The writer is a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington and author of America Right or Wrong: An Anatomy of American Nationalism
The EU was beginning to develop a quasi-Roman idea of itself as a kind of soft imperial force, spreading its system to the whole European continent or even – in the dreams of some of its wilder adherents – the world.
Anatol Lieven, Financial Times, 28/6 2005
Political extremism is widespread on the EU’s periphery. Even more alarming is that signs of chauvinism, fuelled by economic resentment and fear of immigration, are reappearing in western Europe, reflected in part in the recent referendums. The entire party system no longer seems to fit many voters’ needs, leading to eruptions of inchoate and nihilist anger.
So far these tendencies have been limited but, with the exception of eastern Germany, western Europe has only experienced prolonged economic stagnation, not a full-scale depression. If such a depression strikes Europe, then pluralist democracy as we have understood it may indeed be at serious risk.
west European electorates have made clear they will not tolerate further enlargement if this involves increased subsidies and immigration, especially Muslim immigration. For European governments to ignore these signals, and bring Turkey into the EU without referendums, would require abandoning any pretence of making the EU or individual state elites more responsive to their publics. This would ensure a drastic worsening of anti-establishment extremism across western Europe.
America Right or Wrong: An Anatomy of American Nationalism
Anatol Lieven at Andrew Carnegie