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New Left Review I/203, January-February 1994

David Marquand

Reinventing Federalism: Europe and the Left

Europeans have lived for so long in the warm cocoon of the Community system that we have almost forgotten what our history was like before the astonishing burst of institutional inventiveness that culminated in the Rome Treaty a generation ago. If present trends are allowed to continue we may be brutally reminded, with consequences we cannot now imagine. The demons of European history—chauvinism, xenophobia, irredentism, racism and scapegoat-hunting—are on the march all over the former Soviet bloc. In Community Europe they are still relatively quiescent. But no one who has watched the rise of the French National Front or the German Republicans—no one, for that matter, who watched the 1993 Conservative Party conference in this country—can pretend that they strike no chords on this side of what used to be the Iron Curtain. There is an ample supply of combustible material lying about in western Europe as well as in the east. If anyone puts a match to it the entire Community system may be destroyed. [1] This article is to be published in David Miliband, ed., Reinventing the Left, Polity Press, 1994.

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