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Reader feedback: EU needs unity, reform

Re: Court ponders EU treaty, Volume 11, Number 29, July 25-August 7, 2005

European political integration is the only possible way of overcoming the division and artificial borders that exist in Europe today. National sovereignty in a multi-ethnic Europe, where boundaries will never correspond with the mixed ethnic make up of the population, is complete nonsense.

Vaclav Klaus, the current Czech president, is one of the loudest opponents of the European unification process, and one of the greatest supporters of a Europe of what he calls "sovereign nation states".

Klaus argues that "Europe is artificial" and that it "has no democratic legitimacy".

He is wrong. European integration is in fact the first democratic evolvement of a state in the world, while the countries and borders of modern day Europe are the opposite - they have been forced upon people by emperors and kings, and more recently, enforced peace treaties. No European state today has any democratic legitimacy at all.

The modern day Slovak state - and this is only one example of many in Europe - has little democratic legitimacy as its population was never involved in the evolvement of this state, neither when the Turks came to old Hungary, nor when the Habsburgs won control of the territory, nor when Austria-Hungary was dismantled, nor when Czechoslovakia broke up.

The current division of Europe into nation states, particularly the highly divisive character of these mainly mono-linguistic entities, is only disadvantageous to the continent, both economically as well as socially.

The very mixed character of the Central European population is an additional factor, which proves that the current division of this part of Europe into a dozen states makes no sense whatsoever.

However, for Europe to be a success, it needs to maintain its pluralistic approach, reduce bureaucracy and follow a path towards a freer market and a more efficient social welfare system.

We need to reform Europe economically and socially, but we need to maintain the path towards true political unity for the sake of co-existence and cooperation.

We need to create a Europe in which there are equal rights and equal respect for all traditional ethnic groups, economic freedom and a scaled down but effective social welfare system.

If we fail to do so Europe will continue to face nationalist division, leading to wars and ethnic cleansing in times of economic and social crisis.

Berne, Switzerland

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