Year L, 2008, Number 1, Page 70



What Freedom for Europe?
Europe is not occupied by any foreign power and is not dominated by anyone. Yet Europe does not have the same freedom of action that the United States, the pseudo-federation of Russia, and China have.
Europe is dependent. Europe has no will of its own. Europe is not free.
This is because it lacks unity. Europe has, of course, been engaged in a process of unification for more than half a century now, but its unity is not complete. Nothing has been sanctioned definitively. The same states that, in a moment of great wisdom, conceived of the unification project, are today ready to abandon it; they have become promoters of division more than factors of unity. This is the nature of things. Europe, in its vulnerability, offers itself up to the other powers in the world, which shamelessly exercise, at our expense (but through our own fault), the divide-and-rule tactic. This, too, is the nature of things.
European Realism.
The world continues to be a system of sovereign states, unbalanced in favour of just one power. And this global system of sovereign states is, for this one power, both its sphere of influence but also the source of its limitations. In short, it is a Westphalian system (global now, not European) in the hegemonic grip of just one state. The Europeans are familiar with the iron rule of this system; after all, they have lived under its effects for more than three centuries, and have disseminated them throughout the world. It is the iron rule of power politics, of the state-power. Within this “modern” system, there are states that have the strength, real or potential, needed to challenge the pre-eminent power; and states that do not have this strength, even though they may be under the illusion that they do. This national illusion, harboured by some European states, is now countered by another illusion, this time European. Founded on a project of unity for peace and capable of creating new material conditions conducive to peaceful relations between states, Europe has developed legal instruments, placed at the service of its economic power, that allow it to impose its rules, or at least have its say, in global negotiations with the other regions of the world. Therefore, Europe should not need to have recourse to “modern” instruments of power. The theory is that the “post-modern” principle underpinning the Community system relieves the EU legal order of the need to have recourse to “modern” power politics, as though this system, merely because it exists in our own particular corner of the globe, were enough to incline the rest of the world towards a “post-modernity” in which relations based on law prevail over relations of force.[1]
This is the “soft power” cosmopolitanidealism[2]that our illusion merchants are peddling. It is, for Europe, an illusion to believe that all it needs to do in its dealings with the world, as the Schuman declaration urges its states to do among themselves, is dispense with “hard power”, in order for not only peace to follow, but also equal rights of the powers and containment of the risks faced by our planet. It is suggested that it is, fundamentally, a question of leaving everything to the passing of time, which Javier Solana recently identified as the European Union’s greatest ally, as though — and this is an illusion upon an illusion — time were not already running out. It is wrong to lose sight of the fact that the world is a modern system, because to do so prevents one from seeing Europe’s political impotence, and the total absence of Europe in the global power balance. There is an enormous risk that the vacuum created by Europe’s absence will induce war and crisis, economic and environmental. Again, this is the nature of things.
After all, do all Europeans even have the same sense of the passing of time? I am not suggesting that different perceptions of the passing of time should be interpreted as peculiar national cultural traits, but simply as a more or less keenly felt thirst for Europe, a greater or lesser urgency to complete the process of unification, a different propensity, in the event of a crisis, to come down on the side of unity rather than favouring an “each for himself” attitude. It is a fact that Great Britain, despite Churchill’s 1946 declaration in favour of a “United States of Europe”, chose, at that time, to stay on the fringe of Europe; it is also a fact that, since then, Great Britain has always preferred the Atlantic to the Continent, the slow laissez-faire approach to the more rapid reaching of decisions characteristic of common policy making. Cosmopolitan idealism and the laissez-faire approach (basically, the cynicism of the all-powerfulmarket), in fact, form a kind of alliance which is slowing down the process of unification, an alliance exacerbated by simple nationalistic opposition to European unity (“Rule Britannia”,“right or wrong, my country”attitudes). It is a fact that France, an originator of the European project — we may recall Jean Monnet’s United States of Europe, Schuman’s federation, the “indissoluble union” advocated in the Fouchet Plan —, but also responsible for burying Europe’s constitutional acts (the statute of the proposed European Political Community, Hallstein’s federal budget, the Constitutional Treaty), continues to be trapped by the contradiction “no independence without power, no power for Europe”, which amounts to an affirmation of the perpetuity of the nation-state and the inevitable death of the European project. There also exists an alliance between cosmopolitan idealism and souverainisme (basically, the cynicism of the all-powerfulstate), which, combined with nationalisms (France’s grandeur, France for the French), constitutes a further obstacle.
Nevertheless, in certain periods, it is thanks to France, in part, that things move forward at all. So would it be true to say that with the election of Nicolas Sarkozy as President of the French Republic we have now entered one such period? To answer this question, we need first to examine Germany’s situation and Italy’s too, given that France alone, even in its best periods, cannot achieve anything in a European sense. At this point in the analysis it is necessary to adopt a methodological criterion: the usual distinction that is drawn between the intergovernmental, the Community and the federal has to be reviewed in the light of the paradigms of methodological nationalism and of methodological cosmopolitanism, the latterin its idealist and realist variants.
