Since the signing of the Maastricht Treaty, the European leaders have embarked on a journey aimed at transforming what was a simple economic alliance (before CZECH then EEC) in a real continental federal state. Besides an economic union, whose much-vaunted merits are not even seen with binoculars, it has witnessed the gradual creation of a common “culture”, based on common values sometimes too obvious and universal to be of a nation, sometimes too absurd. This “culture” would lead to the inevitable demise, or at least relegated to a tourist attraction, of all individual cultures making up the federation.
Encyclopaedia Treccani the “Federation”, or Federal State, “qualifies as a union of States the attribution of international legal personality to the union, and from the recognition to the individual federal states of the executive, legislature and judiciary in accordance with the Federal Constitution. In other words, the federation is a state made up of States, where laws are divided between the central and local power, with a preference for the common interests than individual.
The “Confederation”, on the contrary “is an alliance between States, generally neighbors, pursuing, especially in the international arena, common purposes through appropriate institutions, while maintaining each its full independence and sovereignty. The founding treaty creates some common institutions and assigns them different skills, including usually security, defense and foreign policy. “This could be considered the old EEC or the current CSI, risen from the ashes of the Soviet Union. Although the official name of the word “confederation”, countries such as the Confederate States of America (Southerners) or the Swiss Confederation (Switzerland) are, or have been, in effect federations.
In particular, Switzerland has kept the name because it was born as a confederation, that is an ancient alliance of states (cantons) who obtained the independence from the Empire and from France and having in their historic neutrality the only unifying factor that gave birth to the modern Swiss state. In fact, as we know, there is no common Swiss culture, in it’s linguistic or religious traditions and customs. Therefore, at least from a cultural point of view, Switzerland is due more to a confederation. Historically federal countries, like the United States of America, Germany (both modern, both during the two imperial experiences), Russia, Canada and Australia also began as well-defined cultural units; internal divisions did not correspond to different United Nations, except for the Russian case, where the gigantic size of the territory made it necessary for the establishment, always in retrospect, of autonomous federated States, where the minority ethnic groups could enjoy more freedom of decision. At this point we come to the event, one of a kind, the European Union. As mentioned, at the beginning the establishment of law could be inserted in the category of the confederation. However, the evolution of the “European dream” has approached her, but does not reach it, that of federation. In fact, bearing in mind the definitions mentioned above, it is not possible to set there the Union without excessive strains. But it is possible to understand how Europe, lying halfway between the two systems, it assumes the defects of both. In fact, if on one hand it wants to standardize policies and different cultures, such as federal, the other will leave only the various members regarding issues that should be dealt with in the sense of community, as if it were a mere confederation. This is one reason (of many reasons) that have fostered the rise of “populism” and the revival of Nationalism. And it is the weakness of this Union, or federated or confederated, always ready to impose absurd rules to the detriment of Nations. A solution to save the continent is regression confederal organization, better able to unite different cultures and policies while maintaining the total independence and sovereignty. Because history teaches that cohabitation sets of different populations, who do not have common interests, such as could be for Switzerland, it is bound to generate more conflicts than that aims to avoid.