

First, who gets booted? A Greece wouldn't qualify, at least. Certainly, none of the former Eastern Bloc members, or would-be members do, with the possible exceptions of Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary.

Second, how much do you strengthen the EU executive to do things like that?

Third ... if power at the center increases ... when does the France-Germany tussle also increase? And THAT is the bottom line.

Fourth and related, what's the focus of foreign policy? The recent Libya excursion demonstrated tensions in NATO. Old colonial power France can be expected to want to look at Africa and Southeast Asia, while also looking at counterbalancing the U.S. in general. Germany can be expected to want to continue to look east.

Until No. 3 is settled, major economic reforms will only go so far. Until No. 4 is settled, along with the relationship of a stronger EU to NATO, you'll not have a lot more than a Europe-wide Switzerland.

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