Sovereign nations like France and Belgium may be on a path to become the European equivalent of American states – subservient parts of a whole led by an imposing central European Union (EU) government.
That is the view articulated by Charles Moore, a journalist, political commentator, and former editor of The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Telegraph, and The Spectator, who spoke at The Heritage Foundation this week.
“The United States does need to be aware that the United States of Europe is gradually coming into being,” said Moore. “And it’s based on principles from the top down which would have never been accepted by the American Republic.”
If the EU continues to increase its role in member nations’ affairs, it will soon resemble a national government. But unlike the federal government created in the American founding, which developed with democratic consent and bottom-up involvement from the citizens of the independent states, this new European “super-state” is being thrust top-down upon Europeans and undermining their national sovereignty.
Moore described a litany of ways that Britain is regulated by the EU, which now has say in:
- The rates of indirect taxes;
- The amount that bankers can be paid;
- Immigration between European Union nations; and
- Fishing and farming practices.
He also pointed out that European Union policies now interfere with laws about lawn mower noise, light bulb shapes, car insurance premiums, and even who can vote.
As Heritage expert Luke Coffey has written, member countries are now at a crossroads. He explains:
Over the last few decades, power has been incrementally shifted to undemocratic decision-making bodies within the European Union and away from national capitals. Many in Europe, including the governments of France and Germany, are calling for more and deeper integration of Europe. However, other European countries, such as the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, are arguing that the Brussels power grab has gone too far.
Increasing integration has not always made European countries better off economically, either. As Heritage President Dr. Ed Feulner pointed out at the event, unemployment in the eurozone has reached 11.9 percent, and there are nearly 19 million Europeans out of work. In some nations, such as Spain and Greece, youth unemployment has risen above 55 percent.
Moore said Americans should not be concerned about a “United States of Europe” as a competitor, but rather as a potentially destabilizing force. “It is more likely that it will threaten stability and prosperity, and it’s quite likely to be unfriendly to the U.S.A. and very likely to create enormous international tension,” he said.
As the authorized biographer of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher,Moore suggested that the Iron Lady’s sentiments toward unifying Europe could provide an example of a better course.
“‘We have not successfully rolled back the frontiers of the state in Britain, only to see them re-imposed at a European level with a European super-state,’” Moore said, quoting from Thatcher’s groundbreaking 1988 Bruges speech.