The American Interest

Consequences of E.U. Enlargement

The European Union underwent a major transformation last May.  It was enlarged to 25 states when eight former communist countries—Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, and three Baltic republics—were formally admitted, as well as Malta and Cyprus.  The union is now a political and economic giant of 450 million people, the largest single market in the world and an economic powerhouse that accounts for a quarter of the global economy.

This could have been an occasion to celebrate: Europe’s artificial divides are disappearing; splendid old nations are joining an extended family to which they rightfully belong.  Is this not a step toward the long-cherished goal of a Europe “whole, free, at peace and growing in prosperity,” as articulated by successive U.S. presidents?  Sadly, however, the European Union has morphed, over the past three decades, from Schuman’s and Monnet’s nonfederalist concept of the Old Continent reasserting her individuality into a bureaucratic leviathan dominated by dirigiste civil servants from France and Germany.  Its constitution shows that the union’s ideology is based on political correctness and militant secularism.  Its character now reflects the aspirations and interests of the core countries’ post-Christian ruling elites rather than the aspirations of the real peoples of Europe.

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