Here is a quote about Europe from the late Ludwig Erhard, with which I agree. Erhard writes:
“Wehe dem, der glaubt, man könne Europa etwa zentralstaatlich zusammenfassen, oder man könne es unter eine mehr oder minder ausgeprägte znetrale Gewalt stellen. Nein-dieses Europa hat seinen Wert auch für die übrige Welt gerade in seiner Buntheit, in der Mannigfaltigkeit und Differenziertheit des Lebens.”
“Woe to whoever thinks that Europe can be grouped together under a centralized state, or can be placed under a more or less pronounced central authority. No, this Europe also has its value for the rest of the world, especially in its variety, in the multiplicity and differentiation of life. ”
Wise words. Also wise words by Jean Monnet, with which I agree:
Heath reports Monnet as saying: “You must remember that the Community is composed of states, some with deep roots and that it will be always impossible for its members to ignore what a member state considers to be a vital national interest. If this were to be attempted, the Community would be subject to unsustainable tensions and would break”.
And here is a third quote, from Ken Clarke:
“After he (Heath) had lost office I remember a Conversation in the corridors of the House of Commons when I had for some reason been stressing the need to explain that the European Community was not a federal organization but was destined to be a Union of Nation States bound together by a treaty. Ted angrily dismissed this. He brusquely said that in his opinion the age of the Nation State was now over. He never gave himself the opportunity of undertaking the Herculean task of selling that proposition to the British political class and the public, and he would never have succeeded in persuading even me”.
Yet the German Constitutional Court states categorically in its judgement on the Lisbon Treaty that the EU is no more than an alliance of sovereign states. Here is the url: https://www.bundesverfassungsgericht.de/SharedDocs/Entscheidungen/EN/2009/06/es20090630_2bve000208en.html
As I have written elsewhere on this blog, the root of the UK’s difficulties with regard to the EU is that Heath’s official definition of the EEC/EU, in the 1972 European Communities Act, is of the EU as supranational. It is not, and I consider, it cannot be.
My argument is that the supranational/federal vision, the vision of President Junker and Guy Verhofstadt, is an impossibility, given the diversity of Europe, as Erhard points out, and given the different traditions and histories of the member states.
We are where we are in Europe because of misguided ambition.
Here is my talk.