The EU is an Empire, argues historian Thierry Baudet. There's nothing wrong with that, replies philosopher Roger Scruton, as long as it does not denigrate the nations it rules, because it's here where attachment to a community springs.
Thierry Baudet makes controversial claims in his book, and in his article in the NRC Handelsblad of last week. But he is right about one thing, which is that the project of European integration was founded on the belief that nationhood and national self-determination were the prime causes of the wars that had ruined Europe.
As a result of this founding belief European integration was conceived in one-dimensional terms, as a process of ever-increasing unity, under a centralised structure of command. Each increase in central power was to be matched by a diminution of national power.
In other words, the political process in Europe was to be endowed with a direction. It is not a direction that the people of Europe have chosen, and every time they are given the chance to vote they reject it – hence everything is done to ensure that they never have the chance to vote. The process moves always towards centralisation, top-down control, dictatorship by unelected bureaucrats and judges, cancellation of laws passed by elected parliaments, constitutional treaties framed without any input whatsoever from the people, and a currency imposed from above and with no clear decision as to who bears the burden of the debts associated with it.