With the compromises cobbled at the Maastricht summit, the Europe of 12 nations and 345 million people moved closer toward the superstate of their dreams. It will be far more powerful, based on economics and consent, than the one based on bombs and terror that is coincidentally disintegrating a thousand miles to the east. And it will grow. The Maastricht treaty defines what it is that Austria and Sweden will soon join, followed by others.
The agreement on a single European currency by decade's end, the "Ecu" (European currency unit) regulated by a Europe-wide central bank, inspires awe. At a primitive level, it is a blow to German pride in the almighty deutsche mark. Actually, it is a tribute. The Ecu will be the deutsche mark writ large. Britain retains the right to opt out. When the time comes, it won't dare, because the monetary system will be too powerful. Denmark accedes pending a constitutional referendum. This is European Monetary Union (Emu) and it is real.
What Britain may not do is delay the momentum that will inevitably drag it along. As a result of this hesitancy, the European Monetary Institute to be created by 1994 and the European Central Bank in 1997 will undoubtedly not be in the City of London, the financial center that might otherwise have been the right setting. Prime Minister John Major's rear-guard grandstanding against "federalism" was a brilliant performance for holding his Conservative Party together and protecting his leadership of it. But it is at the expense of larger issues, such as Britain's clout in the new Europe.