Did the European Union really originate with the Nazis?

10 November

This is actually why I got interested in my specialism of Euroscepticism. I found this in a journal that moved from dry reports about currencies to conspiracy theories about the European Union, including this one. It’s true that the Nazis’ plans for Europe, along with building new cities and relocating populations, included a system of economic integration across their occupied and allied territories.

"Germany doesn’t control the EU – the Eurozone crisis was a good demonstration of that"

That is not the same as the system we have with the European Union. The EU is an exceptional kind of European integration compared to anything that’s come before because it’s a voluntary process, and it’s cooperation strictly between democracies. That makes it different from integration by force or a system backed by coercive power that would have been designed to service German economic, political and strategic needs. The EU has lasted as long as it has in part because it does give a voice to people, even if they don’t always feel much sense of belonging to the system.

I think one of the reasons the idea of a Nazi connection has hung around so long is that people look at the EU and see that Germany is the biggest member state. That’s because Germany has a lot of people in it and the EU has to give due weight to large countries. Germany doesn’t control the EU – the Eurozone crisis was a good demonstration of that. It’s also not comfortable being the leader, so even if it had the power it wouldn’t necessarily want to use it.

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