As the votes in Holland and France show, nationalism is tearing at the aging fabric of European unity. Nor is the EU deeply democratic. Giscard is demanding another vote because, as he says, the French "got it wrong." They must vote again and again, 'til they get it right. This is the soft tyranny of an elite that knows better than the people what is best for the people.
Many in Europe oppose plans to bring in new members, especially Turkey, an Islamic nation of 70 million, which will soon be more populous than Germany. This raises another issue.
Not one member of the EU has a birthrate among its native born to enable it to survive in its present form.
Europe's welfare states are failing to produce the babies to replace the aging and shrinking population. Thus, virtually all the nations of Western Europe are undergoing invasions -- from the Mahgreb, Middle East, South Asia or sub-Saharan Africa.
Yet, asked if they agree that "immigrants contribute a lot to my country," only 40 percent of EU citizens said, "Yes." Hostility to immigration is strongest in Eastern Europe. Not one in five Hungarians, Czechs, Estonians, Latvians or Slovakians thinks immigration is good for their country. They want to remain who they are, and their country to remain what it has been.
When Chancellor Angela Merkel, hostess of the party, drafted a "birthday card," the Berlin Declaration, even that created dissension and division.
Some nations objected to any mention of the new constitution. Vaclav Havel of the Czech Republic called the declaration "Orwellian Eurospeak." Poland objected to the failure to mention Christianity as birth mother of Europe. Pope Benedict XVI called the failure to credit Christianity an act of "apostasy." The Christophobic French elite got their way again.
What the malaise of the EU tells us is what patriots have already known. Democracy and free markets are not enough. Dry documents, no matter how eloquent, abstract ideas, no matter how beautiful, do not a nation make. What makes a people and a nation is a unique history and heritage, language and literature, songs and stories, traditions and customs, blood, soil and the mystic chords of memory.
The EU is a thing of paper, an intellectual construct. Unlike a nation, it has no heart and no soul. And if and when it passes into history because of some irreconcilable dispute, many may regret it. Few will weep.