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Le Maire’s imperial designs are a reminder of the long-term goal of the European Union, which has never changed. Back in 1972, Spinelli was frank that “a true [European] government in the fullest sense of the word will not exist until the day when the Community [now EU] also possesses the power of coercion over anybody who does not wish to obey its laws.” If that day dawns, it will be the realisation of the vision of Macron and his movement, with its martial name En Marche (“Forwards”). They see the future of the EU as a new, enlightened, Macronian France writ large. After the 19th-century empires of Napoleon I and Napoleon III we may live to see the 21st-century Third Empire of Emmanuel Macron. It is true that Troisième Empire sounds better than Third Reich, which means exactly the same.

Nationalism in de Gaulle’s sense, of hatred for other peoples, is clearly wrong, but it is not wrong to love one’s country — which means loving other countries less. This seems to apply to the French too, especially where the British are concerned. I love Europe, but I love England more, and I do hate those who would set us against each other. Macron’s close ally Le Maire asks: “What does Brexit demonstrate? It shows that leaving the common European market has an exorbitant economic cost.” Brexit means “economic disaster” and those who advocate Brexit are “lying and irresponsible politicians”. This seems to be a new kind of European triumphalism. What kind of triumph is it, though, for the EU to lose one of its most important members? Isn’t Europe wracked with one crisis after another — France included?

Macron may demonise nationalists as lepers, but Jesus taught us to embrace the leper; according to the Judaeo-Christian tradition, indeed, we human beings are all lepers. Humility is not a characteristic we associate with the Jupiter of the Élysée. Better a latter-day leper than a born-again Bonaparte.

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Lawrence James
January 1st, 2019
10:01 AM
Canada and Australia have managed successful federal states and so has South Africa with its racial and linguistic differences. There is no reason to believe that the EU can surmount its current difficulties.Incidentally, you mention the 'resistance to freedom' by the EU: my freedom has never been curtailed by EU membership; has yours ?

Michael Layden
December 15th, 2018
3:12 PM
Macron's apparent adoption of the notion of Europe defending itself against the United States was perhaps the most bizarre remark I can recall in a long life of trying to keep up with world events. But the model the EU is trying to emulate is not the United States, but something more like India; a federal, democratic polity of multiple language groups and ethnicities. India thus far makes it more or less work. But it does so perhaps because its "Roman" (Mughal) period was superseded by another successful imperium, and the whole (aside from the bloody excision of Pakistan), passed on to a populace possessed of a living sense of common identity within diversity of language and culture. Europe can no more be India than it can be a United States, despite the best efforts of its bureaucracy; it has not the requisite history. The difficulties within its nation states are just that, and the idea that establishing a common currency would cause Greeks to acquiesce to German notions of fiscal prudence has always been a pipe-dream. The current shambles in which the UK finds itself in the attempt to extricate itself from the EU will not be the last such. And the vulnerability of the EU to those who really wish it harm will be vastly increased in proportion to its institutional resistance to freedom among its members.

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