By Tony Judt
“I am enthusiastically ecu; no knowledgeable individual may perhaps heavily desire to go back to the embattled, jointly adversarial circle of suspicious and introverted international locations that was once the eu continent within the fairly contemporary prior. however it is something to imagine an final result fascinating, relatively one other to think it really is attainable. it's my competition actually united Europe is satisfactorily not going for it to be unwise and self-defeating to insist upon it. i'm therefore, i assume, a Euro-pessimist.” —Tony Judt
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Additional info for A Grand Illusion?: An Essay on Europe
The only golden past to which "central" Europe can now refer is that of the last decades of the Habsburg Empire, when Prague and Budapest flourished as never before or since, and provincial towns like Lvov and Zagreb basked in the reflected glow of late imperial glory. To the rest of the world, however, and notably to west European observers, the distinction between central and eastern Europe before 1848 or after 1945 was by no means clear. We have already seen that to a seventeenth-century traveler Budapest was decidedly non-western, and few visitors from the west saw much to distinguish the buffer regions of Europe's center from the exotic lands to their east.
Without such a myth, all the means by which this "Europe" came into being—the Marshall Plan, ECSC, economic planning, OECD, common agricultural policies, and the like, even the European Court—would be merely so many practical solutions to particular problems. As it was, they  TONY JUDT were the necessary conditions for the remaking of Europe, but in themselves insufficient. The otherwise selfsufficient, self-satisfied, even selfish "Europe" centered in Brussels became a beacon for the rest of the continent and a source of respect and credibility for itself because of the promise that this Europe was no Zollverein, no mere neo-mercantilist partnership of the rich and famous, no temporary practical and empirical solution to daily economic dilemmas.
Working chiefly to the advantage of big grain and dairy producers, it offered much less to the growers and sellers of olives, vegetables, fruit, and wine. The true function of the Common Agricultural Policy is thus political, not economic. In electoral terms, however, it was decreasingly relevant; the number of peasant voters in the states of the European Community fell steadily and sharply through the 1950s and 1960s, the decline only slowing down briefly with the adhesion of Spain, Portugal, and Greece twenty years later.
A Grand Illusion?: An Essay on Europe by Tony Judt