“United States of Europe” not a good idea

First of all, I think that a more complete European Union would be more like the Canada of Europe than a United States of Europe.

It would be a lot like Canada with 17 feuding Quebecs.

Canada has had trouble staying together, notwithstanding that the western provinces have been providing enormous net subsidies to Quebec and the other eastern provinces for as long as anybody can remember.

It is possible for a party to form a government in Canada with hardly any representation from entire regions.

For instance, the last Liberal government in the 1980s had I think 2 seats in all of the provinces east of Ontario.

The steady flow of money east with little influence or accountability in the west gave rise to major frustration.

The four maritime provinces east of Quebec have often had an unhealthy dependence on seasonal work. Not too many years ago, it used to be possible for workers to be employed for a few months, then spend the rest of the year on government employment insurance, notwithstanding that they had chosen to only work in areas such as fishing where they would be unemployed the rest of the year.

That bit of silliness was cured 10-15 years ago but it rankled many of the folks out west.

Quebec are the drama queens of confederation. They scare off business by being too crazy and insisting on things like labelling schemes to promote french which mean that anybody wanting to do business there needs to come up with different packaging.

Most governments, the present Harper government excepted, have indulged Quebec’s diva behaviour because whomever Quebec voted for usually formed the government.

Notwithstanding that Quebec is coddled, many Quebecers aspire to separate, under the illusion that all of their life’s problems will be solved if they form a breakaway banana republic.

Considering that Quebec would also stop receiving enormous subsidies if it left, maybe some time on its own would do the province some good. Give it some perspective.

Canada has relatively few conflicting factions.

Europe is far more diverse.

The countries in the monetary union have around 335 million people.

Of those, 82 million are Germans and 65 million French. Austria, the Netherlands, Luxemberg and Belgium would probably have interests tied to these two and bring in around another 37 million people. That’s 184 million people, over half the eurozone.

One scenario is that France and Germany could become like Canada’s Ontario and Quebec.

In Canada, the elections are usually fought over those provinces. Traditionally the Liberal party would write off western Canada and the Conservatives would offer enough scraps to get seats in the west, and the reverse would be true with the four Atlantic provinces.

If there were Europe-wide parties, it would still tend to degenerate into parties being associated with regional interests.

Separatist movements would begin very quickly and would be more likely to be extreme nationalists.

If inequalities are institutionalized, with different regions having different minimum wages and other standards imposed on them from the core, I can see a “united Europe” being far more conflicted than Canada ever was.

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