While it is clear that the intergovernmental method is based on internationalism and thus, in method terms, on nationalism, and that it therefore reflectsa particularist ideology which accepts the impossibility of acting together when there is no unanimity of wills, it is less clear that the Community method, which is cosmopolitan, is only an idealism (“power through law”), denounced as renunciatory by the nationalists and other souverainistes, and even by federalists critical of the Community method, who thus, in a stupefying cacophony, end up coming together with the most romantic internationalism. In truth, the Community method has endured because it is ambivalent. Essentially, it solves the difficult problem of reaching decisions among sovereign states. By conferring on an independent body responsibility and a power of initiative (and, over time, the powers of many subsequent initiatives), the conditions are created (without damaging the interests of states that, from one occasion to the next, might be in the minority) in which states can vote and thus in which decisions can be taken that bind the states (common rules). In this way, integration takes on the form of layers of Community laws (the acquis), some of which are oriented towards federal objectives. And herein lies the fundamental difference between the (above-described) Community method seen as abstract cosmopolitan idealism based on blind possibilism, in which new decisions are guided by previous decisions, and the Community method seen as cosmopolitan realism, targeted, clear-sighted voluntarism, in which new decisions are guided by a political objective (the federation), which is decided at the outset and then pursued in a coherent and continuous, unremitting fashion. In the cosmopolitan realism paradigm, the federation also emerges as the only possible way out when the realist version of the Community method has run its course, in other words, when it is no longer possible to advance small step by small step; when what is needed is a great leap forward; when it is a question of pooling that which can no longer be divided. In these conditionsit emerges as the form that needs to be given to the community of democracies in order to save them from empire, both internally and externally. This is the logic that prevailed among some member states in relation to the creation of the single currency and the European Central Bank. It is this model of cosmopolitan realism geared at a federal objective that the Federal Republic of Germany espouses in its Constitution. It is the same model that prevailed in Italy when Spinelli and De Gasperi succeeded in getting the statute of the proposed European Political Community annexed to the European Defence Community project, and that also prevailed when Monnet and Schuman, in their pursuit of a noble political objective (Franco-German reconciliation), created, to this end, an apparently technical, economic and sectorial instrument. Strangely, it would again prove to be the prevailing model when de Gaulle submitted the Fouchet Plan to the other five European member states, presenting it as the founding act of an “indissoluble union”, a plan that they rejected.
When the new President of France advocates advancing towards a “Europe of defence”, definitively sealing the Union, or electing a president of a political Europe, the Europe he has in mind looks less and less intergovernmental and more and more like a community, at the very least. But is it a community with or without a precise end? When he has the Schuman declaration read out on the 14th of July, and when he quotes (now without omissions) the founding fathers, is he steering the building of Europe (according to him, the supreme priority of French politics) towards a federation or towards a system of sovereign states? This is a not hair-splitting question. It is the whole essence of the debate.
To Say it or Not to Say it?
But can we use the word “federal”? Mrs Thatcher refused to utter it. And since then, the whole of Europe, from the most fervent supporters of the laissez-faire approach to the opportunist wing of organised federalism,[3] has, at every stage, followed her example, complicating the debate. If one wants to be absolutely unambiguous, the word “federal” cannot be avoided. If support for this ultimate objective is clearer in Germany and Italy than it is in France, this is without doubt because, in Germany, federalism and the building of Europe are ideas incorporated into the Constitution, because Rome is not Paris, and because neither Italy nor Germany have had a de Gaulle to make the idea of the grandeur of the Italian or German nation fashionable once again (something that, moreover, would actually have been fiercely resisted).[4] It is not that de Gaulle complicated the issue. He clarified it, vetoing Britain’s entry into the EEC and proposing an indissoluble union, but opposing, paradoxically, a federal budget. The reason for the degeneration of the whole European debate in France was the settling of accounts (played out against the backdrop of the colonial wars and the Cold War) between the successors of de Gaulle and those of Monnet, Schuman, Pinay, Blum and Mollet. Of course, it was tempting for these successors to build their patrimony on the basis of what were still very recent memories, but now, after an interval of time, it would be wise to stop setting memories against one another so as to be able to strive, together, to reconcile ideas and demands long considered irreconcilable within the Union. Those of de Gaulle: authority of the state, organised concert of responsible governments,[5] direct popular ratification,[6] subordination of the executive to legitimate powers,[7] indissolubility of the Union; and those of Monnet: equality of states, abolition of the right of veto, expression of the common interest, strength of common rules, the political objective.
This is what Nicolas Sarkozy has, so far, seemed intent on doing, and it is highly likely that he will not stop here if, like others before him, he wants to set his mark on the process of European integration.
