A Republic of Letters · Europe as Empire

Imperial Europe: The Return of Europe as Empire?

The European Union is among the most profound achievements of the last century; in many ways, it has changed the face of Europe and its place in the world, from one of violence, strife and oppression, to a beacon of ‘peace…democracy and…prosperity’. By the fin-de-siècle, commentators were hailing the ‘New European Century’ and a ‘beacon of light in a troubled world’. The latter commentator also argued that Europe’s aim was to seek ‘harmony, not hegemony’. This raises a key question, namely, the nature of Europe’s relationship with Imperial power.