The Flaw In The EU

The EU can’t be considered a nation because it doesn’t ensure the free movement of goods and people within its borders.

This post is occasioned by a conversation with an Italian friend last week. He asked “Now we are 400 million people and the dollar has fallen so low against the Euro, won’t the EU take over as top nation”.

“No chance,” I replied. “The EU isn’t a nation.”

“How come?”

“It can’t even standardize power outlets.”

He conceded the point, because it’s common knowledge Europeans can’t move their stuff from (say) London to Rome anything like as easily as as Americans can from (say) Washington to Atlanta. And free movement of goods and people are what make a nation.

Europeans use different power outlets, and their supply voltage can be anything between 220 and 240 (in the Southern EU, it ranges between 0 and 240, depending on the time of day, weather, etc). Still, they all claim to supply at 50 Hz.

And each European nation has its own phone jack, usually insanely overengineered.

I comforted my friend by pointing out that the EU’s uselessness left Italians free to manage their garbage disposal in the most efficient way – through the Mafia.


5 Responses to The Flaw In The EU

  1. dearieme says:

    Then Great Britain wasn’t a nation from 1707-1752 when it hadn’t even got a standardised calendar? Nor was BG/UK from 1707-2007 since part of it doesn’t use Common Law? Come, come.

  2. dearieme says:

    And one of the States of the USA doesn’t use Common Law, I believe; one of the Provinces of Canada certainly doesn’t, so they’re not nations either.

  3. gandalf says:


    Indeed, I’m sure my argument only applies to rich modern nations in which people and goods move about a lot.

    When we moved from Minnesota (sort of Swedish – Somali) to the Commonwealth of Viginia (highly un-Swedish-Somali), we just had to get new driver’s licenses. Everything else – including our appliances – worked fine.

    You’re right about the law – the contract we signed to buy land in Virginia was written under early 17th Century English law. So it pays to check on State law when you move.

    I have doubts about Canada as a nation. Last time I visited, all the road signs outside of Quebec were in both French and English, and all those in Quebec were in French. It was a while ago though.

  4. ahlich says:

    Good day,

    There are certainly many obstacles for the EU space to be considered a nation. The one mentioned is hardly one. “Different power outlets”?! This happens even within countries!! Brazil and Mexico are only two examples of a very common trend in latin america actually.
    Other issues such as common currency to all citizens, a comon language to communicate, a justice framework under which all citizens have equal rights (at least in theory…) might be slightly more important than power outlets systems…


  5. gandalf says:


    Thanks for this – I should have said that standardized power and telecom outlets are necessary but not sufficient for nationhood.

    And I agree language, law, and currency are very important – sadly the EU hasn’t standardized these either!

    Interesting to hear about the power outlet variations within nations in South America. Do they support US and one domestic standard, or there are multiple local standards within each nation?

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