Certainly, to do this could not help but calm the stormy waters of political debate in France, something that our neighbours and partners, often put off by all the hostility, more or less contained, between France’s two traditional political factions and between the new “yes” and “no” camps (two divisions that, moreover, cannot be superimposed), care little about. However, it has to be acknowledged that the Community method is quite widely opposed even outside the ranks of the nationalists and the souverainistes, who are against any form of integration — some of its opponents are even to be found in the close entourage of Nicolas Sarkozy —, and that it has now become fashionable, both on the left and on the right, to write off the Monnet method as “superseded” (without really making it clear what is meant by the Monnet method: his institutional design, gradualism, or even the idea of economics being given precedence over politics).[8] In any case, one thing, simplifying nothing, is clear: among those opposed to the Community method, there are many, even in the “yes” camp, who are critical of it because it goes beyond the intergovernmental level; in addition, there are those who would like to silence the Commission, those who see the right of veto as the states’ inalienable right, and those who protest against what they see as a government of judges and question the legitimacy of a parliament that does not belong to a nation. Yet, on the other hand, there are also those, even in the “no” ranks, who criticise the method for stopping half way along the road that leads to European federation, or even for precluding this outcome altogether. Meanwhile, support for the Community method, just as widespread, is accompanied in some cases by the realisation that the intergovernmental approach is no way to achieve either efficiency or democracy, and even by the admission that, ideally, it is only through a federation that they can be made to co-exist; others, instead, support the method itself, its universality, in the spirit of Monnet, who would never have used the expression “United States of Europe” or taken America as his example and inspiration: these are the ones who, on principle, reject all that seems to smack of “presidentialisation” or complete parliamentarisation of Europe, of a European government, or of a European federal state. Given this scenario, it is hardly surprising that France’s partners struggle to understand what is at stake, and that even the French citizens themselves do not understand it very well. The important thing is no longer to submit to forms of intellectual terrorism, be it that of Mrs Thatcher or that of the “anti-liberals” or “anti-cosmopolitans” who have become the new thought police.[9] This is an appeal to all the Monnets and Spinellis out there — Europe does still have some, and the upcoming generations containmore of them than might be imagined — to “pull the cart”, in the hope of obtaining, through the “Monnets”, a new initiative from France and from some of its partners, based on a new strategy of roles, and through the “Spinellis”, should it be necessary, fresh impetus based on new forms of participation of the citizens.[10]
As the experience of the euro clearly shows, the Community method is not an inevitable step towards the affirmation of the federal method. In the case of indivisible competences, where the need for decision-making unity and responsibility is paramount, it is clearly necessary to skip the Community stage. Interest rates cannot be decided around a table by a council of governors, required to agree unanimously on a would-be “common” policy to be conducted by central banks that remain independent of each other. Indeed, the central banks needed to be organised as a federal system with a single, common executive, the ECB, distinct from the national central banks, and this is precisely what was understood, and indeed realised, but only among the countries that were ready to take this step, and the Maastricht criteria were there to help identify which countries these were. Today, like it or not, these countries form a core of EU member states that share a common system of monetary government, open to all the other members as and when they should prove ready to be part of it. This seems to beg the question: why not do the same in the spheres of foreign policy and defence? The first point, in answer to this question, is that a bank is nothing other than an agency. Even though currency is a matter for the state, and even though the power to coin money is a kingly prerogative, by which we clearly mean a “sovereign” one, the fact remains that the governor of a central bank, even though he is independent, does not wield political power, but has only technical, “trivial” power, that his fate does not depend on the polling booth, and that, regardless of whether the bank is independent or not, he plays no part in the struggle for power. The second point is that this problem has arisen only once before, between 1951 and 1954, and that ever since the collapse, through France’s fault, of the European Defence Community project, which France itself had created, it has constantly been avoided, and the question of pooling diplomacies and armed forces shelved (a shelving that seems to be moving from provisional to definitive). There has been no shortage of small steps forward,taken providingthe independence of the commanders in chief of the armedforces (i.e. of the heads of state or of government) and of the foreign ministers was not infringed. For instance, the creation of a European External Action Service or of the Eurocorps (both agencies), and even — this is a new development — the existence of a European Chief of Staff (again an agency), have not altered in the slightest the formal sovereignty of the states and the power of the elected leaders. Even the Lisbon Treaty, which creates a stable President of the European Council and raises the profile of the High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (who will become High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy), stopping short of giving him the rank of minister, emerges as no threat to sovereignty, on a formal level at least.[11]
The only genuinely new development with regard to the institutions — this is something that Continental Europe, unlike Great Britain, has still not grasped completely — concerns the fact that the enlargement of the EU from 15 to 27 countries has produced an effect, sanctioned by the Lisbon Treaty, that most of the governments were not expecting: namely the transformation of the Council Secretariat, headed by the High Representative, into an out-and-out supranational institution, entirely on a par with the Commission and the Parliament. To work efficiently with 27 members, the Secretariat can no longer settle for a role as a go-between; instead, it must affirm its own authority, its European authority. And paradoxically, this supranationality is indeed in the interest of the governments before the Commission. And it is here that the problems start. The more important the Secretary, alias the High Representative, becomes, the more he or she will overshadow the Commission, of which, moreover, he/she is vice-president; this is a development that is bound to strengthen the supranational character of the Secretariat, but that will, at the same time, progressively eclipse the national ministers and heads of government, the very ones who had hoped to use the High Representative to prevent the Commission from resembling a European government. And this is to say nothing of the President of the European Council, who will be forced to raise his profile at the expense of the President of the Commission. All this explains why the European CFSP and ESDP machine is stuck in its tracks and cannot move forward! Because, in EU-27, there exists neither the effective convergence (awareness of common interests) and cohesion (working solidarity) that a full European foreign policy should generate, nor a European political body. The task of the High Representative is to conduct a policy that will struggle to survive, and that will never be anything other than extremely partial, always liable to conflict with the actions undertaken by the single states. But, on a smaller scale, as the euro has shown, coherence is possible, and a sufficient level of cohesion can be achieved. In this regard, it is worth considering extremely carefully a declaration made by Jean-Claude Juncker, on November 8, in Berlin. Recalling the fact that the UK is not in the Schengen area or the eurozone, and had recently secured derogations from the Charter of Fundamental Rights, and also in the fields of police and judicial cooperation, Juncker underlined the need to respond to this state of affairs by strengthening the central core of states that adhere to all the rules of the European Union, authorising the establishment, around the outside of this core, of a corona of countries whose adhesion is only partial. This is clearly a recurrent theme for Juncker who, on a previous November 8 (on this occasion addressing the French Senate in Paris), spoke of different “apartments in the European building: one apartment for those who want to do everything together, plus two or three additional rooms for those who do not want to, or cannot, participate in all the EU policies”. He went on to say that, in his view, to want, at all costs, a single construction and the same obligations for as many as forty or so countries is to want a project doomed to failure.
