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This year, the EU celebrated an important anniversary. Seventy years ago, on May 9, 1950, the French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman, presented the Schuman Declaration on the creation of a European Coal and Steel Community, which was the first of a series of European institutions that would ultimately become today’s EU. Built from the ruins of World War 2, in a bid to establish peace through economic collaboration, the original six-member EU grew to include 28 countries over the years, and only one of them has left so far, the UK.
Keeping the EU alive and going, though, has been incredibly difficult.
Economic challenges, migration crises, unemployment, and a growing nationalism in several of the member states are only some of the challenges that the bloc has faced throughout the years.
The most recent one is the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, which forced the EU to shut its borders, something that has not ever happened in its 70 years of its existence.
Adding the pandemic challenge, to growing nationalism and anti-EU movements and not-so stable economy, the 70th anniversary has found the EU in an existential crisis like never before.
As many wonder whether the bloc will survive, Former President of the European Free Trade Area Carl Baudenbacher revealed Brussels might be planning to follow a programme of enlargement instead.
In a recent entry for the London School of Economics blog, the Professor argued the bloc will try to mirror the Roman Empire.
He wrote: “Under Trajan the Roman Empire, at its greatest extent, encompassed the entire Mediterranean region, but also parts of present-day Germany, Britain, Romania, Turkey, Syria and Armenia.
“The European Union is preparing to build a similar empire.”
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Trajan is remembered as a successful soldier-emperor who presided over the greatest military expansion in Roman history, leading the empire to attain its maximum territorial extent by the time of his death
Explaining how the EU hopes to achieve this, Prof Baudenbacher added: “Roman law played an important role in the expansion of the Roman Empire; and the EU relies on the export of its law, and the extraterritorial effect of the case law of the European Court of Justice (ECJ).
“The EU has concluded bilateral association treaties with four former Soviet republics, Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova and Armenia, under which these countries are aligning their legislation in important fields with EU law.
“The ECJ has a monopoly in the interpretation of treaty law which is identical in substance to EU law.”
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Since each side can bring a dispute before the ECJ unilaterally, Mr Baudenbacher claimed, the European Commission may take a case to its own court and thus has a de facto right of surveillance over the associated states.
For this reason, the EU also wants Switzerland and the UK to accept this model.
Mr Baudenbacher continued: “As an institution of the EU, the ECJ has the DNA of the EU, just as the Federal Supreme Court has the DNA of Switzerland.
“Anyone who is not impartial is biased.
“That is not a lack of character, but an objective fact and it also applies to the future UK-EU relationship.
“It is precisely the EU’s plan to create a new empire around the Mediterranean that should divert Berne’s foreign policy from its rigid rabbit’s-eye view of the (alleged) Brussels snake.”
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