Has European Unification by Stealth a Future?
From its inception, the post-war movement to achieve European integration was characterized by its reliance upon the exertion of behind-the-scenes influence by a few self-conscious agents of change. Personified by Jean Monnet, who was accustomed to the manipulation of politicians whose expectancy of high office in any government was likely to be short-lived and of bureaucrats more inclined to inertia than innovation, there has subsequently been an endeavour to institutionalize this role in the President of the Commission. While it might be necessary from time to time to adopt a high-profile stance to precipitate a crucial change, this would have been preceded by prolonged and unobtrusive preparations, so that what may appear to the public as a bold initiative has been anything but improvised. Without the assistance of a major cataclysm that can mobilize mass support for spectacular change, reliance has been placed upon those occupying key positions to use their power to make incremental changes discreetly. 1 Rather than engaging in the slow and difficult task of persuading the general public of the need for changes before making them, there has been a proclivity on the part of the few well-informed insiders to place before the many ill-informed outsiders a fait accompli. Have the principal agents of European integration been right in believing that this was the most effective way to achieve their purpose?
Whatever the answer to this question may be today, to start the integrative process half a century ago required proceeding surreptitiously and indirectly, rather than openly to the accompaniment of resounding public declarations. Although eloquent exhortations in favour of European unity were made, notably by Winston Churchill, it is significant that his own country refused to take the lead or even respond to the lead offered by others. In a Europe quickly rent by the Cold War, in which the choice was not so much between Left and Right but between East