Nucleation,[12] as well as being part of the dynamics of Europe ever since the time of the ECSC, is an idea that has cropped up in the European debate from time to time ever since the Schäuble-Lamers paper of September 1, 1994;[13] the organisation of a rearguard was even hypothesised, unofficially, by the main author of the Penelope project (the Commission’s draft for a constitution), the late François Lamoureux.[14] Will this idea achieve strategic importance, as a model of “completion” (as opposed to deepening or enlargement) in the situation that will be created in the wake of the ratification (if ever) of the Treaty of Lisbon,or will it instead form, alongside the spill-over or domino theory, a simple analysis instrument to be added to the tool-box of the economist or political scientist of integration?
Envisaging the Core.
Envisaging the core is a difficult undertaking, because one also has to ask oneself which countries have both the legitimacy and the credibility needed to embark on this initiative, and what complete adhesion to the EU actually means, in other words, what the definition of a full member is. And is a “core”, as a full union, or accomplished union, the same thing as a union of full members? How should it be formed? How should it be organised? What should its status within the Union be? And what should it do that the present Union does not do or is not able to do (be this a postulated incapacity or one that might quickly emerge within the first few years of application of the modified Treaty)?
It is clearly the last of these questions that needs to be answered first. The core is only a means, as indeed the Union itself is, of saving the Europeans from division and the world from chaos. One need only consider the following expression, found in the British press: Europe is shrinking, the West as well. The size problem, even just in economic and demographic terms, is plain for all to see: Europe and North America would have to team up in order to hope to be able to measure up to China or India tomorrow.[15] This is the same as saying that a balanced transatlantic relationship is essential in order to ensure, in the world, the victory of reason, of the liberal rule of law and of representative democracy. If a common energy and environment policy is aprerequisite for Europe’s sustainable development, then that of the whole world hangs on our capacity to draw the United States of America, primarily, in this same direction and then, in their wake, two subcontinents with populations numbering billions, even if the price to be paid for this has to be a “great-power” foreign policy, served by an appropriate defence policy.[16] The peace and freedom of the Balkan states and of the area surrounding the European Union and our collective freedom of action in the face both of a Russia whose future direction looks uncertain and of the chaos in the Middle East also depend on our intelligence capacity and our capacity to project power, to control seas (primarily the Mediterranean and the Baltic) and space: our capacity to dissuade any potential aggressor. At the same time, the credibility and promise offered by the Community method as the prototype of “tomorrow’s forms of world government” (Monnet) depend on the completion of the process of European unification and the presence of an indissoluble union of countries ready and determined to take part in that process: a union that will still be open to all the EU member states, a federation within the Union. This prospect of federal completion explains why it is possible to view the Community method in two different ways. It can be seen as a useless return to the free-trade approach and to the illusion of global cooperation among nation-states under the protection and supervision of the most powerful nations, namely the United States and China (plus India, if it can gather the necessary will and prove able to find a way of coexisting with its great neighbour to the north), in other words, as a return to a world in which the European message, with all its values and principles, would no longer be believed, a world in which Europe simply would not feature. Alternatively, it can be seen as the most direct route to a multipolar global system of regional federations, to a new world order, to a global democratic government. Monnet’s method has not been superseded: it is at a crossroads and the direction it takes depends on whether the Europeans choose to place it at the service of the laissez-faire approach, which is what the British insist on, or instead decide consciously to adopt and pursue the federal objective set out by Europe’s founding fathers.
Europe can go on being an increasingly large space — in fact, the whole world can be considered a space —, rapidly becoming organised to be merely that, in which case businesses, trade unions, and the citizens themselves will soon stop seeing the usefulness of the Union, which will not be capable of defending and promoting their interests; alternatively, Europe, a federal Europe within the Union, can become a power capable of doing for all the Europeans everything that, or even more than, America does for the Americans, in which case, the Europeans will regain faith in their future and become a people, capable of sharing with the other continents the experience they have gathered over more than half a century of victories over the “savage freedom of states” (Kant).
It was a mistake to use the word “constitution”. There cannot be a constitution without a state. Since there was never any intention of uniting the states in a single federal state, there was no call to talk of a constitution. Confused, the French and Dutch (as well as others not given the opportunity to have their say in a referendum) had the impression that, through the manipulation of “words and things”, they were being taken for a ride, not being offered genuine change; because, after all, the Treaty was merely about creating the conditions for more efficient decision-making within the enlarged EU, certainly not about “constituting” a state. They felt misled. This should serve as a lesson, because the time has now come to speak clearly. The time has come for Habermas to write a new article: “Why Europe Needs a State” (and why a state must be constitutional, democratic, federal and social).[17] The time has come to declare that the problems of survival the world now faces cannot be solved effectively without first putting an end to this “new global disorder”,[18] starting by turning Europe into a power; the time has come to make it clear that time is running out, that this “power Europe”, if it is to be credible both externally and in the eyes of the Europeans themselves, and if it is effectively to serve the objectives (like food and energy independence and sustainable development) already pursued by today’s impotent EU, can only be a federal state, a federal order that, “albeit allowing each state to develop its own national life in the manner most suited” to its culture and identity, “removes from the sovereignty of all the associated states the means of imposing their own selfish particularisms”. These words, borrowed from Spinelli,[19]make it quite clear that the kind of state that is needed is only a minimal, sufficient, subsidiary state, certainly not a superstate. Moreover, we might at this point ask our adversaries to tell us exactly what they mean when they talk of a “superstate,” given that we take such pains to explain what a federation means. Don’t the eurosceptics in Britain (and elsewhere) consider the United States a free country? Do they really believe, against all the evidence to the contrary, that having suffered at the hands of two totalitarian regimes in the space of one century the Continental Europeans might be tempted to invent a third? Or is what they are imagining some kind of centralised bureaucratic state, along the lines of the French or Prussian model? This is quite absurd. All those who give in to the temptation to think this way, be it out of laziness, demagoguery, habit or ignorance, need to beware of becoming ridiculous!
