Like Michael Crichton in ‘State of Fear’ (Avon Books, 2004), I declare this to be a work of fiction. Footnotes are real.

After deliberating about the Future of Europe (1) a new Community dealing with the Single Market remained open to all European states. Many a former member remained. Members of the one-time European Free Trade Area, including a chastened UK also joined, but Switzerland took longer. Eurozone members entered a Federal Union with a parliament, government, president and court, its Constitution guaranteeing their sovereignty in all matters that were not its exclusive competence: ‘dual sovereignty’. (2) Joining, members forfeited the right of secession. The Union entered a ‘Free World Compact’ in the spirit of Timothy Garton Ash (2004). (3) An attack on the freedoms under the Constitution of one henceforth concerned all. The partner was a US under President Joe Biden soon to hand over to Kamala Harris.
All would have been well, were it not that, having garnered a puny 51.2% of the vote only after her left-wing populist competitor had backed her, the extreme right-wing French President Marion Maréchal gave notice of seceding from the Union and the Compact and withdrew the force de frappe from under the joint command. For the first time since 9/11, President Harris invoked ‘Article 5’ of the NATO Treaty and similar articles in the Free Word Compact. Threatening with forming with others the Confederate States of Europe, France had become a clear and present danger. But a hastily formed cross-party majority of parliamentarians declared that the President to be in breach of la Constitution française. The Article of Accession had after all made the Federal Constitution its integral part.
With angry masses roaming the streets, the paramilitary Compagnies Républicaines de Sécurité (CRS) of ill-repute amongst civilians – some of them in any case – were stood down. Unarmed executives from the Federal Union – no Germans – were observing the French military nipping a potential Second French Revolution in the bud. A hastily convened Constitutional Convention inaugurated the Sixth Republic. It curtailed the powers of the executive presidency, already the but of criticism of French political philosopher Rosanvallon. (4) It would never again put itself above the Constitution of the Federal Union. Maréchal was banned to the Île d’Yeu off the Atlantic coast. (5)
  1. Now half forgotten but meant to be on its way and to conclude under former Belgian prime minister and Liberal MEP Guy Verhofstadt in the first half of 2022, the Conference on the Future of Europe has been delayed.
  2. In ‘Europe’s Future: Decoupling and Reforming’ (Cambridge University Press) Sergio Fabbrini (2019) recommends.  For the EU an arrangement like the US Constitution recognising the dual sovereignty of the State and of the Union.
  3. Timothy Garton Ash (2004) Free World: America, Europe, and the Surprising Future of the West, Vintage Books, New York.
  4. Rosanvallon, P. (2018) Good government: democracy beyond elections, Harvard University Press, Cambridge MA.
  5. Having received the death penalty for collaboration which (having entered service before the Great War in a regiment under his command) De Gaulle commuted, Marshall Pétain spent the rest of his life a prisoner there.
The illustration shows the flag of the Union garrison flown before surrendering to Confederate ‘rebels’ at Fort Sumter in the first engagement of the American Civil War in 1861. Source: National Park Service (US)
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