Germany’s New Government Makes a Naïve Push for a European Federation
Angela Merkel’s decision to step down after 16 years as Germany’s chancellor created an opportunity last year for Germany’s Green Party to take power. The Greens led in the early polls, and although that lead shrank, they still won a higher share of the vote than at any point in the party’s history. More importantly, the Green Party succeeded in securing a place in government. After agonizing negotiations, a new coalition government was formed, a so-called “traffic light coalition” between the Greens, Social Democrats, and centrist Free Democratic Party.
One of the first things this new government did was to declare its support for turning the European Union into a federation of Europe, a concept best described as the United States of Europe.
This was a bad idea. Not only because the concept of a “United States of Europe” is a bad idea in and of itself. By proclaiming support for a European federation, the new German government revealed that it was incapable of filling the shoes of former Chancellor Angela Merkel, who would never have been caught dead advocating for a USE. As much as her actions in office served to massively expand EU powers—at one point going so far as to violate treaties to bail out countries in order to save the Eurozone—she was smart enough never to endorse the idea openly.
The idea of a United States of Europe is unpopular in most countries, even as a long-term goal. It’s so unpopular, in fact, that supporters of federalization have long since discovered that the best way to centralize power away from the member states and to Brussels is by doing so quietly and discreetly.