When talking of the power of Europe, i.e. the power to steer things in the direction of European principles and interests, it has to be understood that the status quo of an intergovernmental cooperation, groping its way along, has absolutely nothing in common with the policies that could be democratically defined and effectively conducted by a European federal state. The advances that have been made, a little by little, have been achieved in the shadows. The Europe that might be suspected of conspiring against the nations is this stealthy Europe, this Europe “en douce”, as Elisabeth Guigou called it the day after the referendum on the Maastricht Treaty.[20]And it is this same, slowly advancing Europe that allows adversaries, rivals, competitors and partners to score points over us, that passively looks on as other continents grow more powerful, and that will continue to look on as, before too long, our North American partner grows increasingly vulnerable and impotent and even begins its descent into decline. The time has come to act (beyond the sphere of simple cooperation among all the EU member states), pooling means of diplomacy and defence, instruments of intelligence and policing, that is, the indivisible competences, those areas in which decision-making unity and responsibility, representation and action are essential. It is also time to recognise that the Community method (particularly in a 27-member Union) is unworkable, and that even if all these areas were “communitarised”, as has been promised, this would still not solve the problem of the need for legitimacy, a need reflected in the states’ refusal to act and linked to the question of the use of the armed forces. If it is a question of takingjust onestep, as in the case of the single currency, as opposed to setting out on a long road, like that of the single market, then it is necessary to get rid of the idea that Europe cannot be created at a stroke, suddenly, and in the full light of day. It is time to admit that the process of drawing closer to the final objective has lasted long enough and that we need to take concrete action. Today, this is still a choice that we can make freely and cool-headedly, and we must therefore move now, before it becomes one that, in the midst of crisis and upheaval, we are forced to take hurriedly, in the heat of the moment, and at a time and in a form we will not have had a chance to ponder and decide calmly, among Europeans. Monnet’s gradualism now needs to be replaced with — here we return to the roots of Spinelli’s federalism — the creation of a new internal and external sovereignty, built on the territory of different EU member states through the partial fusion (the fusion of the federal part) of their old sovereignties, which have remained intact up until now.[21]The federation created in this way would inherit its member states’ rights and obligations, deriving from European and international law. It would represent them in the spheres of its competence.
It is worth remembering that it is precisely because the European Union’s existence has not eroded the national sovereignties that the member states retain this freedom to do what they want with them, partly fusing them (the federal method) — this is already the case of the single currency — but also continuing to share them (the Community method), as we see in the areas that are not fields of exclusive competence of the Union.[22]The creation of this federation would be instantaneous, albeit comprising a series of separate legal and political acts, and it would present all the other member states (which should nevertheless be kept informed and invited to participate) with a fait accompli (from which they would, previously, already have distanced themselves). Those launching the initiative of this founding act will necessarily have to display a strong common will, as spontaneously common as that shown by Schuman, Adenauer and De Gasperi. The timeframe for this “stroke”, delivered in full accordance with Community law, is neither the centuries-long one of the unfolding of the crisis ofsovereignties, and ofthe taming of them, nor the historical one of the spontaneous evolution and growing interdependence of mankind: this stroke, regardless of whether it comes within or outside a moment of crisis, constitutes a breakaway moment and, as such, is not a new concept in the process of European integration.
It is feigned that this building of Europe is nothing other than a process that, if not continuous, may at least be seen as a chain of events in the context of a mechanism destined to last a very long time. But to feign this is to forget that the ECSC caught other countries off their guardwithout undermining the only European organisations in existence at the time (the Council of Europe and the OEEC). Those in central and eastern Europe tempted (now or in the future) to interpret a possible “nucleation” of the Union as a divisive act intended to reduce them to satellite states would do well to remember that today they would not even be members of a free union of free nations had the supporters of the ECSC had scruples about pressing on alone. A founding act means a break with the past. It could sweep away everything: there is no questionaboutit! It is just about letting the future in: that is the issue at stake.
The Federator.
To understand this idea of nucleation better, it might be useful to consider its separate phases or moments, which we may call those of opportunity, initiative, vision, communion of wills and, finally, deliberation (or constitution, meant in the strictest sense of the word). The phase of opportunity is the one in which the situation as a whole is analysed, and to devote oneself to this analysis publicly may be one way of helping to build the necessary consensus. One need only consider that the level (greater or lesser) of global disorder still depends (but for how much longer?) on Washington more than on any kind of global consciousness (a global consciousness is starting to appear, but it is not yet solidly reflected in the institutions of a legal community), and that we can be saved from environmental disaster only by an immediate, universal action, which demands new “forms of government” at world level, capable of bringing about a convergence of divergent interests. This is the phase in which it is necessary to involve the raisons d’état at work in the states of the necessary size, i.e., in the continental or sub-continental states. This is the “Machiavellian” phase of nucleation.
