Europe’s Path to Disunity

The assertion that the eurozone could be transformed into a United States of Europe is no longer convincing. The path toward it is far more likely to lead to a deep rift within Europe, because turning the eurozone into a transfer and debt union would require more central power than currently exists in the US.

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.

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