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Pocketmags Digital Magazines
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The end of sovereignty?

Beset by problems, Europe needs more cooperation between countries not less

Germany is Europe’s giant. Its economy is equivalent to the 21 weakest European Union member states combined; it is the linchpin of the eurozone and the only EU member Russia appears to take seriously. No discussion of the UK’s future within the EU can ignore these facts.

But the shadow of the 20th century obscures much of Germany’s earlier history. Uncovering that past means looking back to when the Holy Roman Empire ruled as a loose confederation of countries in a way that, although under different circumstances, is similar to the EU. National identities were less important than we might think and borders more porous. We hear much from the Leave campaign about reclaiming sovereignty, but history tells us that we overestimate the power of the nation state, and we should remember that lesson as we look to Europe’s future now.

This argument may seem to contradict the inescapable news about resurgent nationalism in Eastern Europe (as described by Peter Pomerantsev and Anton Shekhovtsov in Prospect’s March issue) and the rightwing response to the migrant crisis and terrorism that we have seen in France. But as the world becomes more integrated and the movement of refugees and migrants increasingly unstoppable, these responses could also be seen as the final throes of the oldfashioned nation, rather than the precursor of more militant patrolling of borders and a permanent hardening of identities. The problems the world is facing are simply too vast to be solved without sustained cooperation— and Europe’s political leaders know it.

Charlemagne is crowned King of Italy in 774. Just over a quarter of a century later he became Holy Roman Emperor
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In Prospect’s April issue: Sam Tanenhaus profiles Donald Trump, the leading candidate for the Republican Party Presidential nomination and asks if Trump makes it to the Oval Office, what would he do? Stephen Glover, examines what is happening at the Guardian as the newspaper looks to cut costs. Ferdinand Mount says Tony Blair transformed Britain but he should have cared more about the Labour Party. Also in this issue: Richard Dearlove, the former head of MI5, says that Brexit would not damage the UK’s security and Christopher de Bellaigue questions whether France’s clampdown on radicals is having the right effect. Plus Miranda France looks at the legacy of Don Quixote and the Duel asks: “Should the Church of England be disestablished”?