This could happen slowly, countries joining one by one the system: when a country joins, it offers 5% of its main election(s) to other EU countries, and in exchange it can vote for other EU countries main elections.
This would oblige national politicians to address the concerns of European citizens outside of their country. This would be very welcome since the choices of national politicians do not just affect the lives of the nationals, but if affects the lives of other Europeans too.
As the national economies are all strongly intertwined and the economic choices of one EU country very affects others, two solutions come to mind: (a) a strong federal government like in the US, where the decisions of state politicians barely affect other states; (b) to keep the current system where national politicians can make choices that affect all Europeans, but let all Europeans have a say in their election.
It would be an administrative nightmare. You would have to vote 28 / 4 times per year!!!
It would have little effect, but MASSIVE push back.
These years the EU needs to lay low, and focus on doing good without drawing more people to support the extreme right-wing/neo-nazis.
This is not the time for bold moves in western Europe; this could back-fire. There are some wiggle room for playing hard ball in eastern Europe, like getting Romanian prisons into ECHR compliance.
Technically speaking, not even the Germans are allowed to vote a chancellor. ;)
As the article states, the level of integration required for these kind of things is nowhere to be found.
The European Union is at crossroads: Either integrates and disintegrates. Half-measures like the ones proposed by the new French PM are not going to work. Not to mention that is nearly impossible for him to achieve anything substantial against Berlin.
It's like an ancient Greek tragedy. Everybody tries to make his best, while every action of every key-player leads inevitably to the worst possible outcome.
Alternatively, this has been in the making for a long time, but always has been kept back by the UK to support their relevance inside of the EU. Why do you state that it "[of course] is not going to fly"? Can you refer to some similar situations that provide precedent for your prediction?
> The European Union is at crossroads
Why? And why at this particular point in time? Is it because the UK is leaving, or are there any other reasons the EU cannot maintain their current course?
> Not to mention that is nearly impossible for him to achieve anything substantial against Berlin.
How so? Is the EU colluding with Germany to the detriment of the other member states? Can you provide any evidence of this?
> Everybody tries to make his best, while every action of every key-player leads inevitably to the worst possible outcome.
Do you mean for this particular endeavour or their policies in general? Because in general the results of the EU up to this point seem far from the worst possible outcome. If you mean this particular policy, why do you believe it will lead to the worst possible outcome in this specific instance?
However minimal this effort is, it is certainly wise given Brexit, increasing influence of isolationists and nationalists in the US, and Russia's appetite for power projection.
I don't know which void this is supposed to fill, as military was not really part of the EU up until now.
The void is the hole in France's pocket. See: France's historical relationship with Nato.
There has been a Franco-German formation for 30 years now, it's never actually deployed https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franco-German_Brigade
But the EU for all its pretensions never "kept the peace in Europe" - that was NATO, and unless Corbyn is elected, there's no chance of the UK leaving.
We are here and where we are now was also deemed impossible. Slow and steady wins the race. People with excessive opinion and limited knowledge don't last decades. It's how change sneaks in.
Healthcare, housing, education, infrastructure. Those are the things I take pride in. Not a new airforce jet.
People do take pride in the security and strength a jet provides in times of crisis.
You can't achieve any of the things you take pride in without the ability to defend yourself. In your case, you have America do it for you. What would happen if America didn't spend more than Switzerland's entire GDP on defense?
But not that long ago in the Pacific Theater the US intervened to stop a very determined Imperial Japan. Without that intervention China and other Asian nations may not have been able to survive.
Nowadays, Japan has no need for much of a military as the US is more than happy to help out one of our now good allies and trade partners. The idea of Japan being threatened by a possible North Korean attack provokes a protective response from most Americans I know.
I'm sure our Japanese allies are very grateful that they can focus their government spending on other things that matter to them like the incredible standard of living they enjoy.
The military is a drain on the budget and every cent that goes to it is a tragic waste. Nobody in the US would ever describe the military as a "necessary evil".
I would estimate that the number of Americans who would say this is about 40%. Of the people who disagree with that, 30% would take issue with the "necessary" part, and the final 30% would take issue with the "evil" part.
