Federal Europe

Federal Europe

A federal Europe is a proposal that much of Europe be unified in the manner of a federation. The idea has been common with ambitions of European unification with the term United States of Europe echoing the federal nature of the United States of America. Some academic analysts suggest that the European Union (EU) already has many characteristics of a federal system.

The EU was formed out of this desire, with the early architects seeing its predecessors as the first step to a European federation. Since the 1950s, European integration in this manner has seen the development of a supranational system of governance, as its institutions move further from the concept of intergovernmentalism. However, with the Maastricht Treaty of 1993, new intergovernmental elements have been introduced along side the more federal systems making the definition of the European Union much more complex. The European Union, which operates through a hybrid system of intergovernmentalism and supranationalism, is not officially a federation – though various academic observers treat it as a federal system.


One of the first to conceive of a union of European nations was Hungarian Prime Minister Pál Teleki. Hungary had lost over two-thirds of its territory at the end of World War I in the 1920 Treaty of Trianon. In early 1941 during the World War II, he was striving to preserve his country's autonomy in the face of Germany's coercive pressure to join in their invasion of Yugoslavia. In the book, "Transylvania. The Land Beyond the Forest" Louis C. Cornish [cite book |tite=Transylvania. The Land Beyond the Forest|publisher=Dorrance & Company |date=1947|author= isbn=B000WUMLQO] [cite book |title=The Evolution of Hungary and its place in European history (Central and East European series)|author=Pal Teleki|date=1923] described how Teleki, under constant surveillance by the German Gestapo during 1941, sent a secret communication to contacts in America.cite book|title=Toward a New Central Europe: A Symposium on the Problems of the Danubian Nations|author=Francis S. Wagner (ed.)|publisher=Danubian Press, Inc.|location=Astor Park, Florida |date=1970|accessdate=2008-10-08]

Journalist Dorothy Thompson in 1941 supported the statement of others. "I took from Count Teleki's office a monograph which he had written upon the structure of European nations. A distinguished geographer, he was developing a plan for regional federation, based upon geographical and economic realities." Teleki received no response from the Americans to his ideas and upon Germany's military advance into Hungary on April 2-3, 1941, committed suicide.

At the end of World War II, the political climate favoured unity in Western Europe, seen by many as an escape from the extreme forms of nationalism which had devastated the continent. [cite web |title=The political consequences |publisher=European NAvigator |url=http://www.ena.lu/?doc=242&lang=3 |accessdate=2007-09-05] One of the first successful proposals for European cooperation came in 1951 with the European Coal and Steel Community. Since then, the European Community has reformed itself from being an organisation creating and ensuring internal free trade through wielding certain supranational powers strictly related to economy and trade, to one in which a whole range of policy areas where its member states believe they benefit from working together.

The process of intergovernmentally pooling powers, harmonising national policies and creating and enforcing supranational institutions, is called European integration. Other than the vague aim of "ever closer union" in the Solemn Declaration on European Union, the Union (meaning its member governments) has no current policy to create either a federation or a confederation.

Debate on European unity is often vague as to the boundaries of 'Europe'. The word 'Europe' is widely used as a synonym for the European Union, although much of the European continent is still not in the EU.

'Multi-speed integration'

A thesis, sometimes referred to as a 'Multi-speed Europe', envisions an alternative type of European integration, where the EU countries who want a federal EU, can boost their own integration, while other countries may go at a slower pace. Specific current examples include the euro, the single currency not used by all members, and the Schengen Agreement for common external border controls without inter-state frontiers, but which includes some states that are not in the EU but which does not include all states that are in the EU.

Present situation

The European Union (EU) is not "de jure" a federation but various academic observers conclude that it is one.Professor R. Daniel Kelemen view on how various brands of scholars view the issue.

According to Joseph H. H. Weiler, "Europe has charted its own brand of constitutional federalism". [cite book | author = J.H.H. Weiler |authorlink = Joseph H. H. Weiler| Kalypso Nicolaidis, Robert Howse | title = The federal vision: legitimacy and levels of governance in the United States and the European Union | publisher = Oxford University Press | isbn = 0199245002 | chapter = Chapter 2, Federalism without Constitutionalism: Europe's "Sonderweg" | quote = Europe has charted its own brand of constitutional federalism. It works. Why fix it? ]

Josselin and Marciano (Rennes and Caen) concur. [How the court made a federation of the EU [http://www.springerlink.com/content/f3vw032557232l64/] .Josselin (U de Rennes-1/CREM) and Marciano (U de Reims CA/CNRS).] [Citation | last = Josselin | first =Jean Michel | last2 = Marciano | first2 =Alain
year =2006
title =The political economy of European federalism
series =Series : Public Economics and Social Choice
publisher =Centre for Research in Economics and Management, University of Rennes 1, University of Caen
page = 12 | id =WP 2006-07; UMR CNRS 6211
url =http://crem.univ-rennes1.fr/wp/2006/ie-200607.pdf
quote=A complete shift from a confederation to a federation would have required to straightforwardly replace the principalship of the member states vis-à-vis the Union by that of the European citizens. [. . .] As a consequence, both confederate and federate features coexist in the judicial landscape.

Possible near future

This is various statements from European politicians about the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe, or it's equivalent Treaty of Lisbon, ratification isn't finished yet.

cquote|It wasn't worth creating a negative commotion with the British. I rewrote my text with the word federal replaced by communautaire, which means exactly the same thing.(Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, The Wall Street Journal Europe, 7/7/2003)

ee also

* Federation
* Consociationalism‎
* Nation state
* Sovereignty
* Pan-European identity
* History of Europe
* History of the European Union
** Potential superpower status
** European integration
*** Multi-speed Europe
* World government
* European Civil War


External links

* [http://www.federaleurope.org www.federaleurope.org - Pro Federal Europe Website]
* [http://www.ena.lu History and institutions of the united Europe since 1945] : European NAvigator
* [http://journal.ilovephilosophy.com/Article/European-Integration--Westphalian-Cooperation-or-Federalization-/2383 European Integration: Westphalian Cooperation or Federalization?]
* [http://www.ellopos.net/politics/eu_hugo.html Political speeches by Victor Hugo: Victor Hugo, My Revenge is Fraternity!] , where he used the term United States of Europe.
* [http://www.signandsight.com/features/676.html "Towards a United States of Europe"] , by Jürgen Habermas, at signandsight.com
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/747034.stm "Storm over federal Europe call"] at news.bbc.co.uk
* [http://www.euractiv.com/en/future-eu/analysis-federal-europe-look/article-154389 Analysis: What would a federal Europe look like?]

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