Brendan Simms, a hostorian from Cambriadge University, argues that Europe needs to learn the lessons of the Holy Roman Empire — which was none of those, but rather a secular confederation of German states — and come together in an American style federation of fall apart, like the empire did:
Brendan Simms, The Ghosts of Europe Past
The euro zone faces the same choice as the Holy Roman Empire and American patriots of old: how to overcome discredited forms of confederation. Rather than digging themselves into a deeper recession and democratic deficit through austerity measures, the states in the common currency need to form a full and mighty union on Anglo-American lines. They must create a strong executive presidency elected by popular vote across the euro zone, a truly empowered house of citizens elected according to population and a senate representing the regions.
The existing sovereign debts should be federalized through a “Union Bond,” with a strict subsequent debt ceiling for the member state governments. There will have to be a single European military and one language of government and politics: English.
This is the only framework that will endow the euro zone with the democratic legitimacy to reassure the bond markets, underpin the implementation of good financial governance across the entire union and defend its interests and values on the world stage.
More than 200 years ago, the choice was between the Holy Roman Empire and Britain. The Americans opted wisely and prospered; the Germans continued to muddle through only to see their empire extinguished. History thus holds out both a great opportunity and a terrible warning for the euro zoners.
I totally disagree. My bet is that Europe would be better off with a weakening of the EU. Dropping the shared currency, and moving back from federation to a looser confederacy. Why?
We are moving toward a time of regional, not national or continental identity. Regions, like Hong Kong/Shenzeng, Catalonia, Scotland, the Bay Area, greater New York, and Tokyo are competing with each other and other regions. The power of national governments is falling as factionalism and the intractable dilemmas of the postnormal leads to policy impasses.
I foresee a world of regional innovation and a shift toward localized sustainability. Sustainable economics has to be based on localism, and the primacy of those living and working in a region controlling the shared resources there under sustainable principles, and rejecting outside influences that would degrade or harmfully exploit resources, like water, forest, earth, and air.
Nations and empires have show a detachment from local concerns, and as such their legitimacy is suspect.
With regard to Europe, the best recent turning point is the peaceful separation of the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and the violent separation of Bosnia and Kosovo from Serbia, not the ratification of the European Union.
The EU was an attempt to scale a collection of countries into a counter to the USSR, US, and China. But the USSR has fallen, and the tide of history is turning to the city as the natural unit of sustainable competitiveness, not the boundaries left behind from ancient wars, and the treaties between dead royalty.