English Pages, 25. 4. 2006
I must say that I have a problem with the American understanding of the European integration. What I usually find here is the unstructured and unanalytical pro-integrationist argumentation by politicians and influential commentators which bothers me. It is not in my interests, and – I suppose – it is not in the interest of this country either.
The radical changes which have been going on in Europe in recent years were not taken into account and due to it the true substance of the European integration is not understood.
The Americans were made to believe that the main problem of Europe now – not 50 years ago – is the lack of peace. And they believe – together with many Euronaivists or EU-apologists – that the best way to achieve peace in Europe is by artificially, as a social engineering, uniting Europe. To fight for peace, when war – because of NATO, not because of the EU – does not threaten, is, however, a wrong excuse for building institutions which tend to restrain freedom, democracy and democratic accountability as well as economic flexibility. These costs are extremely high.
The Americans – with all their historic understanding of the meaning of federalism – behave as if the type of the European Union does not matter. The changes which occured in Europe after the Maastricht Treaty in 1992 and the implications of the EU Constitution in case it would had been accepted are enormous. The shift from intergovernmentalism to supranationalism as well as the shift from ambitions to open-up, to liberalize and to remove all kinds of barriers to introducing wide-spread regulation and harmonization is not understood.
I am afraid that the Americans do not see the EU′s accelerating drive towards a social-democratic (more social than democratic) European superstate. They do not see the EU′s protectionism, the EU′s legal and regulatory burdens on business, the EU′s irrational „competition policy“, the EU′s pensions and health care crisis, the costs of the European Single Currency, etc. All those things are for us, who live in Europe, very relevant.
We should not forget the foreign policy dimension of the European unification process. The Americans probably assume that the European political, social and cultural unification will diminish existing anti-Americanism of some very vocal and highly influential European politicians, commenators, public intellectuals. This assumption must be based on the belief in „New Europe“ (by which – I guess – your Secretary of Defence meant post-communist Central and Eastern Europe) and on the ability of this part of Europe to change the European vested interests and ambitions. I do not share this optimistic assumption.
To conclude, I do not believe that deeper European integration (or unification) is in America′s national interest. It bothers me because I believe that good working relationship between the United States and Europe is essential.
Václav Klaus, Milken Institute Global Conference, European Panel, Los Angeles, April 25, 2006
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