The initiative phase is the one in which the immediate needs and interests are assessed. It is the phase in which it is realised, thanks in part to the contribution of some enlightened soul, that the Europeans need to wake up if they are to avert the dangers now looming: stagflation, energy dependence, strategic weakness, demographic decline, instability around Europe’s borders, and stagnation of research. By declaring, in resolute terms, just before the start of the French presidency of the EU, his intention to build a Europe of defence, Nicolas Sarkozy has opened a “window of opportunity”, because this intention derives from an analysis — consistent with the federalist view — of the risks and stakes involved; but it is also a window of initiative, in which not only France’s ambitions for Europe need to be expressed, but also those of its partners. This French initiative, as long as it remains open and genuinely European, is reminiscent of other, earlier initiatives. It is a “Monnetian-Spinellian” moment. It is the kind of initiative that will trace the first outline of the federal core. A Europe of defence can be one of two things: either the Europe of the military-industrial complex, or the Europe of European armed forces under a unified command. The first option would be “great business” for the arms traders, whether the arms were intended for national or European use. It clearly coincides with the interests of France; and also with those of Britain (with the usual risk of divergence). If, instead, it is a question of building the second pillar of NATO (and thus of going much further than a simple alliance within an alliance, which our partners, Germany in particular would not want), then a military command is not enough, as the Italians, in view of the events of 1951, can authoritatively assert. No army without a state, then. But no state, the Germans will retort, unless it is not only a democratic — this much should be clear to everyone — but also a federal and social state. Should this initiative remain open to all the other EU member states, then it will soon be possible to see an outline emerging: France, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and Spain. The British, providing there are no surprises, will want nothing to do with the state and, adopting a “wait and see” approach, will fall back on arms production programmes. The Netherlands, Portugal (both always sensitive to Britain’s positions) and Austria (unless it ends its “permanent” neutrality) could all decline the offer. Ireland and Finland, which are not members of NATO but use the single currency, could instead see it as an opportunity to become part of a collective defence system linked to NATO and thus to be present in NATO, as members of the federation, without having to adopt national stances. Denmark, a member of NATO and more and more willing to relinquish its opt-outs, could easily review its position on defence. Poland will not want to hear mention of federalism, at least initially, but Slovenia (which is in the eurozone) and Hungary (which has often spoken out in support of a European defence) may well come out in favour of joining (especially if Austria, which also uses the euro, does the same); in the same way, the Baltic states might follow the example of Finland, overcoming their fears about the prospect of seeing the Europeans divided again. “Everything is possible” Monnet writes “if only one can focus on a precise point that pulls all the rest in its wake”.In the light of all this, other entirely unexpected developments would, in the longer term, become probable, even in Sweden (where they are now starting to talk of a “hard core”[23] and are considering becoming members of NATO), in the UK, and ultimately in all the member states.
But the state, whose civil head is also head of the military, has to exist before the army (and its General Staff) can, since it is its precondition: this is where we reach the vision phase à la Victor Hugo. Ultimately, the conceptual framework for the Europe of defence will inevitably be that of the United States of Europe, for reasons of balance (equal partnership) and also of legitimacy: Europe will have credibility only if it has not only a single telephone number on which to take calls from the White House or the Kremlin — it already has this through the High Representative — but also an interlocutor with the President of the United States who is not just a single individual — this already applies to both the President of the Commission and the future, “stable” president, but which of the two should it be? —, but above all an individual who, like the US president, has been chosen by election, is equipped to answer all questions on behalf of the federation, and is invested with the legitimacy needed to engage its armed forces in military operations, with or without the United States, in the framework of NATO, or acting unilaterally.
We then come to the phase of will, particularly the will of those who are not believed in France to possess any: the Italians, the Belgians and the Luxembourgians. This is also the most delicate phase, because its positive outcome depends on the strength of conviction, the diplomatic skills, the imagination and, fundamentally, the personal commitment of men and women. These men and women are out there. They are our contemporaries. We rub shoulders with them. But who are they? Have they said what they think? Are they prepared to act? To induce this stirring of will is the main task of the federalists today, just as it was in the past; this is the moment in which whisperers, like Monnet and Spinelli in their time, providing their words reach the ears of some of these men and women, have the power to change the course of things. The federalists, through a strategy of influence and through consensus-building or people-building actions, can be manufacturers of will: the will of these men and women to dissuade France from taking any hasty unilateral step, particularly one that excludes Germany; to talk Germany into responding positively to a French proposal that, if we follow its logic through, goes far beyond the revised Treaty with which Berlin, for the time being, is feigning satisfaction; to obtain, through Germany, the support of Nicolas Sarkozy (who is seen as unprejudiced) for the principle of the federal state, so as to favour acceptance of any French proposal to seal something definitive, something that Nicolas Sarkozy claims to want to see, in other words support for the federating nature of the pact that binds indissolubly the parties to the agreement; the will to give rise, in this way, to the federator (here already European) whose absence General de Gaulle lamented — the federator that he himself proved unable to be. Finally, the will to go on besieging the European governments, in order to bring together, under the same conditions and without scope for derogations, the greatest possible number of Union member states. The French need to be made to see that many of their partners recognise the urgency of the need for European foreign and defence policies, and share their conviction that EU-27 is not the working framework in which this need can be met, that enhanced co-operations will change nothing,[24] and that what is called for is an ambition that, initially, not all can aspire to. But France also needs to appreciate clearly just what it would lose in the event of failure. It would sacrifice any chance of offering the Europeans, and thus the French, the means to achieve their legitimate goal: a European public power, a European power to provide balance in the world and to pave the way for world government.
And so we come, last but not least, to the final phase: nucleation. This is the most consensus-based, because it is now simply a question of exercising representative (and participatory) democracy: it is Spinelli’s constituent moment, the moment of deliberation and of the crystallisation of the founding consensus.
The moment in which a constituent assembly is called for should, in fact, be a moment of national and European reconciliation. In France, it was, in fact, a leading Gaullist, Fouchet himself, creator of the plan that took his name, who lamented, shortly before his death: “we should have convened a constituent assembly”. There is no need to explain to readers of The Federalist the axiological significance, political impact and the strategic importance of this moment.
This will be followed by the period of completion, by the slow process of enlarging the core until it reaches the Union’s boundaries, which will no longer be the same as they are today.
