The Toronto Sun columnist John Robson sees the reality behind the European Union:
The idea that "Europe" is a nation that should be a state has appealed to people from Dante and Emmanuel Kant to Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Leon Trotskii and Charles de Gaulle. Doubters included Germany's "Iron Chancellor" Otto von Bismarck, who wrote in the late 19th century: "Whoever speaks of Europe is wrong. It is a geographical expression."
But after 1945, those horrified by two world wars found a practical approach to the dream: integrate the industrial economies of Europe so thoroughly that modern warfare among them became literally impossible.
Hence the European Coal and Steel Community (1952), European Economic Community (1958) and Euratom (operational in 1960), which merged into the European Community in 1965, one of whose constitutional contortions in 1993 renamed it the EU.
It worked in the limited sense that no third catastrophic war was fought against Germany on French soil. But it never led to a real, instinctive sense of European identity or the genuine political institutions that might have grown from such a sense.
Even the EU's vaunted labour mobility is an illusion. Only about 2% of EU citizens work in other European countries. It has no real foreign policy or army - when "Europe" acts in the world, as in Libya, it goes through NATO with the U.S. military in the lead. And it has a nightmarishly complicated pseudo-government with a legislature (the European Parliament) that cannot constrain its various executives: the European Commission, European Council and semi-legislative Council of the European Union, not one of whose members are elected in European elections.
Undaunted, the EU went on to create a common currency. But to get the responsible budgetary and fiscal policy necessary to maintain the Euro's value, it had no better resort than extracting from its members promises they did not keep and could not be punished for breaking.
Read the entire column here