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United States of Europe

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Title: United States of Europe  
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United States of Europe

  Current EU members
  EU Candidate countries
  Potential EU candidate countries
  EU Membership possible

The United States of Europe (sometimes abbreviated USE) or Federal Republic of Europe[1] is a name given to several similar hypothetical scenarios of the unification of Europe as a single sovereign federation of states, similar to the United States of America, both as projected by writers of speculative fiction and science fiction, and by political scientists, politicians, geographers, historians, and futurologists.


Various versions of the concept have developed over the centuries, many of which are mutually incompatible (inclusion or exclusion of the United Kingdom, secular or religious union, etc.). Such proposals include those from Bohemian King Duc de Sully of France in the seventeenth century; and the plan of William Penn, the Quaker founder of Pennsylvania, for the establishment of a "European Dyet, Parliament or Estates."

19th century

Felix Markham notes how during a conversation on St. Helena, Napoleon Bonaparte remarked, "Europe thus divided into nationalities freely formed and free internally, peace between States would have become easier: the United States of Europe would become a possibility."[2]

United States of Europe was also the name of the concept presented by Wojciech Jastrzębowski in About eternal peace between the nations, published 31 May 1831. The project consisted of 77 articles. The envisioned United States of Europe was to be an international organisation rather than a superstate.

Giuseppe Mazzini was an early advocate of a "United States of Europe", and regarded European unification as a logical continuation of the Unification of Italy.[3] He created the Young Europe movement.

The term United States of Europe (French: États-Unis d'Europe) was used by Victor Hugo, including during a speech at the International Peace Congress held in Paris in 1849. Hugo favoured the creation of "a supreme, sovereign senate, which will be to Europe what parliament is to England" and said "A day will come when all nations on our continent will form a European brotherhood ... A day will come when we shall see ... the United States of America and the United States of Europe face to face, reaching out for each other across the seas."

Hugo planted a tree in the grounds of his residence on the Island of Guernsey. He was noted in saying that when this tree matured the United States of Europe would have come into being. This tree to this day is still growing in the gardens of Maison de Hauteville, St. Peter Port, Guernsey, Victor Hugo's residence during his exile from France.

The Italian philosopher Carlo Cattaneo wrote, "The ocean is rough and whirling, and the currents go to two possible endings: the autocrat, or the United States of Europe". In 1867 Giuseppe Garibaldi and John Stuart Mill joined Victor Hugo at a congress of the League for Peace and Freedom in Geneva. Here the anarchist Mikhail Bakunin stated "That in order to achieve the triumph of liberty, justice and peace in the international relations of Europe, and to render civil war impossible among the various peoples which make up the European family, only a single course lies open: to constitute the United States of Europe". The French National Assembly also called for a United States of Europe on 1 March 1871.

20th century

Following the catastrophe of the [4] Before the Communist revolution in Russia, Trotsky foresaw a "Federated Republic of Europe — the United States of Europe", created by the proletariat.[5]

In 1929, Édouard Herriot and British civil servant Arthur Salter both penned books titled The United States of Europe.

During the World War II victories of Nazi Germany in 1940, Wilhelm II stated that "the hand of God is creating a new world & working miracles. ... We are becoming the United States of Europe under German leadership, a united European Continent."[6]

In 1941 the Italian anti-fascists Altiero Spinelli and Ernesto Rossi finished writing the Ventotene Manifesto, encouraging a federation of European states.[7]

The term United States of Europe was used by Winston Churchill in his speech delivered on 19 September 1946 at the University of Zurich, Switzerland.[8] In this speech given after the end of the Second World War, Churchill concluded that:

We must build a kind of United States of Europe. In this way only will hundreds of millions of toilers be able to regain the simple joys and hopes which make life worth living.[9]

Before the Second World War, Churchill favoured an isolationist attitude towards continental Europe. On 15 February 1930, Churchill commented in the American journal The Saturday Evening Post that a "European Union" was possible between continental states but without Britain's involvement:

We see nothing but good and hope in a richer, freer, more contented European commonality. But we have our own dream and our own task. We are with Europe, but not of it. We are linked but not compromised. We are interested and associated but not absorbed.[10]

