Letter: Federal Europe

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The Independent Culture
Sir: The aim of the federalists is to persuade us that, once Europe is politically and economically unified, war between its peoples will become impossible. However the history of unions between European peoples leads to the opposite conclusion.

Unions between Spain and Portugal, the Belgians and the Dutch (twice), Norway and Sweden, Britain and Ireland, the Czechs and the Slovaks, the component nations of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia all worsened rather than improved relations between the peoples involved. All failed, usually violently. As to that federal structure which is the inspiration for a United Sates of Europe, namely the USA, when a group of states sought to withdraw from the Union because they believed it threatened a perceived vital economic interest, they were not allowed to do so and civil war resulted.

It will solve nothing to pressure people into unions they do not want. If the aim is to prevent wars between peoples, then this is best safeguarded against by the memory of past wars, the decline of the militarist culture and the integration of the European defence industries rather than by federalism.

But in rejecting federalism we must not allow the xenophobes to make the running so that we end up out of the EU altogether. Let us push for something that will work, a confederation not a federation; a United Nations of Europe, not a United States of Europe.


Brighton, East Sussex