We talked to Richard Alston former Liberal Senator for Victoria and senior cabinet minister in the Howard Coalition government. He is also author of recent CIS paper Reflections on the EU Project and its Flaws: A fatal conceit about markets and the real world. With worthwhile intentions, The EU, and its predecessor bodies, were set up with the aim of ending the long history of frequent and bloody wars between European neighbours. Its fundamental purpose was to promote greater social, political and economic harmony among the nations of Western Europe. Yet nowadays, nothing in its founding documents is advocated or even aspired to. Indeed, The European Union shows all the signs of worsening economic, social and political decline — from tepid economic growth and chronically high unemployment to social unrest and rising political extremism.