(On Screen): The great ambition historically in Europe has been To Rule The World! (sound of maniacal laughter echoes in the background.)
You see it all the way from Alexander forward, but in the last couple thousand years it was primarily To Rule Europe (maniacal laughter) with attempts being made by Charlemagne, sundry popes, Henry IV, Louis XIV, Frederick the Great, Napoleon, Bismarck, Hitler, Stalin... And that's by no means a complete list.
At various times all the major powers in Europe: The UK, France, Austria, Russia, Prussia and then Germany, have nursed this ambition. (Maniacal laughter) The smaller nations have never had any hope of it, but I've always harbored this sneaking suspiciou that maniacal laughter also echoes in the hallways of the capital buildings of smaller powers, none moreso than Belgium.
Belgium, especially in its guise as part of Spanish Netherlands, has been a pawn for centuries. Its primary value has always been that it was wealthy and that it was in the way between here and there so to get there you had to go through Belgium. But it hasn't been a major power in any sense since the heyday of Bruges.
And yet. And yet. The Belgians have bided their time, and during the Cold War they saw their chance: NATO headquarters was placed in Brussels, and Belgian influence began to make itself felt. What it could never had achieved militarily could, perhaps, be achieved diplomatically. And with the founding of the EC, its headquarters were placed in Brussels. As the EC evolved into the EU, it remained in Belgium. Surely it is true on paper that all the members have the same degree of influence, but proximity and the inevitable fact that a disproportionate part of the bureaucracy and un-appointed employees are going to be Belgians, and you can tell that Belgium is going to have a lot more influence in practice than anyone else will.
And now we see the latest step in Belgium's plan to Rule The World (ml): the introduction of the Euro. And we know this is a Belgian plot because the official announcement and celebration of it will take place at the Belgian Royal Palace.
Which only leaves one question: Who's Pinky?
Update 20011231: More on this conspiracy revealed. Bert's behind it!