Blair’s Presidential Mistake

Prime Minister Tony Blair would like to add a new title to his resume: President of Europe. That aspiration was given a boost by EU booster and former French President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing today.

However, as attractive as the idea of a unified and federal Europe may be for some, it is also entirely unworkable at this point.

The system of federalism in the United States developed in a manner where there was a relatively antagonistic balance between the states and the federal government. While the pattern of US federalism has largely been an erosion of state power, there remains a strong tradition of checks and balances between states. Even in a largely economically and ethnically homogenous nation, the issue of federalism took years to develop to its current form, and is still the issue of debate.

Compare that to the EU, in which each member state is divided by centuries of national identity, disparate languages, and different socio-economic situations. Trying to force a one-size-fits-all solution is difficult at best and Quixotic at worst. The dream of European economic integration is not necessarily a bad idea, but the pace and scope of reforms defies the realities of today’s Europe.

Making it worse is the fact that the EU has few provisions that effectively limit federal power. The EU has developed into an bureaucratic nightmare that has only added red tape from Brussels. The EU’s highly undemocratic nature means that expansion of the EU will only concentrate more power in Brussels to the detriment of future members.

Prime Minister Blair’s European fixation may very well be his worst political move. Further European integration will only tie the UK into a fiscal straightjacket while harming Blair’s military and foreign policy connections to the United States. Such a scenario means that Blair’s transition from Prime Minister of the United Kingdom to President of Europe may be anything but a promotion.

This article from Policy Review delves more deeply into the undemocratic bent of the EU and why one should be worried about increased EU power.

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