5 Reasons Why the EU is Not Actually U (nited)


The EU consists of many zones that unite countries: the economic zone (biggest), the EU and the Euro zone. The latest 2009 crisis and the recent Brexit revealed however how fragile and un-united the EU is compared to other federal unions.


1. Historical and cultural differences

5 Reasons Why the EU is Not Actually U (nited)

In history, Europe has always been divided in different nations with closed borders. That made travel and cultural exchange difficult. A french still feels french, a German German, … The US was also populated by many nationatities, but they had one dream in common: getting a better and new life and a new nationality

2. Languages

5 Reasons Why the EU is Not Actually U (nited)

There are now already 24 official EU languages. That doesn’t make communication and a united feeling easy. The US only has to cope with Spanish and English (to my knowledge).

3. Education

5 Reasons Why the EU is Not Actually U (nited)

In schools, children get a national education, but certainly not a Europe directed one. And even national feelings are not so strong. Imagine singing the European (or even the national) anthem at a concert or other public occasions (aside from sport competitions). Unthinkable in Europe and people would even find it ridiculous. Almost as normal as saying hello in the US.

4. Currency

5 Reasons Why the EU is Not Actually U (nited)

The EURO was a good step in making life easy when traveling and paying. In the beginning only countries with a strong economy could participate. Later “poorer” nations were allowed. The big crisis that affected Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Ireland showed again division. The fact that the “rich” had to pay for the debts of the other was not helping a united feeling. This seemed to play less in the US between states.

5. Power and money

5 Reasons Why the EU is Not Actually U (nited)

Maybe the most important. Although we have a European parliament and government, every nation still has its own and even subgovernments (belgium is specialist in that). This is for so called protection of the national interests. But it is more clear that all the local politicians don’t want to give up their well payed jobs, networking and are power gay. The US could start from almost scratch when it was founded, so new structures were not fighting that much with existing.

And there are many other reasons, but these are the most important to my belief.

And it's interesting to know from other “unions” how they cope with their “united” feeling (Russian, Australian, ...)

5 Reasons Why the EU is Not Actually U (nited)
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  • John_Doesnt
    I could say the same thing about the different states of the US, but we are United. Everything except for the different currency.
    We have the weirdos in the south with their own language. Different education from state to state. And HUGE culture differences between California and Texas.
    Is this still revelant?

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What Girls & Guys Said

  • Ray-98
    I think 1, 2 and 3 are pretty superficial. There are some petty differences that show through in political arguments. But these have always been overlooks quite easily for mutual financial success. Before the EU started, it was called the common market and was only there so countries could trade easily.

    4 actually hurts the weaker economies more. They used to be able to devalue their currency to attract investment. But now they have to try and compete on a level playing field with much stronger nations.

    5 I don't think it is about people trying to keep their jobs/power. I think it is more about 28 countries run so differently that any major changes would cost a fortune and seriously harm their economies.

    Since the crash 10 years ago, people have started to realise just how badly the EU is run. I am not saying that it is all bad. The EU have done a lot of good things. But some of the really big decisions they have got terribly wrong.

    Forcing Greece to change their economy too quickly forcing them into debts bigger than the country can handle and then holding that debt over them. It will literally take them centuries to recover, if they ever do.

    They are about to do something similar to Italy. Their banks are buried under €400mil of bad debt. The Italian gov want to write this off against their bonds. But the EU will not allow this as they say it could hurt the EU market. But that is insane, because Italy's collapsing like Greece will surely be worse.

    Their reaction to the Syrian crisis was to let Greece and Italy get overwhelmed and let desperate people drown in the Med. And when the newspapers turned on them, they made a dodgy deal with Turkey to deal with the refugees.

    And while this is happening the president (Jean Claude Junker) is talking about bringing in Turkey and pushing for greater powers to be moved from individual countries to the EU. Surely we should not be thinking about doing stuff like this until we have helped the parts of the EU in a terrible recession out first.

    Living in London, I love the free market. And I do not know anyone who has a problem with other European cultures or languages. But the political baggage that comes with being in the EU is pretty bad. And I think most people here would love to go back to just the common market, where people could live and work where they want and trade easily, but each country was left to run itself internally.
    • Education, language and borders are superficial? They were only the originators of nationalism and the nation state to begin with!

    • I agree with the rest of the stuff you said.

