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February 21, 2017

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Yes, very very interesting!

If the Zollverein had remained confined to Prussia and neighbouring states this would have had knock-on effects for France, Denmark, the Netherlands, Austria, Hannover and the southern German states. Assuming the Main convention of 1831 proceeds as happened historically, what happens then? Do the western and southern German states have an incentive to form their own customs union separate from the Zollverein? Perhaps including the Netherlands?

Or do we see a number of smaller customs unions scattered throughout Germany (Prussian Zollverein)? Historically I think there were 3 customs unions (Prussian-Hessian, Bavarian-Wurtt., and Middle German (Hannover, Thuringia , Saxony, Oldenburg, Brunswick)). But the Prussian-Hessian union managed to weaken the Middle German one by enticing some members away, leaving Hannover and Brunswick to form tariff/customs union.

But with the state of "New Saxony" in Rhineland and Westphalia, perhaps we see a customs union of Hannover, Brunswick, Oldenburg, New Saxony and some other northwestern states form in the 1820s and remain, while the south german customs union may eventually become closer to Austria.

Kind of ironic really that the UK helped to unify Germany when the creation of such a power was probably exactly what the UK was trying to avoid.

There are some vague parallels with the UK and the EU here too since initially the UK was trying it's best to undermine the nascent EEC through the formation of a wider free trade area (Plan G and the European Economic Association), only for the UK to join the EEC eventually and play a significant role in the formation of the Single Market that they are now intent on leaving.

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