Here's something for
. I always wanted to make a "Munro-ist" map, as the creator's style is usually called. And after coming across this rather bizarre yet oddly interesting article from Niall Ferguson while in Europe ([link]
), it was a perfect opportunity to try it out...though with some slight changes to the details.
Also, as an added note, this is not
in any way a propaganda or political piece.
So, hope you like it. And please comment on whether the style is a good idea.
Over 10 years had come and gone since the Eurozone Crisis first sent shockwaves across the Continent. The Euro, which had been the darling symbol of European unity, threatened to tear it apart as unrest spread from the PIGS states (Portugal, Italy, Greece, Spain). Amidst an ever more volatile cocktail of protests, populism and mass resentment, seating governments especially in France and Germany were forced to step down. Yet instead of nationalist or socialist parties, various pro-EU groups supported by their patrons in Brussels assumed power (such as the German Social Democrats), insisting that the answer wasn’t so much “more Europe” but wholesale integration. The results were both expected and unforeseen.
What started off with a formalized “fiscal union” in late 2012 quickly led to the establishment of a Continent-wide Bank Fund, which brought member states, especially those in the Eurozone, even closer in line with Brussels. The pan-Europeans went further, however, when they chose to push through with ratifying the Treaty of Postdam in 2014. The treaty effectively did away with national sovereignty altogether and called for a single, unified Europe. But with mounting unrest in Belgium, it wasn’t until 2016, when the centers of power relocated to and around relatively stable Vienna that the United States of Europe had finally come to age.
In reality, however, it became clear that the USE had organized two subregions outside of the wealthier and dominant “European Core:” the largely integrated “standard” of the Continent, with Austria and Germany being most distinct due to the privileges given for their “central place.” A good part of Central and Eastern Europe, centered mainly on Poland, became the Autonomous Economic States: a region whose states were given some degree of national autonomy and protection in exchange for largely Laissez-faire economic support to the rest of the Union. The former PIGS became the nucleus of the Southern Bloc: a region of dubious stability and constant financial support (with occasional fevered protests) not unlike East Germany towards the end of the Cold War, which also doubles as a source for both labor and vacation hotspots.
Others weren’t bought into the deal, however. The British in particular, early on having become even more Eurosceptic, lobbied Westminster for their long-awaited referendum. It thus came as no surprise to the EU when polls showed a decisive victory against membership and Prime Minister Cameron announced the withdrawal of the UK, “free from the red tape of Brussels” in 2013. What did come as a shock, however, was Ireland’s decision to leave around the same time. After difficult negotiations (and due to some rather amiable visits to Dublin from Her long-living Majesty), an agreement was made in 2017 effectively reuniting the Isles once more under one Crown. And with Russian and Chinese money flowing in, the Reunited Kingdom has set its sights on “reforming the Commonwealth.”
Another surprising blow for the Europeans came from Scandinavia. A different socio-cultural environment crossed with populism, nationalism and revitalized localism among others meant that Denmark and Sweden (both having never accepted the Euro in the first place) soon followed in Finland’s footsteps. Instead, the countries pushed forward a plan spearheaded by Norway to form a viable political bloc that would counterbalance the emergent USE. By the time Iceland joined in 2020, the semi-federalized Nordic Union was well on the way to becoming an energy powerhouse, whose claims of social harmony and moral superiority are shared by all the Scandinavian countries (though Norwegians still get agitated whenever the “2011 incident that must not be named” gets brought up).
Yet despite the setbacks and unrest, Europa (at least the core parts anyway) sees itself as firm and unwavering in its commitments to the principles and values of its founders. Recent proposals in the European Parliament to make currency electronic would have repercussions that would render the Euro question mute, though perhaps for the better. Even the recurrent upheavals in the Southern Bloc had died down long enough for some actual development to take place. Still, the British and Nordics, along with their American allies stay cautious. Tabloids in London continue circulating rumors of a Second Treaty of Yalta with the Kremlin that would split Eastern Europe between the USE and Russia’s Union State (as it turned out, Belarus agreed). While allegations pressed against President Karl von Habsburg of Austria on “abuse of Capital privileges” concerning plans of recreating his ancestors’ Empire were quietly shelved.At least as much as their knowledge of German leads them to believe…