Global Union: The End Of Nations
By some official counts, there are 72 separatist secessionist movements in continental Europe. They range from the extreme which have already gained such an elevated measure of autonomy where they issue their own currency (Scotland), and which have come within a hair's breadth of actually breaking up their nation (Belgium), all the way down to comical and pathetic attempts such as Italy's Southern Action League which essentially is a family owned and run party whose patriarch is in the clink for Mafia crimes and whose separatist movement seems to only include a few blocks in the City of Taranto.
As the recent Greek financial crisis has shown, there is a will in the European Union to uphold federalism, and although the European Union came perilously close to immolation a couple of months back due to wanton fiscal irresponsibility by the PIIGS (yeah, I know… that's a frowned upon acronym), the majority of Europeans are coming to the realization that the way out of the economic morass is more centrism and less reliance on self-serving narrow-minded national politics.
However, and much to the chagrin of the World Government Conspiracy Theorists, when we weren't looking the European Union took steps to expand its form of loose federalism to a global level. The European Union already has established footholds all over the world that are termed as associated Overseas Territories:
Mayotte; Saint-Pierre and Miquelon; French Polynesia; Wallis and Futuna; Saint Barthelemy; Turks and Caicos; Montserrat; Falklands; Caymans; British Virgins; Anguilla; Aruba; the soon to be broken up Netherlands Antilles; and special cases like Greenland, New Caledonia, and Bermuda.
These associated territories are like the USA's Guam or Puerto Rico: They're part of the overall nation, but do not hold official state status.
How many people are aware that just 300 miles due east of Maine you can be on European Union ground at Saint-Pierre and Miquelon? Yes, these fully French islands are about an hour's flight from Boston! And how many people are actually aware that as of a couple of months from now, there will be a total of six places in the Western Hemisphere that aren't just "associated" but actual integral provinces of Europe (Bonaire, Saba, St. Eustatius, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, and Martinique)! These places are administratively part of European nations, and when you're walking around on them, you are as much in "actual political" Europe as you would be if you were strolling down the Champs-Elysees in Paris, or Dam Square in Amsterdam! To stretch the USA comparison, these places no longer have the political status of Guam, as they are Hawaii. These European Union "interior provinces" are even present in the Indian Ocean, where Reunion is as much a part of European Union / France as Lyon!
The European Union's global aspirations seem to extend much further than placid Caribbean backwaters. Now that rampant, insane, and vicious American xenophobia has slammed the door on the logical and way overdue union with Canada (which the Bush Administration was heading towards… until 9/11 and the myth of terrorists crossing the Canadian border), the coming European Union-Canada Free Trade Agreement seems to lay the building blocks for an European Union which is no longer European at all, but planetary.
Canada is in a Free Trade Agreement with not just the USA and Mexico, but Chile and Peru as well. The ground is being set for a Chilean grape, a Mexican jalapeno, or a bottle of Canadian maple syrup to be easily and freely placed on grocers' shelves from Inverness to Palermo. With freedom of trade comes freedom of people moving from one area to the next, and before you know it, the "national boundaries" soon fade away.