12 July 2005

Little Europe


"I only know that the British did not want the summit to be a success," Michel says: "[The British] have a different kind of roadmap. They want Europe to be a purely economic space. If we follow them we risk turning the EU into a miniature copy of the United States. If we restrict the EU to a free market association without common rules, without this constitution, without shared political values, then Europe will no longer be able to make the citizens dream."

Various people - Stephen Pollard, Paul Belien, The England Project, have had a go at this. But to my mind they miss the most revealing aspect.

Louis Michel alleges that Britain would turn the EU into a miniature copy of the United States. Miniature? The EU has getting on for twice the population of the United States. Yet its apologist is still under the impression that the US is larger. American power and wealth, for him, are just facts of nature or geography.

It's not true. The USA is not bigger than the EU, except in having 5 million square kilometres of empty desert and ice sheet. It just has better economic policies. Its relative power and wealth are not facts of nature. They are the result of the policies Michel is defending. If the EU became like the USA, far from being a "miniature copy", the result would be a richer world, by (off the top of my head) a factor of getting on for 2.

Of course, Michel is correct that the purpose of the EU is to prevent this, which is why I advocate disbanding it rather than pursuing the "British" vision Michel fears.

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