It is very interesting that the writer is comparing the current situation in Europe to past resurrections of the Holy Roman Empire. The Bible prophesies that it will rise one more time as the premier power in the world–as a Holy Roman Empire.
….how Germany will use its current economic and political influence, and how far the EU can or should contain that power. For answers we should look back in time to when Germany was part of the Holy Roman Empire.
The legacy of two world wars has encouraged those outside Germany to fear its leadership as potential hegemony but the history of the Holy Roman Empire reveals a time when Germany was part of a wider pacific order.
The negative interpretation of the empire rests on seeing it as a series of failed attempts to create a German nation state. In this version of history, a succession of monarchs tried to create central institutions capable of imposing a uniform system of rule, only to be thwarted by the selfish ambitions of petty German princes.
In fact, the empire was never simply “Germany”. It covered what is now Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, the Czech Republic, much of Italy, and parts of France and Poland.
We expect empires to have a clear and stable core inhabited by an imperial people that imposes its will on peripheral regions. But the Holy Roman Empire had no core, because it never possessed a clear centre of government or even an official capital. Instead, power was always multiple and plural. The management of daily life was devolved to more local powers.
The most significant change across the centuries was not a progressive fragmentation of an originally centralised power, as previous generations of historians believed.
Rather, it was a gradual thickening of local power that drew its legitimacy from its relationship to the empire as a whole. Imperial charters and laws sanctioned local rights and liberties.
And it is here that we see most clearly what the empire can tell us about Europe’s possible future. Its inhabitants generally identified with it positively because it preserved their own autonomy and ways of life.
It cannot be a blueprint for today’s EU, because the social order which underpinned that local autonomy was also riddled with inequalities we would find abhorrent.
Yet it does suggest an alternative to the stark choice between the EU as a single, homogeneous superstate or fatally weakening Europe’s global position by fragmenting it into a mosaic of national states.
Source: We should look to the example of Charlemagne