The European Coal and Steel Community of 1951 and the European Economic Community of 1958 brought peace to Europe. War between the great powers has been described as 'unthinkable'. This is a fantastic legacy to leave behind and very few associate it with any negativity.
The single market under the European Economic Area has allowed Irish exporters to excell and offers the Irish economy a huge potential marketplace. This is a huge benefit to Irish and European business and to citizens.
However, I do not like the idea of a 'political union'. I do not want to be part of the United States of Europe as I do not see how it can benefit us anymore than the EEA already does. I like being Irish. Yes, we are European too, but I like having the chance to offer political allegiance to our small state, and not a pan-European conglomerate.
Coming through the State's education curriculum in the noughties, it was often imposed on us how the EU was the be all and end all. But these last few years, we have seen how the EU treats citizens of particular countries. There is a sense of bitterness amongst the youth. Prior to the 2008-present crisis, Ireland was one of the most pro-europe countries in the EU, but today, there is a general sense of anger at the EU fueled no doubt by an Irish government eager to find a scape goat while she introduces tough budgets.
I think we need a debate on where the EU is going. This crisis signals a general push towards creating an ever closer union. A cynic might conclude that certain economic elements were fostered to achieve this end-goal.
The drive to assign Westphalia to the dustbin in waves of globalisation has also seen the resurrection of regionalism such as in Catalonia, Scotland and South Tyrol. Could this endanger the future of a USE?
To sum up, I approve of some sort of economic agreements and free movement of people. I also think there could be an European agreement to share embassey's abroad. But I am against the idea of a USE for arguments outlined.
Please outline your preferred vision for the future in Europe and let's try be civil.