The Age of the Founders: The Vison of a United States of Europe was Present from the Outset
When we approach the early years of the European organization that would from 1992 become the European Union, we must from the very beginning disabuse ourselves of a notion that has gained some prominence on the classical right, namely, that the creators of the Union, or the “founding fathers” as they are sometimes known, were trying to bring about a European community that based itself on national sovereignty and would be built up from below. This notion simply fails to describe reality, further, its opposite is rather closer to the truth. From the outset the aim was to unify Europe in a federal, supranational manner using the template of the United States of America.
When we approach the early years of the European organization that would from 1992 become the European Union, we must from the very beginning disabuse ourselves of a notion that has gained some prominence on the classical right, namely, that the creators of the Union, or the “founding fathers” as they are sometimes known, were trying to bring about a European community that based itself on national sovereignty and would be built up from below. This notion simply fails to describe reality, further, its opposite is rather closer to the truth. From the outset, the aim was to unify Europe in a federal, supranational manner using the template of the United States of America.
The post Second World War western elites strived to create a United States of Europe, as an empire, which itself would become an intrinsic part of new world order – a global federation. In the event, the original impetus of the Federalists broke in the early 1950s as the original concept encountered the resistance of pivotal nations and politicians. From then on, essentially to this day, we can observe a European alliance arguing over the federalist and sovereignist approaches. Further, we can identify a trend in the past three decades, especially prominent in the last three to four years where the European political mainstream has mobilized unprecedented effort towards creating an “ever closer union” which would mean the tightest possible federation.
We must abandon the illusion that the notion of a federalist, imperial Union is a recent brainchild of the likes of Angela Merkel, Jean-Claude Juncker, Frans Timmermans or Emmanuel Macron. This is not the case. This is an idea that has been present from the outset, striving for hegemony – which has, at least in part successfully, been resisted by the sovereignist states and political forces.
A valid question poses itself: why would the federalists/globalists try to upend Europe along with her centuries’ old traditions? What are their aims? What plans and philosophy lie behind their actions? In order to answer, let us investigate the early years of European integration. Let us examine the people who not only dream of a United States of Europe along with Victor Hugo and fellow writers and scientists but were also in possession of the necessary international influence to shepherd the crucial politicians and governments in their favoured direction.
We should pay particularly close attention to Count Coudenhove-Kalergi, Jean Monnet and Altiero Spinelli – as “founding fathers” of a sort.
Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi (1894-1972) was born to a father who was a diplomat of Austria – Hungary and a mother descended from a family of samurai. Kalergi was the person who launched the Pan European Movement in 1923. In 1925 he penned a book titled “Praktischer Idealismus” describing his vision of Europe’s long term future. If we take a closer look at Kalergi’s approach, what we find is that his aims resonate to a great extent with the ambitions shared today by the Brussels elite and the globalist circles that support George Soros among others – be it in the corridors of power within the European Union, or the NGO ships sailing in the Mediterranean, or indeed in the mainstream media.
In his 1923 book titled “Pan-Europa”[i] he clearly expressed his view that a united European state must be created, which would be supranational. In his book, he says: “People with strong national feelings lead to conflict, conflict leads to war and war leads to chaos.” In other words, strong national feelings are harmful and to be discarded. Instead, a federal system based on Switzerland or the United States of America must be implemented – a system that we can safely refer to as the United States of Europe, which in turn would be a part of comprehensive global federalism where peoples unite and dissolve.
He envisioned the completion of his plan in several steps: first, the European nations would create an entity called the “Pan European Union” as a confederation within the League of Nations. Second, they would create a Pan European Court to enforce agreements between and decisions of the member states, at the same time creating a defense alliance. Third, a free trade zone would be created; and the fourth step would become the culmination of the process: the adoption of a federal constitution[ii]
Kalergi gained significant influence beginning with the early 1920s and his movement was joined by pivotal European politicians. His prominence is explained by the fact that he inherited his nobleman and diplomat father’s excellent political connections – important public figures met and negotiated with him. The fact that as a university student he joined the Viennese Masonic lodge “Humanitas” might be worth a mention as well.
