The once seemingly unstoppable project of European integration, started after World War II by Jean Monnet and long backed by the State Department, appeared momentarily to have hit the buffers after decisive French and Dutch referendum defeats on the proposed E.U. Constitution. If the British had not been denied their own promised referendum, they would have added a third and heavier defeat, which would have been all the more significant because the future of the E.U. would have been at the center of the debate.

In the absence of a new Charles de Gaulle or Margaret Thatcher (neither of whom succeeded in the endeavor), one force only was strong enough to confront the bureaucratic machine driving the E.U. towards political, social, and economic integration—the will of the people. The Europeanists thought they had this under control. For fifty...


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