Tyranny of the Small
By Steven J. Grisafi, PhD.
The Europeans themselves have recognized that their unanimous decision making rule precludes swift action while nearly always guaranteeing indecision. To overcome this tyranny of the small, where any member nation can veto the majority opinion within the European Union, elaborate proposals have been concocted to substitute unanimity with a decision making rule requiring simultaneously a majority of the member nations as well as of the population at large distributed throughout all member nations. Regardless of however such a rule may come to be agreed upon, I fail to see how this alteration overcomes the fundamental need within the European Union to subsume all national identities. In my previous post Federal Republic of Europe I described how a merger of France with Germany can form a core nation within the European Union upon which all other member nation could coalesce. I indicated then, what I perceived to be a stumbling block to unity within the European Union, was the desire for all current member nations to retain recognition individually within the world community. In this blog post let us address that difficulty within the context of a complete merger of all member nations of the European Union.
We first confront the unfortunate reality that the European Union is bifurcated. There are two European Unions: First the union of the nineteen member nations that have adopted the euro currency and the remaining nine others who have not. Adoption of the euro currency is the sine qua non of political unity so we must restrict our procedures to only those member nations who have chosen to do so. We then consider the nineteen member nations as to how we might effect their merger into a single nation while simultaneously taking heed of their desire to retain some remnant of their original identity. As described previously, the merger of France with Germany is to be effected by the division of both former nations into regional provinces of equal population. These regional provinces are the states within the new federal republic. How one chooses the population size for the regional provinces is arbitrary. When effecting a merger of more than two nations one evident choice would be to choose the population size as that of the smallest nation wishing to participate within the merger. As such this member nation would have its identity transformed from a sovereign nation into that of a federal state. All larger member nations wishing to participate within the merger would have their territories divided into provinces of population size equal to that of the smallest state. This privilege, of having one’s former identity as a sovereign nation remain intact as a federal state, is meant to compensate smaller nations wishing to join a merger in which they will no longer possess the ability to veto federal decision making. That decision making would be made on a majority basis within the federal legislature.
One may argue that the larger nations participating within the merger are at a disadvantage in that they lose their identity as a regional whole. However, as the merger is to be effected under the guidance of the Principle of Subsidiarity, all authority resides within the states except for those powers explicitly delineated within the constitution of the federal republic as being transferred to the federal government, all states remain free to associate with one another as they choose. This means that the French regional provinces that become states within the federal republic are free to coordinate all of their legislative efforts amongst themselves so as to influence federal decision making. Likewise, this would be true for German and Italian states, as well as all member nations that become divided into provinces. Recognizing this, my personal opinion is that it would be best for the smaller member nations not to seek to join the merger as the smallest entity.
Let us look at examples. Of the nineteen member nations of the Eurozone, Malta enjoys the smallest population, as such, with a population of approximately 432118. The Eurozone as a whole has a population of approximately 338187395. If each federal state is to have at least one representative in the legislature then there would be 783 legislators. While this number is not so large as to create an unwieldy congress, the legislature would grow to 1180 representatives if all current 28 member nations of the European Union were to participate in the merger. One may argue that even 1180 legislators isn’t too cumbersome. But one should also note that the sole voice of the single legislator from the smallest nation would have little clout in congress governed by majority rule. Consequently, my recommendation is to both the largest and the smallest nations within the European Union demonstrate solidarity with a willingness to sacrifice. The largest member nations make their sacrifice by submitting themselves to division into regional provinces. So I would expect the smaller member nations to demonstrate their solidarity by seeking to join a merger into the federal republic, not as single entities, but as a collaboration among other smaller nations who thereby pledge their cooperation with one another. Doing so would not merely create a functioning federal republic, but a republic that thrives as its population grows and redistributes itself.