EU/Eurozone – Start Again or Plod On?
Republic versus Monarchy
There has always been a general view that a united Europe will be some form of a republic, but is this a reasonable and widely held premise? Most of the republics around the world leave much to be desired in the stature of its president, or the continuity of national pride. This subject should not be an assumption for the future of Europe, but tested with the people, as should every facet of such a European integration process. In this blog we will quickly look at this issue in order for people to look at the possibilities.
The difference in formalising a United States of Europe and our template of the formation of the United States of America is that, in the case of the USA, it was a completely new venture, whereas Europe has functioning nation states with much historic ‘baggage’, extending back centuries in some cases. This ‘baggage’ will be a major emotional issue in creating a united Europe, as has been shown in the current EU/Eurozone model. Furthermore the integration of Europe looks more like a creeping expropriation of the sovereignty of nation states conducted by a faceless, unelected bureaucracy rather than an open integration by a consensual electorate. It might be worth mentioning that some of the countries of Europe seemingly have a long history but, in fact their history, as the nation state is today, can be little more than 100 years. I think of Italy and Germany as examples.
As an example of the legitimacy of this subject the UK has a constitutional monarchy having a current popularity rating around 87%. A further complication is that the Queen has a constituency of some 1.6 billion people throughout the world spanning some many countries including Canada, India and Australia. If reports from the USA are correct a free vote amongst the American people to adopt the English monarchy as the constitutional monarch of the USA would increase this constituency by a further 300 million or so (there were some 26 USA TV channels in London for the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations, and the marriage of William and Kate). Compare this with the total population of the existing EU member states, and the fact that if it came down to a choice by the citizens of the UK between full integration within the Eurozone (essentially becoming part of a republic) and retaining our monarchy – retaining the monarchy would certainly win. We are already seeing this obstacle in the attempt by the Scottish National Party to devolve Scotland from the UK – most of the people of Scotland do not wish to lose their link to the monarchy.
A recent referendum in Australia regarding changing to a republic resulted in an overwhelming vote to retain the monarchy such that any further discussion has been shelved during the lifetime of the Queen.
For the republicans amongst you the reason why the UK has such a high regard for the monarchy can be readily defined in a simple example. Since WWII the UK has had only two what could be called ‘world statesperson’ leaders, namely Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher. In between these two statespersons the UK has endured political leaders ranging from awful to passable. However the line was held throughout these periods by the steadfast presence and continuity of the monarchy with a Queen who has shown herself to be an extraordinary stateswoman. And it only costs some 50p p.a. (Euro 40 cents) per head of population of the UK to retain this safety net – no more expensive than a President, or even a cup of coffee. Politicians come and go, but a steadfast and committed monarchy maintains continuity, even in the bad times.
There is also a much loved and active monarchy in Spain, and there are more low key monarchies in other European countries such as The Netherlands, and Sweden.
I am reliably advised that many Romanians would happily restore their monarchy which was very closely connected through marriage to the British and former German monarchy. Romania has maintained the stunning Peles Castle at Sinaia throughout the communist years, and it is still functional today.
In contrast look at the shambolic collections of political heads of state in the republic states of Europe and the USA over recent years, riddled with sex scandals, fraud, and abuse of office. Do any in Europe stand out as a true ‘world statesperson’? I would willingly concede to Helmut Schmidt, but then I start to struggle unless I have missed anyone. Angela Merkel is showing some mettle, so the jury is still out with respect to her.
It would be very interesting to conduct a census of all European people about the restoration of a constitutional monarch based on the English model (being the oldest and having by far the largest constituency), and which was originally German (House of Hanover) in any event. As some countries already have a monarchy, and I think that I am safe in saying that Poland would vote in favour, I would not be surprised if the odds are in favour of a monarchy, especially if the various royal families can agree how to integrate into a single constitutional monarchy for Europe.
Thus I suggest that we cannot assume that our new United States of Europe will be a republic if the people have their say on the matter. Indeed we cannot assume that all nation states within the current structure consider a presidential democracy as a preferred option.
Could a monarchy of Europe be a focal point for integration by the people, especially as it would not be soiled by mistrust of the political process? When the politicians are totally out of favour the people need something they can look to for that comfort factor.
What do you think?
Thank you for your continued interest in this European venture.
I hope that you found this blog interesting, and will give it the ‘thumbs up’ below. You can also use the share options below to share your interest in this blog with others you know.
These blogs are intended to provoke thought and ideas so I look forward to any comments about the content. Just move to the beginning of the blog, click on ‘Comments’ and you can record your views, or ask questions.
- Scottish independence: Support for monarchy vote (scotsman.com)
- Confidence in British monarchy at all-time high: UK poll (thehindu.com)