Churchill's was a more cautious approach ("the unionist position") to European integration than was the continental approach that was known as "the federalist position".[11] The federalists advocated full integration with a constitution, while the Unionist United Europe Movement advocated a consultative body, and the federalists prevailed at the Congress of Europe.[11] The primary accomplishment of the Congress of Europe was the European Court of Human Rights, which predates the European Union.[12]

Prospects for closer union

The CERN). The euro is often referred to as the "single European currency", which has been officially adopted by eighteen EU countries while seven other member countries of the European Union have linked their currencies to the euro in ERM II. In addition a number of European territories outside the EU have adopted the euro unofficially such as Montenegro, the Republic of Kosovo and Andorra.

The EU, however, does not have a single constitution, a single government, a single foreign policy set by that government, a single taxation system contributing to a single exchequer, or a single military. There is no such thing as a single European justice system, let alone a European prosecutor who could enforce European Union law in European trial courts independent of the courts of individual member states. There are no European trial judges who have sworn loyalty to Europe over loyalty to their home countries, and no European prisons. Without its own independent courts and prisons, the European Union's ability to curb corruption in member states is severely limited (especially in contrast to the federal government of the United States).

Several pan-European institutions exist separate from the EU. The European Space Agency counts almost all the EU member nations in its membership, but it is independent of the EU and its membership includes nations that are not EU members, notably Switzerland and Norway. The European Court of Human Rights (not to be confused with the European Court of Justice) is also independent of the Union. It is an element of the Council of Europe which, like ESA, counts EU members and non-members alike in its membership.

At present, the European Union is a free association of sovereign states designed to further their shared aims. Other than the vague aim of "ever closer union" in the Solemn Declaration on European Union, the Union (meaning its member governments) has no current policy to create either a federation or a confederation. However, in the past, Jean Monnet, a person associated with the EU and its predecessor the European Economic Community did make such proposals. A wide range of other terms are in use, to describe the possible future political structure of Europe as a whole, and/or the EU. Some of them, such as United Europe, are used often, and in such varied contexts, but they have no definite constitutional status.

In the USA, the concept enters serious discussions of whether a unified Europe is feasible and what impact increased European unity would have on the United States of America's relative political and economic power. Glyn Morgan, a T.R. Reid's The United States of Europe and Jeremy Rifkin's The European Dream. Neither the National Review nor the Chronicle of Higher Education doubt the appropriateness of the term in their reviews.[13][14]

European Federalist Organisations

Various federalist organisations have been created over time supporting the idea of a federal Europe. These include the Union of European Federalists, the European Movement International and the European Federalist Party.

Union of European Federalists

The Young European Federalists and developed in 30 countries of Europe.

European Movement International

The European Movement International is a lobbying association that coordinates the efforts of associations and national councils with the goal of promoting European integration, and disseminating information about it.

European Federalist Party

The European Federalist Party is the pro-European, pan-European and federalist political party which advocates further integration of the EU and the establishment of a Federal Europe. Its aim is to gather all Europeans to promote European federalism and to participate in all elections all over Europe. It has national sections in 15 countries.


Guy Verhofstadt

Following the negative referenda about the European Constitution in France and the Netherlands, the Belgian ex-prime minister Guy Verhofstadt released in November 2005 his book, written in Dutch, Verenigde Staten van Europa ("United States of Europe") in which he claims – based on the results of a Eurobarometer questionnaire – that the average European citizen wants more Europe. He thinks a federal Europe should be created between those states that wish to have a federal Europe (as a form of enhanced cooperation). In other words, a core federal Europe would exist within the current EU. He also states that these core states should federalise the following five policy areas: a European social-economic policy, technology cooperation, a common justice and security policy, a common diplomacy and a European army.[15] This short book is a summing up of the condition the EU "idea" consequent to the "No" votes on the European constitution, in referendums held in 2005 in France and the Netherlands. In this book the author enunciates his case forcefully for a stronger federal approach to the economic and political challenges the EU member states will face in the future.

