Courtesy Reuters

The Devotion of Power: A Dream?

It is almost a mockery to preach European unity in 1975. During recent months, the uncertainty about whether Great Britain will remain in the Common Market and about its future policy regarding Europe has added yet another spot to an already stained canvas. The reality is, in fact, still grimmer. For the last decade, the building of a united Europe has hung fire and the great hopes of the 1960s have evaporated. It is quite miraculous that the Community has not broken up under mounting difficulties and general disillusionment. Why this setback?

The reasons for the present stagnation are not necessarily those that appear in headlines these days. Indeed, public opinion generally construes European activities in terms of periodic "agricultural marathons" in Brussels or the often squalid discussions about the price of beef-or of kangaroo, for that matter. These polemics reflect apparently irreconcilable economic interests but, after all, similar problems arise between different regions of one country without jeopardizing its integrity. Indeed, if the Common Agricultural Policy is defended by some with exaggerated dogmatism and comes to monopolize everyone's attention, it is precisely and unfortunately because Europe is still, above all, just that. Once an industrial or an energy policy, for example, enters the picture, it is quite probable that the possibilities for bargaining will increase and that the agricultural differences will become somewhat less acute.

Another false reason for the faltering of a united Europe is the quarrel about institutions. One of de Gaulle's mistakes, in the mid-1960s, was to concentrate every bit of attention on this question by issuing verdicts from which there was no appeal. By proclaiming himself European while categorically excluding any form of supranationality, the French leader gave the impression of chasing two hares at the same time and also supplied his European partners with an excuse, actually an alibi, for doing nothing. An alibi because in 1974, when Giscard d'Estaing relaxed the French positions and even took the initiative in institutional reform (adoption of the principle

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