    • Xfitchick

      Nice extra thoughts too

  • Spiorad_Aisce
    I think the idea was that it would be a group of independent countries that have an economic union. As you say the identities, languages and the education are very different. The single currency is somewhat of a unifier but more from a economic background. Number 5 unfortunately we still have national political structures, I do not have a great deal of faith in Irish politicians and as you say local politicians like their power too much to let it go very easily.
  • front2back
    And then even in own countries there isn't unity! Like your country Belgium, split between the Dutch, French, and German speakers.
    • Xfitchick

      The silly thing is that the people are not really split, but its pushed by politicians in their favour. The divide and rule thing.

  • Spermdumster666
    There's a feeling in Europe that the Germans want to dominate the EU.
  • Mariann
    I am from Romania and I think the EU is way too different nowdays from what was supposed to be 50 years ago. So I think it would be better for my country to get out or the EU's distribution of power be changed.
  • Alex88F
    EU is just a lie, made up of bankers, mobsters and whatever the fuck you may think
  • colourz
    Thats why america is the greatest country in the world... AMERICA FUCK YEAH!
  • zombiebabe
    Good take!
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
    The Euro currency project is doomed. You cannot have a currency union across different countries with markedly different economies and different tax regimes. The economic tragedy that befell Greece was entirely predictable. No one country in the Eurozone has access to the most basic lever of macroeconomic control - the ability to vary interest rates.
  • Anonymous
    Europeans singing the European national anthem at events would be a particularly strange excercise considering it doesn't have any words :-)

    It should be considered that the idea of being a "European" in a nationalist sense is only really around 50 years old. The US had been together longer than that before they had their "war-between-the-states", because half the states felt they were too substantially different to the other half.

    The language barrier is an issue, though a high proportion of people in the EU speak English as a lingua franca. Many people in the Roman empire only spoke Latin as a second language too. The Indonesian language was the first language of hardly anyone in Indonesia when that country was founded not so long ago.

    The US education system isn't particularly centralised. Most decisions are made at the city level. But virtually all schools make a strong effort to promote US nationalism, and I expect very few schools in Europe do the same for European nationalism. (If I was looking for one, I would look in Belgium ;-)

    I think a relative lack of pan-European media is another important reason for a lack of pan-European identity. Euronews exists, but that's about it. There was a European newspaper in the 90's, but that failed. There seems to be no news outlets aligned with any of the political blocs in the European Parliament, which I don't understand.

    Belgium is two countries pretending to be one. The UK is heading in a similar direction, and Spain and Italy have similar forces within them. But I think all of this only strengthens the desire within these places for the EU.

    Australian nationalism is fairly absolute. The Western Australians did vote to leave the country in the 1920's, but that's largely forgotten now. The country has strong national institutions.
    • Xfitchick

      Nice comments and good additional thoughts on the take

  • Anonymous
    Your rationale to your why EU is un-united is flawed. First you are thinking EU as a 'federal union' like others, it isn't. EU is a supranational union hybrid of a confederation type. EU is not meant to be like other federal unions though they feel like doing it.

    1) Yes there are historical and cultural differences but thats meant to be, and its intentionally preserved. EU is not federal country where it would attempt to diminish the identity of its nation members to conform them to a new one.. EU is united not by its superficial diferences by more of its core beliefs. EU members shares a lot of same fundemental and actually not that different culturally. Just life how most Western countries have lots of similar cultural identity and values.

    2) Yup thats right, EU has many official languages but that doesn't mean 'un-united' just because the official language isn't one or two. Also what that means by official language in EU is documents such and laws and legislations are translated to each 24 official languages (for ease of course). Citizens dont have to learn these languages, furthermore in reality. English is the de facto language..

    3) Well of course schools are national implemented. Its the nations job to provide these not the EU. I agree, in Europe (in general not just EU) people aren't that nationalistic like other countries where national anthem is played in schools etc like in US but that doesn't mean lack of unity. Nationalism in Europe significantly went down since WW2. Though they are rising once again as evident by the Brexit

    4) I agree, that shook the EU. The debt crisis made the euro skepticism stronger.

    5) ''Maybe the most important. Although we have a European parliament and government, every nation still has its own and even subgovernments''

    That doesn't make sense on why that signify lack of unity... Yes that is the point! EU is not meant to be the government for all its Country members. Of course there would still be national governments and local goverment and so on so on.
    • Xfitchick

      good viewpoints. Like all the reactions. That was the main purpose of the take.