Verhofstadt's book was awarded the first President of the European Commission Jacques Delors. The prize money was €20,000. The prize was declared at the European Parliament in Brussels on 5 December 2007. Swedish crime fiction writer Henning Mankell was the president of the jury of European journalists for choosing the first recipient. Mankell said, "The jury was sensitive to the political courage showed by the current prime minister of Belgium. In a Europe which has a lot of self doubt, which has a lot of questions about its own future, he offers a clear proposal for the future and gives reasons to believe in European construction."

While receiving the reward Verhofstadt said, "When I wrote this book, I in fact meant it as a provocation against all those who didn't want the European Constitution. Fortunately, in the end a solution was found with the treaty, that was approved."[16]

Viviane Reding

In 2012 Viviane Reding the Luxembourguish Vice-president of the European Commission called, in a speech in Passau, Germany, and in a series of articles and interviews for the establishment of the United States of Europe as a way to strengthen the unity of Europe.[17]

Matteo Renzi

The Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said in 2014 that under his leadership Italy would use its six-month long presidency of the European Union to push for the establishment of a United States of Europe.[18]


The European Union does not include every nation in Europe and there is no consensus among the existing national governments towards becoming even a Confederation. There is also significant internal opposition to the concept in many member states.

The term United States of Europe, as a direct comparison with the United States of America, would imply that the existing nations of Europe would be reduced to a status equivalent to that of a US state, losing their national sovereignty in the process and becoming constituent parts of a European federation. Just as the United States of America has evolved from a confederation (under the 1777 Articles of Confederation) into a federation, the term the United States of Europe might also be used to describe a potential confederation of independent states. Those who oppose and criticise forming a federation or confederation of European states may be termed Eurosceptics; however it should be noted that opposition to the creation of a European federation does not equate with opposition to the European Union or the process of European integration.


Future superpower

The United States of Europe is widely hypotheticised, fictionalised, or depicted as a superpower which is as or more powerful than the USA. Some people such as T.R. Reid, Andrew Reding, and quality of life (when measured in terms such as hours worked per week and income distribution).[19] Some experts claim that Europe has developed a sphere of influence called the Eurosphere.

A small power

Norwegian foreign policy scholar and commentator Asle Toje has argued that the power and reach of the European Union more closely resembles a small power.[20] In his book The EU As a Small Power, he argues that the EU is a response to and function of Europe's unique historical experience in that the EU contains the remnants of not one but five past European orders. Although the 1990s and early 2000s have shown that there is policy space for greater EU engagement in European security, the EU has been unable to meet these expectations.[21] The author expresses particular concerns over the Union's security and defence dimension CSDP where attempts at pooling resources and forming a political consensus have failed to generate the results expected. These trends, combined with shifts in global power patterns, are seen to have been accompanied by a shift in EU strategic thinking whereby great-power ambitions have been scaled down and replaced by a tendency towards hedging vis-à-vis the great powers. The author uses the case of the EUFOR intervention in Darfur and Chad to illustrate that the EU's effectiveness is hampered by a consensus–expectations gap, owing primarily to the lack of an effective decision-making mechanism. In his view, the sum of these developments is that the EU will not be a great power, and is taking the place of a small power in the emerging multi-polar international order.


In the fictional universe of Eric Flint's best selling alternate history 1632 series, a United States of Europe is formed out of the Confederation of Principalities of Europe, which was composed of several German political units of the 1630s.[22]

Science fiction has made particular use of the idea: Incompetence, a dystopian novel by Red Dwarf creator Rob Grant, is a murder mystery political thriller set in a federated Europe of the near future, where stupidity is a constitutionally protected right. References to a European Alliance or European Hegemony have also existed in episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987–1994). In the Spy High series of books for young adults, written by A. J. Butcher and set around the 2060s, a united Europe exists in the form of "Europa", and Andrew Roberts's 1995 book The Aachen Memorandum details a United States of Europe formed from a fraudulent referendum entitled the Aachen Referendum.

