13:16 GMT +323 January 2018
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    The United States of Europe: Towards Independence or Dependency?

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    Andrew Korybko
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    The leader of Germany's Social Democratic Party Martin Schulz called for a "United States of Europe" by 2025, and while his idea could in theory improve the continent's independent standing in an increasingly competitive world, it would certainly come at the expense of state sovereignty.

    Schulz offered up his vision late last week because he said that this was the only way to counter rising skepticism within the bloc, adding that EU members who reject any future federalization treaty should end up leaving the union. As could be expected, his proposal was met with an outcry of condemnation from various corners of Europe who argued that it was asking for too much, too soon, and at too wrong of a moment in the aftermath of Brexit.

    Surprisingly, however, even some politicians in prevalently liberal Germany were against it too, particularly those in Chancellor Angela Merkel's party. The Christian Democratic Union is worried that this radical move could further alienate the electorate, which is a serious concern because of the possibility that new elections might be called if the party doesn't enter into a governing coalition with the Social Democrats. The concept of a "United States of Europe", as expressed by Schulz, implies the creation of a cohesive American-like superstate, albeit one which takes the idea of a "two-speed Europe" to an extreme by excluding EU members who refuse to join.

    If ever implemented in practice, this would definitely enable more rapid and centralized decision making, and it could also allow Germany to relieve itself of the financial burden that Berlin has been shouldering for hitherto self-interested reasons on behalf of some of the EU's poorer members. In addition, the "United States of Europe" would naturally have its own "EU Army" as well. The problem with all of this, however, is that it would destroy the concept of sovereign states in the ideological quest to craft a superstate and thus make all of the previously independent states dependent on a single authority.

    In response, it's natural that many of the sovereignty-supporting states of the Polish-led "Three Seas Initiative" in Central and Eastern Europe would vehemently oppose any progress on this front, and with Schulz suggesting that all naysayers be kicked out of the EU, this career Europhile might inadvertently be laying the basis for the bloc's outright collapse.

    Michael Schäfer, journalist and novelist from Germany, former 20-year-long member of the SPD and an actual member of DIE LINKE (the Left) party, and Gabriela Morgado, Lisbon-based political commentator, commented on the issue.

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    Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), European Union, Martin Schulz, Germany, Europe
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