Vídeňské zrcadlo EU

Kdyby mohl úředník Evropské unie cestovat časem do secesní Vídně, byl by překvapen, jak blízce se habsburské impérium podobalo dnešní EU. Tak jako EU bylo i Rakousko-Uhersko experimentem nadnárodního inženýrství, zahrnujícím 51 milionů obyvatel, 11 národností a 14 jazyků. V čele tohoto evropského mikrokosmu byl císař-král na dvou trůnech a parlamentní dvojčata zastupující značně nezávislou rakouskou a uherskou půli říše.

Habsburské impérium působilo jako stabilizační síla ve prospěch svých národů i Evropy. Pro roztříštěné etnické skupiny plnilo dvojroli rozhodčího a vyhazovače, pacifikujíc domorodé rozbroje a ochraňujíc drobné národy před dravými státy. Vyplňovalo taktéž geopolitické vakuum v srdci kontinentu, takže drželo v šachu Německo a Rusko.

Dokud Rakousko vykonávalo tyto funkce, bylo považováno za „evropskou nezbytnost“ – vyvažovací zařízení národností a národů, pro něž neexistovala myslitelná náhrada. Počátkem nového století už ale impérium stálo před dvěma problémy, které na jeho schopnost těmto úkolům dostát vrhaly stín.

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