Magazine article The Spectator

Joining Forces

Magazine article The Spectator

Joining Forces

Article excerpt

The origins of the corrupt, wasteful and inefficient entity we call the European Union are being explored in Forging the Union (Mondays), a four-part series on Radio Four presented by Allan Little, a former foreign correspondent, though he spoke with a little more reverence for it than I could ever muster. In 'Never Again', the first programme this week, he seemed to think that the idea of an integrated Europe emerged after the second world war to prevent nation states from going to war again. It certainly gathered pace after 1945, but it was being planned by its adherents long before that, as a glance at Christopher Booker's and Richard North's excellent book on the subject, The Great Deception: The Secret History of the European Union, would have told him.

Once again, the inspiration for what is now the EU is pinned on Winston Churchill in the 1946 Zurich speech in which he suggested more co-operation between the states. Although Little acknowledges that Churchill didn't want Britain to be part of it, I don't suppose Churchill envisaged that it would become the sclerotic and undemocratic institution it is today, where bad laws are passed without the agreement of the peoples of Europe, a more benign Soviet-style entity which has become hostile to the United States, the country that saved it in two world wars. Churchill was a democrat and an Atlanticist. He also believed in the Empire. Little said that, when you talk to a Frenchman of the 1945 generation, he will refer to the humiliation of German occupation, the shame of collaboration and 'the need to build a better world', as if this EU represents this. A Dutchman told Little that he was hauled off to a concentration camp by his own police, saying tearfully, 'Something had to be done. Never again.' Civilisation, he added, was a very thin business. He's right there, as we're seeing today with a section of Islam deranged by the existence of Israel and the presence on the planet of non-Islamic states.

The Americans, weary of fighting wars in Europe, were naturally in favour of some kind of association of nation states and their fears about the post-war spread of communism reinforced that belief. But it wasn't just the creation of what was later called the European Community that kept the peace; it was largely the power of Nato.

The Americans thought that the French foreign minister Robert Schuman was just the man to deal with Germany in 1945.

Well, he certainly did that. Schuman realised a certain amount of stealth was required, as not everyone in western Europe wanted to give away sovereignty, so it all began, of course, as the Coal and Steel Community. …

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