abril 2022 / LA COLUMNA

The United States of Europe

The future of the European Union

Nico Molina

Victor Hugo was two hundred years early when he prophesised that “[…] the day will come where we will see the United States of America and the United States of Europe, standing in front of the other, shaking hands over the oceans, interchanging their goods, their commerce, their industry […]”.

Nowadays, it is almost too late. We are at a moment hitherto never experienced in our history, a moment where international relations have developed into sheer globalization setting a mass geopolitical transformation. However, because of the EU’s internal dysfunctionalities, it cannot currently face the capital challenge of becoming a true global actor. Herein lies the problem.

“Superpowers surrounding physical Eurasia demand that the political Europe becomes a center of independent power, serving as a mediator to humanity’s interests.”

The multipolar, capitalist-driven, unique world that we currently live in has its share of rivalries. Superpowers surrounding physical Eurasia demand that the political Europe becomes a center of independent power, serving as a mediator to humanity’s interests. Yet, international opportunism waits for no one, and if no further political union is reached within EU member states, it is believed that the European Union will inexorably descend to internal stagnation and international irrelevance.

Seventy years of EU history have proven that the functional model is weak. According to Alessandra Silveira, the objectives required of the EU cannot be reached by the traditional integration method, but rather by following the path of the consecution of a political union of federal character. In other words, the completion of the foundational objective of the European integration process lies in federalism.

Jean Monnet predicted in its day that “huge proofs will demonstrate that any alternative to a political union will eventually fall to irrelevance”. Such huge proofs have effectively evidenced the deeply rooted cracks within the present-day EU pillars. The major of the cracks is what Romano Prodi even called “the tragedy of Europe”: Unanimity. We appear not to learn from past mistakes in the international arena; the League of Nations failed because it became too weak to enforce any measures, as its decisions required unanimity. Likewise, unanimity paralyzes the turning wheel of the EU, as it is tendentiously used to block the decision-making process, acting as a unilateral veto right.

The European Parliament

The inability to pass effective measures because of the aforementioned reasons, greatly demerit the UE in the scrutinizing eyes of the international community; and alienates it from the average citizen who watches, with sheer disappointment, the timid, soft and ambiguous directives it struggles to pass.

In this aspect, Angela Merkel has long wished for the EU to “grasp its destiny with its own hands”, encouraging the matter of semi-federalisation to be brought up in the next Conference on the Future of Europe, and further developed in an Intergovernmental Conference, whereby real effort should be made to rebirth the abandoned Constitutional Project for the European Union, aiming for a clearly defined federalisation resulting from the imperative needs of the time, which should be organized over a decentralized foundation, agreeing with the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality.
The process by which the United States of Europe could emerge could most likely resemble the birth of the European Union, only that this time we have the past to guide us forward. The initiative should come from a group of member states, willing to spearhead the project. They would define the structure by which other members would be able to adhere, and would set out the requisites and the federal baggage each member state would have to bear.

“[…] Angela Merkel has long wished for the EU to “grasp its destiny with its own hands”, encouraging the matter of semi-federalisation to be brought up in the next Conference on the Future of Europe […]”

Around these original member states, a concentric structure of adhered member states would expand outwards, organised by a hierarchical order of accessed-to-bear responsibilities; incentivising member states to fully integrate into the federal project. Most likely, constitutional changes would have to be made by initiating referendums and following each state what is scripted in their own norma normarum.

This federal process would only complete the already started transition towards a slightly federalised model of the European Union. Cases, for instance, such as the adoption of the Euro as a currency, the creation of the European Union Court of Justice, transferred or ceased competences from member states to the EU regarding common matters, or even a united plan for the acquisition and distribution of vaccines against COVID-19 prove there is already a spirit of change, lurking in the shadows, waiting to be recognised as it is: The United States of Europe.

Flag of the European Union

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