“The European Union as we have known it ended over the weekend. That EU project was all about the gradual convergence of equal nations into an ‘ever closer union’. That’s finished now.
The whole notion was underpinned by three conditions. One was that the process of European integration was consensual—each member state would pool more and more of its sovereignty because it freely chose to do so. The second was that these incremental steps were, to use the terms applied to monetary union in the Maastricht treaty, ‘irreversible’ and ‘irrevocable’—once they were taken, there could be no going back.
The third, unspoken but completely understood, was that Germany would restrain itself, accepting, in return for the immense gift of a new beginning that its fellow European countries had given it, that it must refrain from ever trying to be top dog again. Each of these fundamental conditions was torched over the weekend.”