To cut a long story short: in 1923 Kalergi launched the Pan European Movement and in short order many of the influential politicians of the time found themselves connected to it: the Czech politicians Masaryk and Benes (the latter a freemason himself) as well as Churchill, Stresemann, Adenauer, Seipel, Renner, Thomas Mann, Ortega y Gasset, later Strauss, Kreisky and Pompidou among others. The banker Max Warburg supported the launch of the movement donating sixty thousand Marks, but the Rothschild family also backed the initiative. Kalergi’s influence is underscored by the fact that his ideas formed the basis for the “Union for Europe” proposed by then French Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Aristide Briand in the League of Nations in 1930.
With the rise of Nazism and Fascism, the movement’s influence waned, but following the end of the war, it returned with a vengeance thanks to the tireless energy of Kalergi. He won support from Winston Churchill (!) and the advocacy group B’nai B’rith; Churchill’s famous 1946 Zurich speech where the politician proposed the creation of a “United Europe” reflected Kalergi’s philosophy. As a result of some very serious lobbying Kalergi and Churchill’s plan was accepted by the administration of the United States so much so that Congress passed a resolution (!) on the creation of “the United States of Europe”[iii].
It is important to mention that Kalergi was the first to be awarded the Charlemagne Prize for his lifetime achievements. Ever since then the city of Aachen has awarded this price to those who work on behalf of European unification. Later, following his death the Kalergi Prize was established which was awarded to Herman von Rompuy, former President of the European Council and Angela Merkel, the German chancellor among others.
Despite all of the above, the official documents of the European Union do not refer to Coudenhove-Kalergi as a “founding father”, as he took no formal part in establishing the European Coal and Steel Community in 1951.
Jean Monnet, in contrast, is often mentioned as an exceptional figure even among the founding fathers of the European Union. A poster child for the “cosmopolitan bourgeois”, Monnet interrupted his studies when he was only 16 to start what turned out to be a remarkable career. He lived in England, the United States, he was a true globetrotting citizen of the world; very soon he found a job with the League of Nations, from 1939 we find him advising President Franklin D. Roosevelt
Primarily though, he was a businessman, a banker with strong trans-Atlantic ties. He was connected to such giants of Wall Street and the financial circles as Goldman Sachs, Lazard Freres or Lehman Brothers – the latter’s reputation is of course somewhat tarnished nowadays. What is really interesting is that he apparently played a crucial role in the establishment of an international bank based in Basel, Switzerland. The Bank of International Settlements (BIS) is the chief organizer of the cooperation of international banking houses, it is the central bank of the central banks, but remains a private bank (much like the Federal Reserve); it is supported by the most important banks of the world like the Bank of England and the Rothschilds.
What is even more interesting is what he said regarding his dreams on August 5, 1943 in front of the French National Liberation Committee: “There will be no peace in Europe if the states are reconstituted on the basis of national sovereignty… The countries of Europe are too small to guarantee their peoples the necessary prosperity and social development. The European states must constitute themselves into a federation…”[iv] This resonates perfectly with Winston Churchill’s words spoken at the University of Zurich on September 19, 1946: “… there is a remedy which… would in a few years make all Europe, or the greater part of it, free and happy … It is to recreate the European fabric, or as much of it as we can, and to provide it with a structure under which it can dwell in peace, safety and freedom. We must build a kind of United States of Europe.”[v]
Jean Monnet, the “founding father”, using his extensive network of connections and global support convinced Robert Schuman then French Prime Minister and later Foreign Minister to adopt his plan and present it to the public on May 9, 1950: this was the plan for the European Coal and Steel Community based largely on Franco-German cooperation. It came to existence in 1951 with six member states. Jean Monnet became the first President of the High Authority (the predecessor to today’s European Commission) and strived to turn it into a super government of a sort, attempting at this early stage to exclude the governments of the member states from the decision-making process (!), but failed at this due to the resistance of the member states. This brought about the creation of the Special Council of Ministers (the predecessor of today’s Council of the European Union) and the Common assembly (the predecessor of the European Parliament) but the High Authority led by Monnet found itself in a leading role as a supranational, federal institution.
