Eurosceptics make two fundamental claims. First, that European nations enjoying full, unfettered sovereignty can better achieve freedom, prosperity and security for their own peoples, and avoid conflict with their neighbours. Second, that such wholly independent states can still effectively defend the interests of their people, even in an interdependent world increasingly dominated by non-European powers. Both claims fly in the face of evidence from past and present.
My evidence for disputing the first claim is Europe’s 20th century. As Bosnia in the 1990s showed, Europeans can revert to barbarism, both within and across existing state frontiers, as quickly as anyone else. Even more settled, liberal states benefit from having European structures of permanent conflict-regulation – or, to quote Churchill again, from making jaw-jaw rather than war-war.
My evidence for disputing the second claim is the emerging world of the 21st century, in which Europe’s relative power has diminished, is diminishing and will continue to diminish. Faced with old and new superpowers, we Europeans must hang together or we’ll hang separately. Take the Eurosceptic path, and the Chinese will be laughing all the way to the bank (which, by then, they’ll probably own anyway).