Good point about "forge", Setanta. I agree I should have used "emerge" instead. My point is that politicians, with their vested interests and all, have an incentive to cater to public opinon. If public opinion holds that a European society is worth caring about, and worth giving up some national advantages for, even a loosely integrated political system will work. If public opinion in each country sees the European institutions mostly as a device for beggaring their neighbors, even a tightly integrated European Union will fall apart at some point.
As an aside, I consider laziness a virtue, so thanks for the compliment about lazy thinking!