Monnet was driven from the outset by a mystic desire for world peace and this led him to the notion that the nations must be subjected to a world government. One of his most important protégés, and perhaps even more radical than Monnet himself, Max Kohnstamm who became the Secretary to the High Authority under Monnet once quipped: “a global state must be created through the abolishing of the nations”[vi].
Another person worth mentioning is Altiero Spinelli, another one of the canonized “founding fathers” was an Italian political expert and later, beginning with 1976 a member of the European Parliament. Spinelli started out as a communist but later became a federalist. He too envisioned a European “government” with real power of which he and his partners wrote during the war in the famous Ventotene Manifesto: “The question which must be resolved first, failing which progress is no more than mere appearance, is the definitive abolition of the division of Europe into national, sovereign States.”[vii]
Spinelli authored the report that led to the 1984 package adopted by the European Parliament that attempted a federal reorganization of the Union: the Spinelli plan opened the way for later, more federally minded European Union Treaties – Maastricht and Lisbon.
As an peculiar addendum: three years ago, in July 2016 then Italian Prime Minister, leftist, globalist and federalist Matteo Renzi chose the island of Ventotene for a meeting with French President Holland and German Chancellor Merkel where he told them: “Europe is at a crossroads, either we change or we will be seen as Martians”. At the same time he called for a new European pact in the spirit of Ventotene, or in other words, in the interest of creating a federal Europe. So very much in the spirit of Spinelli…
We have seen that both Coudenhove-Kalergi and Jean Monnet had extensive connections, beyond Europe, to the English and American elites. None of this is by chance: these global, mainly financial and political, elites had for some time been considering the creation of a global federation, a global society under the leadership of the Anglo-Saxon globalist elite. All of this goes back all the way to the Round Table which was an organization serving this very goal, established by Alfred Milner – one of the original trustees of Cecil Rhodes’ Trust, and even more significantly back in the 1920s the Council of Foreign Affairs was created in New York and its twin organization in London: the Royal Institute of International Affairs. Both those institutions are think tanks serving the global, originally Anglo-Saxon, elite’s decision-making. From their inception to this very day, they have played a crucial role in defining and executing globalist aims.[viii] An integral element of these aims was the European integration, which was meant to lead to a United States of Europe, which itself would be a basic building block of the future supranational global government. Not to mention all the financial and economic advantages: unlimited access for global capital to the now unprotected European markets foreshadowed immense profit.
Following their victory in the Second World War, the Anglo-American alliance could move towards the unification of Europe without meaningful resistance, and it was as an element of this strategy that they embraced the ideas of people like Coudenhove-Kalergi and especially Jean Monnet – which fit their own ambitions perfectly. Winston Churchill would have played a great role in this process, but he lost the elections held after the end of the war in Europe, and the British Labour party had no intention of following in his footsteps where European unification was concerned. As a result, the task of pushing European leaders and governments towards a federal Europe fell to a network of influential people and private organizations.
However, nobody should imagine that the leading states or governments of the continent actually opposed the federalist aspirations of the globalists and the “founding fathers”. On the contrary, as Éva Bóka writes, the Zeitgeist in Western Europe (Great Britain was a different matter) pointed enthusiastically towards federalism, those advocating for European integration also dreamt of a world federation.[ix] (All of this is understandable in light of the tragedies and destruction the Second World War had wrought; later, however, after 1951 they had to realize that the “super-federalism” of the founding fathers now diminished or threatened to diminish their power and influence – but that belongs in the next chapter of the story.)
Robert Schuman, the French Minister of Foreign Affairs was also an enthusiastic European federalist. He was convinced, by the most gung ho founding father, Jean Monnet to publish his famous declaration on May 9, 1950 (a day commemorated to this day as Europe Day). Earlier he had said. “From now on treaties will not merely prescribe obligations, but must create institutions – bodies with supranational, independent and self-derived authority, if you like.”[x] What Schuman wanted, in the spirit of Monnet, was for the Community to stand above the nations, with authority over them, in effect according to him the governments were to surrender elements of their sovereignty to the High Authority.
