What the EU has achieved has been for politicians who've failed or been rejected at national level promoting themselves to a supra national burocracy and pretending to be in charge of Europe.Okay, I'll bite. Mainly economy of scale and a desire to mimic the US model of a federated super-state.
If you accept that a 'United States of Europe' makes sense, then all the above are trappings which are required to hold the states together and give them a common purpose. The idea is that national institutions whither on the vine and things like military, policing etc are done more efficiently at federal level than at state level.
For example, national military becomes equivalent to the Amercan 'National Guard' militias. In Italy, the Carabinieri would cease to have distinct role and could be merged with the national police or armed forces as necessary. The Euro Armed Forces would absorb increasing levels of national resources, with bases spread across the federated zone. A unified Europe might even then out-weigh the US contribution to NATO.
It then makes much more sense for bodies like OCCAR to procure on a European scale. Imagine giving Boeing, Raytheon and Lockheed Martin a heart attack with the collective bargaining power of all states with an emphasis on "buy European unless there's a very very good reason not to". Airbus, Eurofighter, MBDA would all be the beneficiaries. Rationalisation of the interests of BAES, Nexter, Rheinmetall, Saab Bofors Dynamics, Leonardo etc etc would soon follow. The Americans would not be able to continue to wage economic imperialism on the indvidual European states simply by picking off the national industries.
For politicians, state governers replace prime ministers or presidents; the state-level bureaucracy would shrink as more of the federal bureacracy replaced it with consistent and consolidated regulation. National parliaments then debate national responses to European initiatives and tell their European representatives what national issues to press. There could then be no prophet-like Farage raging against the European project becaus he could never be selected to represent the country.
The European contribution to Interpol would then be more focussed, with fewer points of interaction.
And so on and so on.
The dream was (still is?) to out-grow the Middle Ages and Renaissance and build an economic and social block to rival the US, the Russias and the Chinese hegemony.
The UK's original reason for joining was that the economic integration would bring benefits to all, without the need for political integration. By contrast, the European states saw political integration more as the thing to be desired, if only to prevent the internecine warfare that had plagued Europe since the break-up of the Roman empire. However, the response to the Covid pandemic showed the national states in Europe reverting to type and not acting collectively.
Given the divisions between the nation states, the European super-state was all a big pipe dream. With the UK gone, it is now a grotesque fantasy. France has never given up its national defence or agricultural priorities, Germany has been far too focussed on reunification and placating the Russias.
With UK gone, Sweden, Denmark, Poland and Netherlands will be increasingly isolated. In effect, the EU ends up with a bankrupt Mediterranean faction being dictated to by belligerent France and Germany. Belgium with its lack of government for a year and a half showed that a national government didn't actually need to exist for the nation state to continue in the European framework.
No wonder Trump's US is so keen on separating Poland and punishing Germany for making Europe reliant on Russian gas imports. I'm surprised that the US hasn't courted UK more but since they forced us to de-colonise and then screwed us over Suez, I guess they're far less worried about us.
Bit of an essay, apologies. That's how I used to view the European project, having worked for many years in places like Germany, Sweden and Norway. [For the sharp-eyed, Norway isn't in the EU but co-exists quite happily (reasonably) alongside.]
These days, I would prefer UK to join an EFTA type arrangement along the lines of EurAtom and Euro Coal & Steel Community, and also including membership of EASA. But the EU has ruled that kind of thing out: UK must be seen to be punished for daring to leave the political project.
Lastly, I don't want to compete with Europe, but the world is a much smaller place now. I think UK separating from Europe makes calls for the break-up of the UK to be much more compelling. Why should Westminster be allowed to dominate these isles if it didn't want to join in the wider project?
To paraphrase the Chinese proverb (curse?): we now live in interesting times.
The reality is that the diverse populations stick to their nations, languages, traditions and cultures, occassionally take note of EU diktats then generally ignore them, while electing national politicians to deal with day to day life.
For any proposed USE, you'd need a directly elected parliament with power, a single central bank, single currency, single language.
Ain't gonna happen anytime soon.