THIS BOOK considers a variety of justifications for the project of European political integration. I wrote the book to resolve a puzzle. Most of my British nonacademic friends are eurosceptics. Many of them—much like Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph editorial writers—think that Britain would do well to leave the European Union and form a closer alliance with the United States. Most of my American academic friends approach euroscepticism in much the same way as James Mill is said to have approached Christianity: “with the feelings due not to a mere mental delusion, but to a great moral evil.”
The academic literature on the European Union (EU) did not, as I came to discover, offer much guidance in resolving this puzzle. Shelf loads of books exist on every conceivable aspect of the EU. But these books tend, perhaps not surprisingly, to take the EU's existence for granted. Even the normative contributions of European legal and political theorists tend to focus on Europe's current institutional architecture—its alleged democratic deficiencies, for instance—while ignoring the more fundamental justificatory questions raised by an increasingly large and noisy crowd of eurosceptics.
After reflecting on these justificatory questions, I arrived at a conclusion unlikely to appeal to either set of my friends. This book argues that there is much more to be said in favor of a unitary European state—a “European superstate,” as those editorial writers would call it—than most people recognize. The more frequently defended alternatives to a European superstate—a Europe of nation-states or some form of postsovereign polity—are, by the same token, much less desirable than commonly believed. Doubtless, this argument will not persuade everyone (or even anyone). Hopefully, my argument will provoke them to produce more convincing justifications for their own preferred alternatives.
While this book takes as its point of departure British eurosceptic criticisms of the EU, the book is directed to a wider audience than those caught up in the quotidian details of the British debate. The question of the justification for European political integration is now an issue for all Europeans. Not only do Europeans—either directly or through their elected representatives—have to take a stance on the constitutional form of the EU. But even when (or if) the current constitutional proposals are ratified by all twenty-five member states, the people of Eu