EU as a new United States of Europe?
The first test for the European Union was a real success. However, when we had only few states in the economic alliance, we could not talk about European Union, but just of European Economic Community (EEC): a regional organization which aimed to bring economic integration among its 6 founding members. At that time, after that accomplishment, no one could have known that the foundation stone was laid. Then, soon it was time to give another face to EEC by bringing political and cultural integration with an own EU anthem, and then with social rights as a flag of a new era for Europe. All these efforts were made to move toward a federal State, a federal Europe. Nevertheless, there is not a unite consensus, among the states, about which steps European Union should make. If for some, a federation is a natural development after all those years, for instance the German position is quite clear on that; for some others, integration should be viewed with caution in favor of a confederation, or rather, an intergovernmental EU, as Britain claimed before Brexit turned the tables.
But, first, what is a federation and what confederation? And why federation seems today a proper path for the future of the European Union, to the point where “the leader of Germany’s Social Democrats, Martin Schulz, has called for EU member states to commit to a United States of Europe [expression invented by Winston Churchill in his speech at Zurich University] by 2025, setting out an ambitious European reform agenda”?
In the “Treccani” encyclopedia, a federation is a “union of states featured by conferring international legal personality to the union, and recognizing judicial, legislative and executive powers to the Federal States within the limits set by Federal Constitution”. Therefore, a federation is “a system of government in which significant governmental powers are divided and shared between the central government and small sub national units,” based on a division of powers laid out in a constitution.
On the other hand, confederation is an “alliance among neighboring states with common goals, especially on the international landscape, thanks to proper institutions, but in the same time remaining perfectly independent and sovereign on their own territory. The Treaty establishing different shared bodies with specific competences usually regarding security, defense and foreign policy”. It involves a top-down, loose system of administration and the key difference between