a) EU to-day
In the past 60 years, the EU has grown from the European Economic Community (EEC) with 6 countries to an increasingly centralized and much larger Union with (after Great Britain's Brexit) 27 countries, 24 official languages and a market with around 450 Million inhabitants.
"Brussels" (i.e. the Union's political, economic and social elite) - wants to further integrate, centralize and expand the EU:
The need for democratization of the EU is time and again being stressed also in «Brussels». In the focus are a democratically elected EU government instead of the present Commission and an EU Parliament that would be solely responsible for the Union's legislation.
However, this would require a new EU constitution and thus the approval of all member countries. A first attempt at a new constitution (2003-2009) proved to be extremely difficult. In France and the Netherlands, the draft constitution was rejected in national referenda; however, these plebiscites were largely ignored in the Lisbon Treaty, to the dismay of many citizens.
EU-wide referenda are flatly rejected by "Brussels" (e.g. on fundamental questions such as the division of powers between the EU and its member countries and the admission of new member countries).
The vast majority of politicians at EU and member state level are vigorously supporting the Unions' further centralization - but as ever, without the citizens' having a say in referenda that would allegedly hinder the all-important one-way integration process massively, overwhelm us citizens and therefore would not suitable for solving complex issues, and, may be more important, referenda would reduce Brussels' power and constantly jeopardise its politicians decisions (see box "Direct and parliamentary democracy").
In the longer term, the EU+ scenario “Business as usual” should, according to many EU politicians, lead to the United States of Europe (USE). As a new global power, they should play an outstanding political, economic and military role in the world.
If the USE really did copy the USA, the EU Commission, its Parliament and its Council would have much more to say in their new role as USE executive (president and government) and legislative (parliament with two chambers) than today .
As in the USA, the European citizens could elect the parliament and possibly the president, who himself could take many important decisions (incl. about war and peace). Europe-wide referenda, however can hardly be expected, if only because the new world power - according to its motto "Europe first!" - would certainly not want to jeopardize its own ability to act in the omnipresent crises.
The alignment of European nations according to the model of the US states would certainly be much more difficult than in the melting pot USA - given the rich diversity of languages, cultures and the widely different history of European countries, e.g. in the colonial period, in the 1st and 2nd World War and in the Cold War.
The USE has to be based on a new constitution, which could in principle be elaborated and put into effect as in 2003/09, at the first attempt to create an EU constitution.
Because of the less than convincing experiences made at that time, and the immense importance of a new European constitution, a more democratic process, including the active participation of us citizens would be paramount, in particular at the election of a Constitutional council and in a referendum in each country for the ratification of the new constitution.
The scenario EU+ of an ever closer and stronger Union is presented by "Brussels" as the only viable and realistic way for the future of Europe. Crises (euro, refugees, corona, climate change ...) are therefore used systematically to increase the EU's sphere of influence; referenda would be a serious obstacle to this.
In view of the permanent dispute among the member countries, such an ever closer Union - and even more so, the USE - hardly seems feasible. The necessary constitutional amendmends would fail, because member countries could not agree unanimously, as required
A subsidiary, decentralized confederation, in which all participating countries preserve their cultural identity and where we citizens will have the last word, could be more acceptable (scenario EU*).
Ultimately, the future of Europe is in our hands:
This peace project is only available if millions of us citizens commit ourselves persistently everywhere in Europe!