Europe and the New Democracy

EuropePhilippe Bénéton at The Hedgehog Review:

The project of creating a unified Europe, which began in earnest a half century ago, has been a great adventure, and partly a great success. The European “civil war,” which began in the sixteenth century and went on for hundreds of years, has finally ended. Peace is firmly established within the European borders. In this respect, the founders of Europe, and especially the architects of the Franco-German reconciliation, made history. And they knew the history they were making.

Apart from that signal achievement, the adventure of unification gives the appearance of groping in the dark. The general reason is clear: Europe is a powerful idea, but it is also an indeterminate idea. Gradually, from about the 1970s, the procedures of unification took the place of the project. Now official Europe is thought of as a process. European issues are reduced to taking the next step. Any pause will ruin the undertaking. The obligation to walk together and the obsession with compromise prevent serious debate. The process governs.

As a result, the primary questions remain unanswered: Europe no doubt, but which Europe? For what purpose? In what form? With whom? Things are unclear. Those who make the history appear not to understand the history they make.

more here.