The Corner

Dreams of Empire

Jose Maria Barroso, President of the EU Commission (July 2007):

“Sometimes I like to compare the EU as a creation to the organisation of empire. We have the dimension of empire..”

David Lizoain, writing in Social Europe earlier this month:

In Europe, where the mini-states are concentrated, we can begin to draw a chain of analogies. It starts with those frontier-hugging outliers. It continues with states that are somewhat larger but also have their own peculiar tax and banking laws (Cyprus, Luxembourg, Malta) and then onwards to Switzerland, the grandest rogue jurisdiction on the continent. Nothing stops us from advancing one step further and scrutinizing the particular tax arrangements in Ireland, or Austria, or the Netherlands, or even the City of London. The broader point is that an absence of tax harmonization makes it easy for the states of Europe to undercut one another. It would be ideal to modify the behaviour of the strongest countries, but perhaps more practical to start with the smallest…

…These mini-states have no usefulness for the European (or global) population. They exist to serve the elites of the states that protect them. In the interest of an ever-closer union and a fuller democracy, they should all be abolished.

Soviet foreign minister Molotov to the Lithuanian writer and politician, Vincas Kreve-Mickevicius (June 30, 1940):

“You must take a good look at reality and understand that in the future small nations will have to disappear.”

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