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Last toast: The fall of the Berlin Wall has rendered the EU out of date (Wolfgang Kumm/DPA)

Almost overnight, euroenthusiasts have folded their tents and abandoned the field. Television editors, unable to find any elected representatives prepared to argue for closer integration, keep having to make do with a former Labour MEP called Richard Corbett, who now works for European Council President Herman Van Rompuy. Barely a week passes without another pro-Brussels columnist turning his coat and claiming to have had his doubts all along (Matthew Parris and Max Hastings are among the most recent to have issued gracious recantations). Paddy Ashdown, a long-standing federalist, now says that it would be better for the single currency to break apart.

Commentators who have spent years singing paeans of praise to the European project are chanting threnodies over its coffin. No less an Establishment europhile than Sir Stephen Wall, the man who ran Britain's European policy under John Major and Tony Blair, now says: "We have seen the high point of the European Union. With a bit of luck it will last our lifetime, but it's on the way out." Sir Stephen is 64.

I can't help feeling that we're getting a little bit ahead of ourselves. We empirical British often make the mistake of thinking that, because something can't work, it won't happen. It's what we said about Soviet Communism and, of course, we were ultimately right. But it wouldn't have been much fun to have been born in Moscow in 1910 and lived through the process of it not working. There is, as Adam Smith said, a deal of ruin in a nation — or in a union.

The logical response to the euro crisis would be to recognise that it was wrong to jam widely divergent countries into a single set of policies. While there are no easy outcomes from here, the least bad option would be an orderly unbundling of the euro, allowing the peripheral states to devalue and begin exporting their way back to growth.

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Bedd Gelert
November 25th, 2011
11:11 PM
Remember that phrase "I've got the t-shirt.." Well I have got the EU's t-shirt - I charity I used to do some work for received money from the EU Social Fund. Of course, in return one of the strings was that all the promotional items had to have the EU flag on it, so we would be grateful of the beneficence of the EU in letting us have some of our own money back... Nothing shocking in that, I suppose, as the 'National Lottery' do a similar thing, but at least with that it is a choice to buy a lottery ticket..

Charles
November 7th, 2011
1:11 PM
Well done. I especially appreciate the insight into the corruption that characterises the European enterprise. However some mechanism for pan European cooperation is surely necessary so the questions remain 'How can the EU be reformed,made accountable and its powers properly limited to those areas where co-operation between the nations of Europe is essential?

vilip
October 14th, 2011
12:10 PM
Too plain. You are losing too many from sight.

happyboy
October 3rd, 2011
4:10 PM
An insightful, informative piece, explaining the history of the EU from its roots to where we are now A must read for the ordinary person who has an interest in the future of their continent as well as for policy makers who hold positions of power and influence

John Hunt
October 3rd, 2011
10:10 AM
An excellent article thank you which merits wider circulation. Everyone who cares about the future of Europe needs to keep the pressure on our politicians and the media to bring about an orderly breakup of the euro zone and the EU. John Hunt

Bob
October 3rd, 2011
9:10 AM
Does anyone seriously believe that the EU is all that prevents Germany from invading it's neighbours again?

zaza
October 3rd, 2011
9:10 AM
I agree with lojolondon,it's all about Germany and power,seriously I don't think they can help themselves.

Remy
October 3rd, 2011
7:10 AM
Spot on Daniel

LOJOLONDON
October 3rd, 2011
7:10 AM
Good article, Dan, just two points : Why is David Cameron so late to the party? If he believed in the EU last year, I guess there would be some base for it, but he promised referendums. Now that it is collapsing in a heap, he is promising there will never be a referendum. Out of touch, crazily so! Secondly, the whole idea that Germans are paying for the EU from a sense of guilt or responsibility. Some may be, but I also think that it is a power grab, putting Germany at the heart of Europe. See their response to being called Nazis - methinks they doth protest too much.

Corrigenda
October 3rd, 2011
7:10 AM
Exactly so. Perhaps to help things along this Nov 5th we should reform the "National Association of Ted Heath Burners" as a way to keep the end of The Project in sight?

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