What does proto-federal mean, if it is different from federal?

Proto- is a prefix that means "the first," "the original," or "primitive". You can stick it onto any noun. "Proto-federal" means something like "the early federal" or "the first version of federal". For example, the proto-federal government of the US was organized under the Articles of Confederation. The federal government is organized according to the Constitution. In computer software, a beta version is a prototype of the final version. Does this make sense?
Hi thanks. It helps.

I guess, and I am referring to the European Union, it means an embryonic federal state: a state that's heading for a kind of federation, but is still in its very early stages.

I guess it makes some sense.