As a result, the High Authority could have functioned as a supranational government – this was to be the first step towards a European federation.[xi]
We must underline here that Schuman’s main partner in creating the European Coal and Steel Community, the person without whom none of this could have worked, German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer completely understood and subscribed to the aims of Monnet and Schuman.[xi]
The European federalists of the late, post-war 40s held that Europe cannot be born without first dismantling the sovereign states.[xii]
Thus we have established that on one hand the founding fathers who supported the ambitions of the global elite, such as Monnet, Spinelli, Paul-Henri Spaak as well as Kalergi from earlier and on the other hand the leading figures in continental (not British) governments to a large extent agreed with the ambition of creating a federal Europe. There, however, were differences between the globalist founders (mainly Monnet) and the governments of the founding member states when it came to the speed and the extent of the integration. The latter wanted to establish the federation gradually, step-by-step. Monnet had to relent.[xiv] In 1951 the member states were given the rights to advise and of veto, later, in 1957 they obtained rights to make decisions – but that is a different story.
It is characteristic of Monnet and his colleagues, that in view of the opposition from the member states they devised a new, peculiar, I would go as far as to say devious plan of building a federal Europe more slowly. A well-known British author, Frederick Forsyth explained Monnet’s plans to the German journal Focus on August 8, 2010. He quoted Monnet: “Europe’s nations must be guided towards a super-state without their populations knowing what is really happening. This can be achieved gradually, where every step in the chain will be disguised as economic in nature. This procedure indivertibly leads to a federation”.[xv]
Thus, in the end some compromise was necessary to create the European Coal and Steel Community as legal entity[xvi]. A leading role was played by the supranational High Authority, but member state governments as defenders of sovereignty were present in the Special Council of Ministers, and there was the Common Assembly as a kind of parliament delegated by the member states. It is important to note that the 1951 Paris Treaty declares the establishment of the Community to be the first step towards a wider, more comprehensive and tighter (!) community[xvii].
It is a different matter that there were significant differences on the pace and level of integration between the globalist founders and the Western European political leaders in the early days: while the globalists, led by Monnet, Kohnstamm and Spinelli wanted to abolish the nation states in the long haul, the European powers wanted to preserve a partial independence for themselves; this was true for both France and Germany. As a result a mixed structure was created: primarily federal, but with significant elements of a community of sovereign states. The federalist principle was embodied in the High Authority (later the European Commission) while the sovereignist principle was upheld by the Special council of Ministers (later the European Council of the heads of states and governments). this framework was supplanted by the Common Assembly (later the European Parliament) originally comprised of deputies delegated by the national parliament and with little say in decision-making, and by the European Court of Justice, which was supranational to begin with, and has become even more so over time. This structure is quite without precedent.
In accord with the strong federalist drive it was the High Authority that found itself in a leading role with strong decision-making prerogatives, but it has to be said that, already in the early years, serious conflict materialized between it and the Special Council of Ministers – the two bodies symbolizing the two basic but competing principles of federalism and sovereignty. In fact, if we think about it, these two principles have been in conflict in the almost 70 years that have passed since the inception of European Integration. We shall examine the ups and downs of this struggle later.
We should note that the European Union was created in a top-down manner by the globalist-federalist elites, in sharp contrast to the bottom-up structure of the chief role-model: the United States of America, especially since in the case of the American federation citizens’ associations and movements that demanded a say in the shaping of the federal center through their states were always present. As a result we will be justified in saying that the European Union is an initiative of the elite; its elitist nature has been evident from the start and is evident today – which clearly limits its capacity for democracy and its legitimacy.
