The EU ambassador to the US David O'Sullivan learnt at George H.W. Bush's funeral last month that the EU had been demoted by the United States from a state to an international organisation, when he was the last to be called out among the 30 foreign envoys invited to the former president's funeral. Brussels described the move as 'amateur.'
Since the formation of the European Coal and Steel Community in the 1950s, the US has always supported European integration, so Trump's attitude to Brussels represents a radical break from traditional US policy.
The original concept behind a Common Market, of course, was certainly one worth supporting. That's why 67 per cent of the UK electorate backed it in the first referendum we had on Europe in 1975. Free trade makes the world more prosperous. The EU, however, is much closer now to becoming a federal institution - where member states harmonise their defence, financial / economic, political and social interests. And it is this harmonization that has caused the political division in the UK that is Brexit.
One way the EU tried to pursue its federalist path is through a currency union. The eurozone, however, has had its difficulties. Countries like Italy and Greece have faced continuing economic challenges since its creation in 1999, with the actions of The European Central Bank, in applying a universal interest rate on economies of varying sizes in the euro, creating further difficulties. While these actions benefited countries like Germany, it sparked cheap borrowing and created housing bubbles in Ireland, Greece and Spain - which are paying the price (literally) for this policy to this day.
The 2015 Greek crisis demonstrated how intent Brussels is on retaining the single currency. With austerity imposed on the Greeks mainly against their will, the Troika (the Greek government, the IMF, and the European Commission) forced Greece to implement a policy that devastated their economy.
The European 'project', however, continues unabashed, despite the rise in nationalist feelings in a number of member states, with up to 8 country's who could follow Britain and ultimately leave the EU (Denmark, The Czech Republic, Ireland, Hungary, France, Sweden, Italy and Greece). As an economic union, the EU was a worthy and necessary initiative. If it had stopped there, we would all be celebrating membership to this day.
Donald Trump's administration, however, was wrong to declassify the EU from being a 'state' - it is, or at least it aims to be, a 'superstate', and that might, in the end, become the main reason for its demise.
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