The central power of a nationalist state towers up to a point like a pyramid, but all the same it is directed inward and necessarily remains provincial, an entire world in itself. In fact, even today it resembles a royal court, with its corresponding array of many smaller organs of local power. Those who think big may hover around the court, but it is also understandable if small-town people are less than thrilled by the prospect of the more complicated relationships of a wider stage, because they find greater satisfaction in a familiar, transparent intimacy.

There is a tension between the greater European enterprise and the personal interests of its players. The safety of the nest, the preservation of the familiar, resistance to the intrusion of the outside world, even self-imposed isolation – these are passions every bit as strong as openness, discovery, and adventure. For a brief while, there was a willingness to open up the house and spread our arms wide to the world, but more common these days are the desire for security and the installation of alarm systems wired to the police department. A tolerance for the influx of the outside world and a willingness to be helpful have proven to have their limits; people prefer to cling to their peaceful existence, regarding noisy intrusion and conspicuous differences as forms of aggression. Integration is a new and experimental kind of balance between isolation and acceptance of the new. content from foyles

-“Pro Europa”