As a result, if we want to approach a radical reform of the workings of the European Union from a sovereignist standpoint, we cannot appeal to the origins of the integration, but must instead argue that from the very beginning there have been two competing, but equally legitimate principles at the heart of the conflicts that have always been going on within the Union. In other words: the sovereignist idea is just as legitimate as the federalist one; neither concept is above or below the other and as a result the sovereignists have every right to fight with the tools available to them for the creation of a Union built from the bottom up and based on national independence and the equal rights of the member states. There aren’t any “first class” or “second class” visions and plans for Europe; the globalist “mainstream” enjoys no primacy over those who disagree with them.
Further, if the European Union is to maintain its democratic principle and does not in fact wish to substitute it with an aristocratic-elitist imperial principle then the states, led by national governments elected based on the people’s sovereignty, must form the basis of a bottom-up confederative structure, which in turn is the only guarantee of preserving democracy for the Union.
Based on the above, there are three clear consequences worth drawing from the creation of the European Union.
First, following the end of the Second World War the Zeitgeist in Western Europe pointed towards federalism as a foundation for European unity and peace. This atmosphere permeated the thoughts of the European peoples and their leading politicians, as a result, it is unsurprising that those politicians and thinkers who wanted to base Europe’s future on preserving the independence of nation states were barely heard in the cacophony of voices pushing for federalism. Federalism and the wish to create supranational institutions became the “mainstream” as a preference for the single acceptable value system, much like today’s magisterially arrogant migrantophilia of the neoliberal elites or the multiculturalist rejection of traditional Christian culture.
In reality, the Western European question of the late 1940s wasn’t if the states should integrate into a unifying structure but rather how deep the integration should be and at what pace it should happen or what should be the steps leading to it. (All of this concerns continental Western Europe, Great Britain was different, they opposed a tight federation from the outset and wished for loose economic interstate cooperation.) In that regard within the political and economic elite, one could distinguish two groups.
One group was made up of politicians who had supranationalism in their blood, as a default. They had little ties to their respective nations – rather, they were citizens of the world. I would list among them primarily Count Coudenhove-Kalergi, Jean Monnet, Max Kohnstamm, Altiero Spinelli (if we take contemporary politicians into account then the list should be expanded to include the likes of Jean-Claude Juncker, Frans Timmermans or Guy Verhofstadt). They transcend Europe and aim for world federalism and a global government, and the dream of a United States of Europe was but an element of the larger plan, a building block for the globalist idea. Their approach wasn’t European, it was universal in scope. They thought in terms of supranational institutions: for them, national governments were obstacles on the way to success as they saw it, they advocated for abolishing national sovereignty.
The other group consisted of the leading politicians of the powerful Western European states, their prime ministers, foreign ministers, etc., who were also federalists, but as elected politicians were primarily responsible for the well-being of their nations. This second group soon realized that the globalist approach of Monnet et al would replace international deal making and compromise with a European government overnight – this was going too far for them as it would have limited their own room to maneuver to the extreme and on the other hand they were answerable to public opinion and the voters in their home countries. Despite the federalist Zeitgeist, no nation with traditions and centuries’ old history was ready to become part of a uniform mash overnight.
As a result, the European Coal and Steel Community was created along the conflicts of these two groups, perhaps it is not by chance that Robert Schuman in an answer to a question by a journalist (“Is this a jump into the dark?”) said: “Exactly. A jump into the dark.”[xviii] Although Monnet as the head of the High Authority did everything in his power to turn the institution he led into a federal, supranational government, he ran into opposition from the leaders of the member states who created the Special Council of Ministers as a counterweight. Conflict, then, was built into the structure of the European Union, into its spirit, if you will. The conflict of these two principles, federalism and sovereignism, seems to this day to best define the unique character of the European Union: which is both national and supranational.
