Europe’s Path to Disunity
MUNICH – The motto of the United States of America is: “E pluribus unum” (Out of many, one). The European Union’s motto is “In varietate concordia,” which is officially translated as “United in diversity.” It is difficult to express the differences between the US and the European model any more clearly than this. The US is a melting pot, whereas Europe is a mosaic of different peoples and cultures that has developed over the course of its long history.
That difference raises the question of whether it is worth striving for a United States of Europe – a concept that many refuse to accept, because they do not believe in the possibility of a unified European identity. A single political system like that of the US, they insist, presupposes a common language and a single nationality.
Perhaps the idea of a United States of Europe, the dream of post-war children like me, can never be realized. But I am not so sure. After all, deeper European integration and the creation of a single political system offer solid, practical advantages that do not require a common identity or language. These advantages include the right to move freely across borders, the free movement of goods and services, legal certainty for cross-border economic activities, Europe-wide transportation infrastructure, and, not least, common security arrangements.
We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.
To continue reading, subscribe now.
Get unlimited access to PS premium content, including in-depth commentaries, book reviews, exclusive interviews, On Point, the Big Picture, the PS Archive, and our annual year-ahead magazine.
Already have an account or want to create one? Log in