To learn from past defeats and failures, in a spirit of absolute humility, is, in the end, our only obligation. In particular, the defeat of the so-called Constitutional Treaty, due to too much idealism. “Embrassons-nous, folle ville” is not a realist maxim: the haste to become wider, before first becoming deeper, has sealed the destiny of the European Union, which will go on being a mere space, useful in the pursuit of prosperity, but unsuited to the wielding of power; the Americans themselves recognise Europe’s potential, but, knowing it to be squandered, they laugh at it. Then there is the failure to create an “economic government” of the eurozone, as well as the failure of the Lisbon strategy and of the CFSP. Indeed, by failing to include the broad lines of economic policy (and the relative budgetary instruments), a general framework for national educational and research policies, and the CFSP itselfin the scope of the Union’s exclusive (federal) competences,[25] the governments have condemned Europe to decline. We must also consider the trend for anarchic differentiation as a defeat: through the granting of opt-outs, derogations and exemptions, as well as British rebates, the principle of the equality of the states’ duties and obligations has been lost: what has emerged is not a vanguard, but a rearguard, which has its place in the EU area, but which can be likened to a ball and chain holding back the full members of a future full union, which aspire to carry weight on the world stage.
It is possible to see that the two ideas, on defence and political union, central to Nicolas Sarkozy’s vision of the future are destined to fail (like the EDC and the Fouchet Plan), unless it is appreciated that a Europe of defence is inconceivable without a political Europe; and that a political Europe is inconceivable without a federator.
The federator, in the absence of a great historical figure with the calibre to fulfil this role, can only be a fistful of parliamentarians and men of government acting in concert to bring about a return to the objective of Europe’s founding fathers. After all, nothing of what has been achieved thus far could have been achieved without keeping this objective in mind; equally, if we allow this objective to be forgotten, even the greatest ambitions are destined to end in failure.
This missing federator could emerge from the core of full members entering into an indissoluble pact,[26] taking the form of a free Europe, a sovereign union, a federal state made up of the member states that are realistic enough to recognise that the original design is more relevant today than ever. And from their citizens there could emerge a first genuine European (not national) democracy, called upon to federate, step by step, the whole of the continent.

[1] The post-modernity paradigm has been explored in depth, in the field of the historical-social sciences, by Ulrich Beck, whose works analyse its potential: first Risikogesellschaft – Auf des Weg in eine andere Moderne (Frankfurt am Main, Suhrkamp Verlag, 1986), then Macht und Gegenmacht im globalen Zeitalter: neue weltpolitische Ökonomie (Frankfurt am Main, Suhrkamp Verlag, 2002) and Der kosmolitische Blick oder: Krieg ist Frieden (Frankfurt am Main, Suhrkamp Verlag, 2004), and finally, together with Edgar Grande, Das kosmopolitische Europa (Frankfurt am Main, Suhrkamp Verlag, 2004). In the field of politics, and in particular in that of international relations, his analysis is too synchronic, based on the interior cosmopolitanisation of each individual. As for the states, they can be assumed to be behaving like modern states, still engaging, over essential matters, in relations of force tempered little bythe interior cosmopolitanisation of the men of government and by the trend towards the international organisation. In the European Union, the most advanced form of international organisation — as we shall see, the EU’s experience is that (thus far unique) of integration geared towards complete union —, where war has become materially impossible, as Monnet and Schuman imagined, and where sovereignty has been ‘tamed’ (to use Paul Magnette’s lovely expression), legal relations already prevail de facto over relations of force. For this also to be the case de jure, irreversibly, the Union would need to be indissoluble, and thus a state (federal). One might say that Europe has already become post-modern internally, while the world outside it remains modern, and to forget this would be every bit as suicidal as the unilateral disarmament theories that were once in vogue.
[2] This is an idea proposed by Joseph Nye in Bound to Lead – The Changing Nature of American Power, New York, Basic Books, 1990, as a reaction to theories that predicted a decline in America’s power. The idea was picked up on and applied to Europe, in French by Zaki Laïdi (La norme sans la force – L’énigme de la puissance européenne, Paris, Presses de Sciences Po, 2005), and in English by Robert F. Cooper (The Post-Modern State and the World Order, Demos, 2000). Cooper is hardly an insignificant figure, being an aide to EU High Representative, Javier Solana. It is true that he tones down his affirmation on the fact that a post-modern state is emerging, whose sovereignty would amount to nothing other than the right to a seat at the table, by explaining why the world still needs empires (“Why we still need Empires”, The Observer, Sunday 7 April,2002
(,11581,680117,00.html). This is perhaps where we might find the explanation for the dangerous title that Ulrich Beck gave, or allowed to be given, to the French translation of Das kosmopolitische Europa: Pour un empire européen (Paris, Flammarion, 2007). In any case, his idea comes down to the recognition that power politics (great or small) is not dead in the global system of states and that it is not by introducing rules against themthat empires can be contained.
Readers of The Federalist knowthat the federalism professed herecannot be suspected of abstract idealism, cosmopolitan or otherwise, or of naivety. However, I am not certain the same can always be said of organised federalism and some of its contradictory currents.
[3] The abstract cosmopolitan idealism of the naive and of all those who claim that the Community method can go on being sufficient indefinitely, or that Europe does not need to be (or never will be) a state, are in truthplaying the laissez-fairismgame of the financial markets and of their channels of mass communication, whose rallying cry is not “less state” (an argument that has pervaded French statism ever since liberalism became fashionable again) or “state only if necessary” (the subsidiary state according to the German model), but “as little state as possible” or “no state at all”, and, since the world is, after all, in need of a “policeman”, what is required is an imperial republic at least: Raymond Aron was not wrong. If Europe proves unable to react to this prospect by federating immediately (a scenario perfectly depicted by Englishman Anthony Giddens: “federalism is dead”), it will be deliberately hastening the advent of a world in which another power, or other powers, step in to contest the American imperium: American democracy, without European help, will not survive. This is the meaning of the title (Comment l’Europe va sauver l’Amérique, Paris,Saint-Simon, 2004) given to the French edition of a fine book written by a former advisor to Bill Clinton, Charles A. Kupchan: The End of the American Era, U.S. Foreign Policy and the Geopolitics of the Twenty-first Century, New York, Alfred A. Knopf, 2002.
