The End of the West: The Once and Future Europe

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The End of the West: The Once and Future Europe (Public Square)
By David Marquand
Princeton University Press, 2011
224 pp. $24.95
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Marquand has had a long and distinguished political and academic career: he has been a member of the British parliament, an adviser to the European Commission (the EU’s executive body), and an honorary fellow at Oxford University. In that time, he has tended to support political causes -- notably the British Social Democratic, New Labour, and Liberal Democratic movements -- only to turn on them later. He has also supported European integration, and in this book he turns on it, too. He does so for a reason that has led many other Europeans to reject integration: he cannot tolerate its ambiguity. The EU’s unique structure, half state and half international organization, has facilitated success and growth for over a half century -- longer than most nation-states in the world today have existed. Yet now, Marquand believes, only transforming the EU into something more like the United States, with stronger central institutions and direct democratic representation, can save it from dissolution. In the end, Marquand gives no reason why this will -- or, indeed, should -- take place. Perhaps what Europe needs instead is a new, more decentralized vision. Yet the mere fact that so many books of this kind are written testifies to the controversy over the meaning of the European experiment.