The United States of Europe

September 6, 2012

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Every European citizen has a moral obligation to take an interest in the current EU crisis because few seem to grasp what is really at stake. Not since the Great Depression has the developed world witnessed a calamity of this magnitude. In Spain, one in every four workers is unemployed. Following the basic plot structure of Steinbeck's "Grapes of Wrath", entire families are being uprooted from their homes and forced to seek employment in distant lands. The same story is also being played out in Greece, Portugal, Cyprus and to a lesser extent, in Italy as well. Soon, even France may join this grim rendition of Les Misérables.

 

Amidst this bleak scenario, there are people who blame the European Union for the current crisis and want to abandon the Euro altogether. This would be a foolish mistake. As Oxford professor Timothy Garton Ash has argued in the New York Times and in Foreign Affairs, the 21st century will be the era of the awakening giants. China has already surpassed Japan and ranks as the second economy in the world. Brazil has surpassed the United Kingdom and ranks as sixth, India as 9th, and Russia as the 10th economy in the world.

 

Today, the European Union has over 500 million consumers and represents the largest GDP in the world. In its absence, European countries will become irrelevant in the world stage. Creating a monetary union between 17 countries in the absence of a fiscal and political union was undoubtedly a mistake. However, to effectively address this problem, a true federation of nation states must be created. The best way out of the current imbroglio is not by demolishing the EU, but by strengthening it.

 

In 1946, during a speech delivered at the University of Zürich, a man by the name of Winston Churchill said it best, "We must build a United States of Europe. In this way only will hundreds of millions of toilers be able to regain the simple joys and hopes which make life worth living."

 

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