KEY POINTS
  • Led by an appallingly incompetent German management, the European Union will most probably come out terminally fractured after next May’s parliamentary elections.
  • The political forces already at work in a number of countries will go back to nation states and a free-trading area, abandoning the pipe dream of a European statehood and sovereignty.
  • That may not scuttle the euro because such a free-trading area needs a common currency to be a genuine customs union and a homogeneous single market.
GS: Theresa May and Angela Merkel 190204
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Prime Minister Theresa May are seen during a press conference on July 10, 2018 in London, England.
Stefan Rousseau | WPA Pool | Getty Images

Britain’s idea of a united Europe has never been more than a free-trading area.

In spite of that, the Germans and the Dutch liked the prospect of sharing the European Union membership with British free-traders, apparently as a counterweight to overbearing French state interventionists.

Having twice vetoed in the 1960s the British entry into what was then called the European Common Market, France eventually relented and agreed to Britain’s accession in 1973.

Soon, however, France and other EU members had to deal with British “opt-outs” from legislative and regulatory provisions London was finding contrary to its government traditions and requiring sovereignty transfers to unelected officials running the European Commission in Brussels.

 

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