Disintegration of the nation states of Europe into one large integrated political union was so important, Kohl insisted, that it was in fact ‘a question of war and peace in the twenty-first century’. Others disagreed, and twenty years later just over half of the British people demonstrated at the ballot box that they were unpersuaded by Kohl’s argument. But once again, whatever one’s views on the matter, this was a huge question to leave unresolved at a time of vast population change. …

The world is coming into Europe at precisely the moment that Europe has lost sight of what it is. And while the movement of millions of people from other cultures into a strong and assertive culture might have worked, the movement of millions of people into a guilty, jaded and dying culture cannot. Even now Europe’s leaders talk of an invigorated effort to incorporate the millions of new arrivals. …