Watching the news at the beginning of this new year, there was lots of talk of 1 January, 1999. "Whatís the big deal?" you say. "I thought 2000 was the big number." you say. Well, the big deal is we can watch history repeat itself. In an effort to make themselves more competitive with the United States, the European countries are bonding together in what is called the European Union (EU). Now before you go and say, "This is nothing new," let me admit that the EU has been around for a long time. What is significant about 1 January, 1999 is that the EU starts their move toward using one currency, the Euro. We are witnessing the slow, but inevitable birth of the United States of Europe. The EU has grown over the years in its centralizing of powers. There is a "congress" that meets in Brussels where representatives from each nation help to form policy to strengthen and protect the European community economically. This "congress" has passed legislation that puts binding restrictions on the member nations. At times, different countries have balked at these rules (really laws) and refused to comply. However, most countries have complied.
How are we seeing history repeat itself? Isnít this a breakthrough in relations between the nations of Europe? No. This is not unlike the union of nations that took place on the American continent. Today the place where this took place is called the United States of America. The American colonies were separate entities that bonded together to gain their independence from Great Britain. Great Britain recognized the colonies as 13 independent nations when the war was over. The idea of the founding fathers was that by the different nations bonding together in a union, they could better protect their mutual interests. The unionís federal government would coordinate the affairs of all parties that were external in nature such as mutual military defense (not unlike our NATO agreement), treaties with foreign countries and other "group" needs. The running of other things such as business, education, law and order and the like were left to the states to determine how best to manage. This is the way the EU is moving...for now.
In the EU, all the member nations are responsible for their internal issues and the EU "government" is becoming more and more responsible for the group external issues. For now, a member nation can reject laws or rulings passed by the EU congress. States within the U.S. could at one time too. They still can, they just donít challenge the feds anymore. If you donít believe this, then I would suggest that you take the time to review your American history and specifically focus on the concepts of Nullification and Interposition. States on several occasions, in our early history, interposed themselves between their citizens and the federal governmentís laws. States also nullified court rulings if they deemed them to violate their citizenís rights. I see a time coming in the next 30 years when the EU government will not allow member nations to reject their laws. Right now, Great Britain has decided not to forgo their British pound for the Euro, but I can see a time coming when this kind of mild resistance will not be tolerated. The natural state of any government is to move continuously toward the consolidation of power. The socialist nature of the European democracies will not allow member nations to stay outside of the fold for long, and Europeans have come to be rather willing to let government rule their lives.
What would happen if 15 years from now a member nation such as Great Britain or Germany was to decide to pull out, or "succeed" from the EU? Nations so valuable for their money and world influence would not be looked upon with favor by the remaining member nations. Do you think they would really be allowed to leave? My guess is the EU agreement, or "constitution" does not directly address anyone leaving, but all member nations are under the natural assumption that they can leave whenever they wish to. Once the EU gains power, it will not willingly give it up merle because some "state" wishes to leave the union. For now, it would be fairly easy, but time can change this. The cultural and language barriers will keep things from moving too quickly because there will be those that wish to maintain their heritage, but when money and political power are involved, ambitious individuals will stomp heritage into the ground.
If you doubt my projections, look to the past of Great Britain. The English were able to incorporate Scotland and Ireland into their kingdom by outlawing Gaelic, the language of the Celts. The English also outlawed kilts and bagpipes for a while in order to subdue the Scottish Highlanders by crushing their culture. Which language will be named the "official" language of the EU. I believe they already use English since it is the international language of business. By the way, if you think that the EU does not compare to the Union in America, let me ask a question. In the old West, outlaws went from one territory to another or one state to another to avoid prosecution. Why? The answer is not all states and territories had extradition treaties with other states and territories. Outlaws went to states where there were no extradition treaties with the state where they committed there crimes. Now a second question. If we are one nation, why would we need extradition treaties within our nation? We wouldnít. The treaties were between sovereign states who happened to share in a common union. Not unlike what the EU is...for now. My last question: Within the next 100 years will we see a European War Between the States when someone over there decides to secede? Wait for the answer.
January 4, 1999