Misreading Europe

A widely acclaimed book on the EU is ten years out of date

By Charles Grant   56

i cannot recall a serious book about the EU winning such acclaim as Larry Siedentop’s Democracy in Europe. It has been showered with praise not only by Eurosceptics, but also by pro-Europeans. The Times serialised the book and its author appeared on Radio 4’s Start the Week.

But reading the book was a disappointment. Less than half of it is about the EU. Most of it is a discursive-and stimulating-essay on political liberalism. When Siedentop does deal with the EU, he asserts that the Europeans are trying to imitate the Americans in building a federal state. He argues that this…

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