European Economic Community
Berlin, Germany Over the past few months Americans have awakened to the right-wing, anti-immigrant nationalism growing across Europe. On April 21, far-right presidential candidate Jean-Marie Le Pen garnered a shocking second place in the first round of French elections. Barely two weeks later Dutch anti-immigrant leader Pim Fortuyn was assassinated; in elections nine days after that, his party joined the Christian Democrats (CDA) in ousting Holland's long-standing Labor government.
Twenty years ago, in the majestic Piazza de Capitole Marcus Aurelius in Rome, the treaty was signed establishing the European Economic Community. For Europeans, it is as discomforting today to reread the Rome speeches of 1957 as it is for Americans to reread the Kennedy inaugural address of 1961. Like diaries written in childhood, they embarrass by their blend of naivete and self-importance. The ringing call of 1957 for a United States of Europe is mocked by a Europe in 1977 more fragmented and uncooperative than at any time since 1950.