LIBERAL Democrat Brian Dash (Letters, March 12) thinks that the EU has helped us avoid continental conflagrations like those of the early and mid-20th century. This ‘EU equals peace’ theory is a mistake and needs to be refuted.

What matters is that since 1945, the principal states of western Europe have all been constitutional democracies, and democracies never go to war against each other.

The most serious threat to peace in Europe since the end of the Second World War came from Soviet communism and this was contained, until its collapse, by the deterrent policies of NATO – an organisation of co-operating sovereign countries, which owed none of its effectiveness to the sort of undemocratic European federalism favoured by Mr Dash and what remains of his party.

Far from reducing the dangers of conflict, European federalism, or ‘even closer union’ magnifies them.

About Ukraine, Mr Dash says that its people ‘want to be with the EU rather than Putin’s Russia’. This, too, is incorrect.

In fact, the country is sharply divided with a large minority that looks to Russia rather than the west. If the country is to hold together, it needs enlightened leaders (unlike the regimes of the last 20 years) and a new constitution which gives maximum devolution to its very different regions.

Such a process is likely to have little or nothing to do with the EU, any more than the EU has had anything to do with peace in the main countries of Europe.