Since the 2000s a number of computer strategy games set in the future have presented a unified European faction alongside other established military powers such as the U.S. and Russia. These include Euro Force, a 2006 expansion pack to Battlefield 2, and Battlefield 2142 (also released in 2006, with a 2007 expansion pack). In Battlefield 2142 a united Europe is shown as one of the two great superpowers on Earth, the other being Asia, despite being mostly frozen in a new ice age. The disaster theme continues with Tom Clancy's EndWar (2009), in which a nuclear war between Iran and Saudi Arabia, destroying the Middle Eastern oil supply, prompts the EU to integrate further as the "European Federation" in 2018. The only game not to make bold claims of full integration is Shattered Union (2005), set in a future civil war in the U.S., with the European Union portrayed as a peacekeeping force. The video game series Wipeout, on the other hand, makes a clear federal reference without a military element: one of the core teams that has appeared in every game is FEISAR. This acronym stands for Federal European Industrial Science And Research.

See also


  1. ^ "Die Endstation ist klar – Bundesrepublik Europa"
  2. ^ Felix Markham, Napoleon (New York: Penguin Books USA Inc., 1966), 257 as quoted in Matthew Zarzeczny, Napoleon's European Union: The Grand Empire of the United States of Europe (Kent State University Master's thesis), 2.
  3. ^ Mazzini, Giuseppe (2009). "From a Revolutionary Alliance to the United States of Europe". In Steffano Reccia; Nadia Urbinati. A Cosmopolitanism of Nations. Princeton University Press. pp. 131–135. 
  4. ^ Internationale Paneuropa Union - Union Paneuropeénne Internationale - International Paneuropean Union
  5. ^ John Reed, "Ten Days That Shook The World", Boni & Liveright, New York, (March 1919) ch. 3.
  6. ^ Jonathan Petropoulos, Royals and the Reich, Oxford University Press (2006) p. 170
  7. ^ Bertrand Vayssière, "Le Manifeste de Ventotene (1941): Acte de Naissance du Federalisme Europeen," Guerres Mondiales et Conflits Contemporains (Jan 2005), Vol. 55 Issue 217
  8. ^ "Speech of Sir Winston Churchill". PACE website. Zürich, Switzerland:  
  9. ^ Churchill, Winston (19 September 1946). Speech to the Academic Youth (Speech). Zürich, Switzerland. Archived from the original on 2 May 2013. Retrieved 18 November 2013. 
  10. ^ Biddeleux, Robert; Taylor, Richard (1996). European Integration and Disintegration: east and west. Routledge. pp. 37–38.  
  11. ^ a b D. Dinan, 2005. Ever Closer Union, 3rd ed. ISBN 1-58826-234-0. pages 14–15.
  12. ^ D. Dinan, 2005. Ever Closer Union, 3rd ed. ISBN 1-58826-234-0. page 15.
  13. ^
  14. ^ Making the Case for a United States of Europe - Research - The Chronicle of Higher Education
  15. ^ As a side-note, following the ratification of the Treaty of Lisbon (December 2009) by all member states of the EU, the outline of a common diplomatic service, known as the External Action Service of the European Union (EEAS) was set in place. On 20 February 2009, The European Parliament also voted in favour of the creation of Synchronised Armed Forces Europe (SAFE) as a first step towards a forming a true European military force.[1]
  16. ^ EuroNews TV Report of 9 December 2007
  17. ^ EUROPA - PRESS RELEASES - Press release - Why we need a United States of Europe now
  18. ^
  19. ^ Europe: the new superpower by Mark Leonard, Irish Times, Accessed 13 March 2014
  20. ^ "The European Union as a Small Power"
  21. ^ Europe heads for Japanese irrelevance Financial Times
  22. ^  


  • Michael Josef Rüschenschmidt: Verfassung für die Vereinigten Staaten von Europa - Ein Entwurf - Ein Vorschlag für eine politische Vertiefung der europäischen Integration. Münster 2010, ISBN 978-3-86991-023-9 (deutsch); Constitution of the United States of Europe - A Concept or Blueprint - A suggestion of a political deepening of the European integration (written in German language).

External links

  • Political speeches by Victor Hugo: Victor Hugo, My Revenge is Fraternity!, where he used the term United States of Europe.
  • Towards a United States of Europe, by Jürgen Habermas, at
  • Euroesprit – EU Flag & Symbols Site
  • Site about the United States of Europe
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