The European Union is already integrated in many ways. There is a democratic chosen parliament. There is free traffic of people and goods. But there's no central army; there's no EU embassies around the world; member nations speak different languages, and have different political systems.

The only subjective disadvantage I can think of is the restriction of sovereignty. And that's mostly seen as a problem by nationalists.

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    It's pretty much federalized from what I can see. It has even a less strong central government than the US. It seems a little stronger than a confederation. I really don't see the restriction of sovereignty to be that great compared to other federal systems. The nationalists don't like any surrender of sovereignty is what the issue really is.
    – Karlomanio
    Commented Apr 3, 2019 at 14:23
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    I think you need to define "federal" to get a good answer here.
    – pjc50
    Commented Apr 3, 2019 at 14:54
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    There are EU diplomatic missions (embassies) and EU ambassadors. That is the reason of why the downgrade Trump gave to EU diplomatic mission was so controversial (source). Also the EU has military operations abroad and several military agreements and agencies.
    – armatita
    Commented Apr 3, 2019 at 15:17
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    Can you clarify what you mean by "federalization"? Do you mean more centralized governmental control, or some sort of imposition of a common language or culture? The former doesn't seem (at least naively) to require the latter
    – divibisan
    Commented Apr 3, 2019 at 16:41
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    @MuratKaçiran An embassy is just the place where the ambassador resides. Diplomatic missions change depending on the country they are. Consulates have basically the same infrastructure and objectives but no ambassador resides there. If you wan't a real example here is the EU delegation physical building in the US and here is the EU ambassador in the US. Exactly what more would they need to have to be considered an "embassy" by your criteria?
    – armatita
    Commented Apr 4, 2019 at 8:08

2 Answers 2


No disadvantages, really.

The EU is a supernational body which has been delegated some but not all of the powers commonly associated with a federal state. It already has many of the drawbacks of a federal structure, yet it lacks the advantages that a clear federal structure would bring.

  • There is free trade in goods and services, but structural differences in tax laws are abused to create loopholes. An europe-wide structure, perhaps with states setting rates but not exceptions, might solve this.
  • There is an EU parliament, but there are no europe-wide election procedures.
  • There is an EU court, but it cannot stop autocratic regimes in Eastern Europe from undermining the rule of law.
  • The military of many EU states is integrated to such a degree that national deployments beyond the occasional peacekeeping brigade are completely absurd, yet there are 28 defense bureaucracies. (Soon to be 27; yes, I'm counting the Iceland coast guard.)
  • Under the definitions I'm used to, centralized election procedures aren't considered necessary for a federation. Nor a unitary state, come to that.
    – origimbo
    Commented Apr 3, 2019 at 17:24
  • @origimbo, elections should be free, secret, general, and equal. That allows separate districts, but some states with majority vote and others with proportional representation are no longer equal.
    – o.m.
    Commented Apr 3, 2019 at 17:42
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    That's a fine opinion. However, the US (almost universally considered a federal state) has winner take all votes for the electoral college in most states and split ones in a couple. Meanwhile the UK (a unitary state) has devolved, proportional elections in some constituant countries, but not all. my point is that this failing isn't meaningfully tied to federalism.
    – origimbo
    Commented Apr 3, 2019 at 17:46
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    @origimbo, different rules for state-level elections are ok, but not different rules for a single federal election. As to the US, they had a really great Constitution two centuries ago and fell so in love with it that they got out of the habit of doing the necessary updates (IHMO, of course).
    – o.m.
    Commented Apr 3, 2019 at 17:50
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    @Sjoerd, as the Brits find out, lots of voters don't want no EU, either.
    – o.m.
    Commented Apr 4, 2019 at 4:12

The key issue is that Europe is not homogeneous - There are a large number of very different cultures, languages and systems around the continent. You can't simply replace those with one without forcing everyone to learn a new language, abandon their entire cultural identity, etc.

It has also had a very tumultuous history, with several of the nations having something of a history of invading their neighbours, and imposing their will on them - and people tend to have long memories, and so tend to be unhappy at the idea of being told what to do by someone who previously invaded their country and murdered many of their compatriots.

Furthermore, even if you could get everyone to agree to have (say) a single language, which one would you choose? English is the most common second language across the continent, but the French would never agree to it being the standard, and similarly French and German would be rejected by several others - so unless you're going to for something like Esperanto, you're going to end up upsetting 20-odd countries with most of the options.

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    I don't see why federalization would require a common language or cultural identity (though the asker does mention that in their question for some reason). There are countries (Canada, to name one) which have multiple official languages but still have a federal government
    – divibisan
    Commented Apr 3, 2019 at 16:39
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    @divibisan Switzerland is an example as well. Also, this answer doesn't address federalization- it discusses language difficulties. That may be an issue, an important one at that, but I would argue that the answer lies in the money and that is more important.
    – Karlomanio
    Commented Apr 3, 2019 at 16:50
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    Here is some food for thought. Multiculturalism does work in many federal systems. Currently, the US is having a breakdown in its federal system, but it is largely a multicultural society. One of the largest Spanish-speaking populations in the world is in the US.
    – Karlomanio
    Commented Apr 3, 2019 at 16:54
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    The history is actually an argument for uniting Europe. Commented Apr 3, 2019 at 18:35

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