Travelling or relocating across our continent is the most brutal way to realise that a united Europe, in the true meaning of the word, does not yet exist.

National partisanships and chauvinisms aside, what we stumble into is a frightening mish-mash of inconsistentish (at the very least) regional regulations, political systems, welfare and healthcare structures, market rules and economic politics. Not a single thing stays the same as soon as you cross any border, notwithstanding that smorgasbord which we call the EU law. Even exchanging data and information amongst Member States is a digital nightmare: the complexity of frameworks such as PEPPOL (for public procurement) or eHealth (for healthcare) is so intimidating that their adoption is left as an exercise for the stalwart.

Couldn’t get worse, could it? Well, we have yet to touch upon even trickier spots. The good ol’ ordoliberalist idea of “quilting” together a sparse cluster of Member States which are supposedly co-o-peting for a better and thriving Europe is clearly too cumbersome to work. We need a way more centralised model. We need one single language to have official status everywhere, a European defence and a European foreign politics (including a EU seat at the UNSC), a shared economic politicy, public finance and financial system, a unified corpus juris (both for civil and penal law), a European education and higher-education system, a unified reasearch network, common rules for transports, energy, security, infrastructures, migration flows and so on and so forth. And, last but not least, a shared digital agenda. Anything short of this is doomed to stay a nightmare as far as governance and global competition are concerned.