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ix preface to the paperback edition  When this book went to press in 2010 it was already clear that all was not well with the European Union. True, it had extraordinary achievements to its credit. The continent that hadbeenacockpitforinnumerablebloodyconflicts—between kings and emperors, Catholics and Protestants, revolution and reaction, totalitarianism and democracy—had enjoyed its longest period of peace and prosperity since the end of the Roman Empire. The age-old rivalry between France and Germany, the motor of two horrifyingly destructive world wars as well as a long series of intra-European ones, had been put to sleep. Right across the continent, from the far west of Ireland to the Byelorussian border, the rule of law and pluralist democracy prevailed. The European Union was easily the world’s biggest trading block. Its combined GDP surpassed that of the United States. In the Rome Treaty setting up the European Economic Community, the six founding members had undertaken to promote “ever-closer union” between Europe ’s diverse peoples. That dream had not been realized in full, but it was closer to realization than anyone could have expected when the Treaty was signed. Yet there was a fly—a big, ugly, angry fly—in the ointment . From the first, the political end point of the adventure , the nature of the institutional architecture that would have to procure and sustain the “ever-closer union” of which x PREFACE TO THE PAPERBACK EDITION the Treaty spoke, was swathed in ambiguity. Would the evermore -united Europe of the founders’ dreams be a federal state, on the lines of the United States, or Canada, or India, or, for that matter, the German Federal Republic? (As that sentence implies, federations come in a huge variety of guises.) Or would it be a loose-knit confederation, where sovereignty lay with the constituent states, on the lines of the distinctly less than glorious confederacy of former British colonies that paved the way for the creation of the United States itself? That rather obvious question had never been answered. There had never been a right time to debate the profound questions of constitutional and philosophical principle that the founders of the American republic had debated more than two centuries before. Scarce resources of bureaucratic competence and political leadership could never be spared from more obviously urgent, practical tasks. The European Union made enormous progress in the last two decades of the twentieth century. A mammoth program of national deregulation and supranational re-regulation made a reality of the Union’s commitment to free competition across national borders, drastically curtailing the scope for national vetoes in order to do so. By the turn of the century, the former Communist states of Eastern and Central Europe were well on their way toward membership. Seventeen member states were poised to adopt a single European currency, managed by a single European central bank, in place of their national currencies , handing one of the most crucial aspects of statehood to a supranational authority in the process. Yet, by what seems in retrospect an astounding failure of political imagination, the constitutional implications of this revolutionary transformation of scope and function were not addressed. After much prevarication and seemingly endless negotiations, the member states agreed on a set of cosmetic xi PREFACE TO THE PAPERBACK EDITION changes, allegedly designed to make Union decision making less cumbersome and more transparent. But the ambiguity at the heart of its constitution remained in place. The new, continent-wide Union of the 2000s, with its twenty-seven member states, its 500 million citizens, and its Europeanized currency and Central Bank, was still trapped in the old halfway house between confederalism and federalism. The foundations were patently shifting under the weight they now had to carry; there were cracks in the ceiling and loose slates in the roof. But on the biblical principle of “sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof,” decision makers averted their eyes and closed their ears. A catastrophe was waiting to happen. I can’t claim to have foreseen the full enormity of the crisis that brought the Eurozone to its knees in the closing months of 2011. Still less did I foresee the paralysis of will and leadership that greeted it. But I did realize that the first premonitory rumbles of the Euro crisis that could be heard as I prepared my manuscript for publication were political and constitutional in origin, not financial and economic, as they were conventionally thought to be. The crisis of the...


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