Second, in order to understand the European Union (Community, the Common Market, etc.), we must understand the global centers of power outside the Union – their ambitions and interests. From this point of view we must first recognize that as early as the beginning of the 20th century we see the emergence of a, largely Anglo-American, economic and financial elite, which had global governance and a global society as their aim, under Anglo-Saxon leadership of course. The cornerstone of this plan was a brutal concentration of financial assets in the hands of a narrow group, who thought that supranational global governance will provide for both peace and an opportunity to increase profits uncontrollably. After the two world wars American capital became dominant and it was in its interest for continental Europe – following the American example – to become a federal state, and it was entirely unsurprising that the political elite of the United States joined this project. As a result they granted financial and other support to those public figures who either as dreamer (Kalergi, Spinelli) or as originally international businessmen (Monnet) acted in the interest of federalist and globalist ambitions.
This is how one can understand the immense influence of the above mentioned individuals on leading European politicians, their aims were advanced from the shadows by the global elite (this is particularly true for Jean Monnet). We see that federal Europe, or the United States of Europe was a plan supported, at times even aggressively pushed by the global elites, but at the same time, naturally, the notion was accepted and internalized by the influential European political and financial elites as well. As we can see the global elite surrounds the European Union today, just as it was intertwined with it in the days of the European Coal and Steel Community – it pushes its own agenda through powerful networks. (Such networks are the European Round Table of Industrialists, the European Council on Foreign Relations, the NGOs and fake civil groups sponsored by George Soros, the networks of lobbyists, think tanks and consultancies serving in the globalist narrative.) The European Union is not itself a sovereign entity, its every day operation isn’t solely influenced by internal political and economic interests; there are also outside (exogenous) forces acting on it – and not to a little extent either. More attention should be paid to exploring the latter.
Finally, we have to realize, due to the above mentioned considerations as well, that the European Union isn’t an organization built from the bottom up, from the societies and the citizens; it is a top-down international organization created by the elites. To be very exact it is an entity imposed from above and outside. It is unlike the United States of America which was created bottom up through the active participation and acquiescence of the elected representatives of the populations of the states that make it up, and was created driven by an internal will exactly in order to defeat outside influence (the War of Independence). When the USA became federal, it did so as an expression of a bottom-up, natural political will. As such it is a functioning federation, because it is based on a common understanding and a shared identity. In contrast the European Union was created beginning in 1950 from the top down by European and global elites, without asking for or receiving the consent of the citizens of Europe. While in the case of the United States of America the first words of the constitution, “We the people…”, makes perfect sense, in the European Union should Jean-Claude Juncker start a speech in a similar vein, he would justifiably become a laughing stock.
In the end we must recognize that the European Union is suffering, let us put it this way, from a birth defect, which has not healed to this day. (The typical low turnout for the European Parliament elections is symptomatic of this; higher turnout in the latest elections held in 2019 was, paradoxically, due to the fact that the European Union finds itself in a crisis.) From all of this we can derive that those who today keep pushing for deeper federalization are actually preparing the demise of European project and with undue haste. This is because without the foundations of a common understanding and a shared identity federalism only deepens the autocratic, elitist and aristocratic nature of the European Union, which in turn would not long be sustainable. In contrast, should we be able to create a confederative Union built from the bottom up, based on the principles of national sovereignty and national identity, European cooperation might yet be sustainable.
[i] Richard N. Coudenhove-Kalergi: Pan-Europa. Pan-Europa Verlag, Wien, 1923.
[ii] Éva Bóka: Richard Nicolaus Coudenhove-Kalergi gróf föderalizmusa.
[iii] Pokol: Politikaelmélet. Társadalomtudományi trilógia III.
[vi] Luuk van Middelaar: The Passage to Europe
[viii] Pokol: Politikaelmélet. Társadalomtudományi trilógia III.
[ix] Éva Bóka: Richard Nicolaus Coudenhove-Kalergi gróf föderalizmusa.
[x] Luuk van Middelaar: The Passage to Europe
[xi] Luuk van Middelaar: The Passage to Europe
[xii] Luuk van Middelaar: The Passage to Europe
[xii] Luuk van Middelaar: The Passage to Europe
[xiii] Luuk van Middelaar: The Passage to Europe
[xv] Luuk van Middelaar: The Passage to Europe
[xvi]Luuk van Middelaar: The Passage to Europe
[xvii] Luuk van Middelaar: The Passage to Europe.