Thomas More (1478-1535) – writer, humanist scholar, lawyer, politician and judge –published Utopia in 1516, primarily for the amusement of his fellow citizens of the (European) Republic of Letters. The name Utopia is a pun in Greek: it can be understood as meaning both no-place (ou-topia) and good-place (eu-topia).
In his book More depicts – in stark counterpoint to the reality of life in his contemporary early modern Europe, trembling on the brink of violent reformation – an ideal rational society untainted by the normal human vices of envy, lust and avarice. In Utopia – in line with the prescriptions of Professor Wilkinson and Picket in their influential Spirit Level: why equality is better for everyone the poor are protected against hunger, healthcare is freely guaranteed to all, the equality of the sexes is promoted, and excessive wealth discouraged.
Eutopia law seeks to provide a forum for informed debate and legal analysis of legal and political developments within the European Union. It is not intended to promote any particular party line or view-point. It is not to be assumed that the contributors or contributions are of the right or the left in any political spectrum.
The present blog title, of course, consciously picks up More’s passion for punning. While “Eurosceptics” may be characterised as those who consider that the EU is no-place (ou-topia) for the self-respecting nation state to be, “Europhiles” would consider it to a good-place (eu-topia) in which the (Utopian) ideals of, in the words of Article 2(1) of the Treaty on European Union, “respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights including the rights of persons belonging to minorities…pluralism, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between men and women”, can most fruitfully be realised.
It is hoped that both sides of More’s punning title should feel welcomed on these pages and feel able to enter into dialogue with each other and with the wider world; exchanging news, views and informed comment on our European future.