It is not good comparing. No point thinking about some glorious past in which there were also serious downsides. However, today's huge materialistic and comfortable way of life transformed Kings into puppets. In that context, leaders like Putin look strong despite their inability to slash corruption.
The time of great fighters is over. In most of so-called democracies, one becomes president thanks to one's ability to communicate and find rich allies. The best (or worst) example of this is new U.S president. It is an appalling sign of the times that proves impostors rule and not brave warriors.
Still, do we really need a strong scary figure at the head of a nation? For instance, in Thomas More's Utopia, there's no such profile. But this brilliant attempt to describe some sort of perfect society shows limits: social hierarchy is the backbone of the concept which implies that, once again, the conspiracy of the rich can't be avoided.
And this is why some europhobes have been recently trying to escape from an organisation that is pointless for protectionists. For them, the European system of collection and distribution of taxes is vague and unfair. It rules instead of their own country's governors like if some strangers were deciding almost everything in terms of national budget and foreign policy.
Those arguments are not totally untrue. At a point that the very crucial reasons why Europe is necessary, are now being sacrificed: there is a need of workers from abroad in most of developed European countries, particularly U.K where financial institutions base their staff because it gives them a toe hold in the EU without having to apply for a Visa or work permit.
Let's not forget also that the single market is good for the economy, without having to worry about tariffs and trade wars. And last, but not least, the EU has prevented another war in Europe for over half a century, by encouraging cooperation rather than conflict.
Coming back to the foundation of Europe after WW2 with De Gaulle's rules, it is true that the very last point above is the main reason why this project was born. Nevertheless, well before that, the Aurignacians are possibly the first European population.
Then, geopolitically strictly speaking, the Roman Empire is said to be the first sort of experience of the kind. Later of course another failed attempt to unite countries into what was already called Europe is worth mentioning: Napoleon's dream of ''Emperor of the French'' didn't last either.
Nothing lasts in fact. That is why some utopic dream like Europe is fragile. Attacked by many scepticals, it's dancing on a sharp edge as Philippe Petit once danced on his wire between the Twin Towers. Europe is like us: we are all endangered dancers, one step aside and we fall.
However, Europe is a long standing myth that started with the Greeks through Europa and which is still inspiring us: no matter how hard some have tried, the European Culture, vector of implacable links, is indestructible.