>The military is a drain on the budget and every cent that goes to it is a tragic waste
Just look at all the harm it did to the US during WWI & WWII.
But yes, European NATO members should spend a bit more. In fact, this was resolved under Bush with non-binding spending targets for 2020 (2% of GDP).
Credit where credit is due: many of the Eastern Europeans NATO members have already hit spending targets ahead of time. And if you google a bit, you see countless articles about European countries committing to increasing defense spending.
Then they could afford universal healthcare and quality public education?
Yes, some of it is justified, and NATO countries have agreed on non-binding spending targets for 2020: To be fair, many of the Eastern European countries have hit said spending targets ahead of time too.
This has nothing to do with any pride. It has everything to do with security and survival. Without it, all those other things you mentioned you can kiss goodbye.
There is no minimum. There is a non-binding spending target at 2% of GDP for 2020.
Much of Eastern Europe is understandably already hitting that.
Some of western Europe won't hit the targets.
I for one understand why increased military spending (and international deployments) is a sensitive subject in Germany.
But, nobody says the US have to be a 3.6% of GDP. Maybe you should target for 3% of GDP and spend some money on free education and healthcare. Maybe you could even go to 2% of GDP.
And then have it's European allies reach their 2% goal.
Allowing the US to have it's cake and eat it too :)
But Americans aren't smart enough to vote for less military, or disarmerment... And with so much money on politics there is no chance anyone dares to reduce the size of the US defense budget.
Unfortunately, all those nice things go away if your adversary decides to take pride in their new airforce jets.
But those things would never have happened without US defence spending, because the Europeans would have had to spend that money defending the Fulda Gap from the Third Shock Army.
Doing that and funding a welfare state would indeed be something to be proud of, but don't kid yourself that Europe achieved this by its own effort.
The real question is how this relates to NATO; I suspect that sensible people have realised that perhaps they can no longer rely on the US, UK, or for that matter Turkey.
Undoubtedly there's some sort of arms industry boondoggling going on too. There always is.
The world does need the EU to step up it's leadership, but we're not at a breaking point yet.
I also think that a coalition of France, Canada, and the UK could act as a decision making block in light of the political situation in America right now. The UK is still one of the most powerful atomic weapons armed countries and has good relations with many countries around the world, France is the most powerful / stable EU country with good relations with many countries around the world, and Canada could act as a good representative for North America and has enough soft power and reputation to pull together non-aligned countries and other members of the global liberal order.
The UK can't decide its way out of a paper bag at the moment. See other comment; while the permanent state yet functions, the political leadership is a mess and we're still discussing whether it's a good idea to collapse our major export industries or not.
What's the UK done to your or anyone else in Europe to make them think that their military is not reliable any more?
UK military commitment to Europe was always via NATO so will not change under Brexit, and the UK still provides the headquarters and much of the troops for the cooperative formations in Europe such as ARC.
UK troops are on the ground in eastern Europe right now in the NATO EFP against Russia, providing I think (couldn't find a source right now) more troops than anyone else is.
In the event of an actual crisis, what happens? Are we going to fight a war in the middle of Brexit and/or a general election?
Far more relevant is what happens if a UK ally, vital or dispensible, gets invaded. Or yet another impending massacre of civilians, such as got us involved in Libya. As with the first and second world wars, are a huge number of people going to get killed or displaced in an unnecessary conflict?
Or if the UK manages to accidentally restart armed conflict in Northern Ireland; a Brexit that puts up customs posts there will get them blown up.
Would the segment of the UK that voted for Brexit in order to deport Poles cheerfully come to the defence of Poland?
Are you aware that the UK has a large presence in Poland literally right now? And has been exercising their for years to prepare for needing to be able to defend Poland? And that new troops have gone out there since the Brexit vote?
I think most people in the UK remember Poland coming to our defence in WW2 and would do the same for them today, regardless of their opinion of immigration policy.
Note: Not all EU countries are part of this, and NATO is still the primary alliance.
An actual crisis tends to focus the mind.