The EU And Its Nations

A fascinating graphic from Pew’s new report on the EU:

European Stereotypes

Good to see the Brits are still focused on the real threat. But Germany is obviously becoming more isolated in the EU. What we are seeing is an almost text-book case of why conservatives can be smarter than liberals. The EU is in so many ways a wonderful development. It has fostered democracy, made another European war unimaginable, and generated growth and trade. But it has always been to my mind a utopian project because the actual human beings who live in Europe do not identify with the supra-state against their actual nation-state. The nation state seems to me to be the least worst unit of democratic accountability – drawing on ineffable bonds of solidarity, history and a scale that is actually manageable. To pretend that isn’t the case, or to try to impose some new form of identity, along with a new, abstract and cold currency, was always going to end in tears. It appears we are now at the stage when the whole project itself is being reconsidered:

First, attitudes towards the EU are getting worse. While there is always going to be some noise in these kind of data, the consistency of the negative changes is noticeable. What I think is potentially most important are the two countries (France and Spain) where we’ve gone from significant majorities with a favorable view of the EU to majorities without a favorable view.

Tyler Cowen adds:

The French are growing increasingly disillusioned with the European project, and on key questions the French see the world as the Italians or Spanish do, not the Germans.

Karl Smith bets that this state of affairs can’t last:

For a several years I have had a hard time seeing how the European project survives continual economic and monetary mismanagement. Little has happened to change that assessment. It appears that public opinion in France has turned decidedly against the project. Equally, as important the French, like everyone else, blame their own leaders more than they blame the EU.

This implies that new elections will be new leaders, who will be quite aware, that it is either Brussels or themselves. They’ll blame everything on the European Union and push unreasonable demands as a way of divorcing themselves from [popular] outrage.