“Even the most stalwart supporters of European integration feel a deep sense of national pride in their own countries”
Brussels’ double standards.
The EU was not built to create a liberal democratic Europe. That was just its ideological raiment. The EU was created to tie Germany’s hands behind its back (and to tie Germany’s and France’s hands together) so that the Continent wouldn’t rip itself apart as it had in World War I and World War II.
Countries like Poland are not willing to cede sovereignty to an institution that has no reason to care about them, other than a sheet of paper that says it should. Why would Poland want to leave its fate in the hands of a committee constituted by very few Poles that largely discounts Poland from its decision-making? Rightly or wrongly, Poland speaks for Poland, and Polish voters hold the Polish government accountable for how well it speaks for them.
The nobility of the EU’s dream does not have to die with the EU. Peace is never an eternal state of affairs, but perhaps it will last longer if countries treat each other as they are, and not as they would want them to be. Perhaps not. The only thing that is certain is that the future of Europe will be defined as it always has been: by decisions made in London, Paris, Berlin, Warsaw, Budapest, Belgrade, Rome and other national capitals.
The EU may issue as many statements as it wishes, and no doubt will threaten to throw all the articles of the Maastricht Treaty at European countries of whom its bureaucratic institutions do not approve. Poland is the target now. That’s because Poland is changing Europe’s balance of power whether Brussels approves or not, and no amount of indignation, whether justified or not, about Polish judicial reforms can stop that train.