[4] To say that the European Union is not a state is to affirm an obvious fact. But to say that it constitutes a federal system of government is to lie, even today: It is clear — here I borrow Kenneth Clinton Wheare’s penetrating definition, from his essay What Federal Government is — that the states are independent, but are they coordinated? Alternatively, we might ask: whose job is it to “organise or integrate (the states) in a harmonious operation, avoiding overlapping of roles, without leaving gaps and without creating contradictions” (here I draw on the definition of “coordinate” taken from Logos – Grand dictionnaire de la langue française, Bordas, Paris). In truth, the Oxford constitutionalist was perfectly clear, saying that the federal government is characterised by the division of competences among authorities that are in no way subordinate to each other; this applies as much to the extension as to the exercising of their constitutional competences.
But what this conveys is division in the sharing sense, almost fusion (to say nothing of confusion), rather than division in the sense of separation. I have even heard Delors remark: “After all, we don’t want a return to Montesquieu!” The Union, by virtue of its founding act — a treaty, even though it is called a “Constitutional Treaty” — remains subordinate to the states. It is necessary to recognise this, however tempting it is to draw up a list of the federal characteristics that the Treaties have progressively conferred upon it (primacy of Communitylaw, pre-eminence of the Court of Justice, elected Parliament, exclusive competences, common citizenship, principle of subsidiarity, double legitimacy).
[5] It seems that what De Gaulle ever really had in mind was representation of states through their governments. This is, moreover, what happens in German federalism. It is generally recognised that this is the most suitable solution in the case of a union of oldnations: it gives the Upper House a power that an elected senate would not have. Historically, it was the Netherlands that first raised the question “but where are the states?” during the negotiations for Treaty of Paris, after Monnet had proposed a High Authority. He had immediately seen the advantage that could be derived from accepting the creation of a council at the same as time putting forward the idea of an assembly, prefiguring, through these two institutions, a federal-type bicameralism and obtaining without striking a blow the support of the Germans.
[6] De Gaulle never put European acts to referendum, although it was certainly his view that an act of indissoluble union should be ratified by the French people. The failure of the Fouchet Plan decided otherwise.
[7] De Gaulle’scriticism of European technocracy, whose development he had actually contributed to, having had the Commission placed under the permanent supervision of the Brussels-based committee of diplomats, COREPER (Committee of Permanent Representatives to the European Communities), was always accompanied by a great distrust of the obscure power of officialdom in France itself. In his view, an administration was there to serve. Yet he never realised that an administration keeps all elected authorities, particularly territorial ones, on a leash (with the exception of the President and his ministers).
[8] Many throw out the good with the bad: in this case, the institutional design with the economic gradualism. This was not Monnet’s choice, but that of the French National Assembly with its 1954 rejection of the EDC. Having closed the door on political union, it became necessary to apply the ECSC-type model to the economy generally, and first of all to the market. The irony is that this same country, rejecting in 2004 (fifty years on), a constitutional avenue deemed capable of paving the way for a movement back in the direction of the political objective, actually believed itself to be breaking with the “market first” or “currency first” logic to which it had previously condemned itself.
The Monnet method, as its name suggests, is just a method; it does not set out to divide competences between the states and their “community”, so as to protect the states’ rights, and also those of the citizens, but to facilitate common decision making by the member states: the deliberating and voting (within the Council) on rules proposed by an organ independent of the states (the Commission) which results in the generation of an autonomous system of rules to be adhered to by the states that together created it (this accumulation of rules, the acquis, is the concrete reflection of the method’s gradualism). But it must be noted that, downstream, the implementation of the rules continues to be, at territorial level, the responsibility of the single states (the Union does not have its own territorial administration) and that, upstream, the states lost no time undermining (through the COREPER — this body was devised under de Gaulle as a means of controlling the Commission — and through countless “committees” bringing together civil servants belonging to a general directorate of the Commission and national ministers responsible for the same issues in each of the states) the independence of the Commission from as early as the stage in which “its” proposals are worked out. This trend was noted by the political scientists who took it as the starting point for the development of their theory of administrative “fusion” (W. Wessels, “Comitology: fusion in action. Politico-administrative trends in the EU system”, Journal of European Public Policy 5/2, 1998, pp. 209-234; Dietrich Rometsch and Wolfgang Wessels (eds), The European Union and Member States: Towards Institutional Fusion?, Manchester, M.U.P., 1996). It coincides with the prospect of a government of bureaucrats denounced by Romano Prodi. And were this trend, which is perfectly in line with the French and “Prussian” traditions, to be confirmed, the result would be a monolithic administrative state, without counter-powers. A state of this kind, which was created under the monarchy and survived the French Revolution, continues, essentially, to exist in France. If this is what the British are afraid of, then I can understand them, and if this is the case, then they should draw on all the resources of their political liberalism in order to propose a federation with limited, but real, powers, rather than transferring their sovereignty, presumed to be intact, to the United States.
[9] One aspect of the referendum debate in France struck me in particular: the breadth of the opposition to the market and to openness. Many defined themselves as “anti-liberal” and “anti-cosmopolitan”. I realised, on reading Emmanuel Faye’s book, Heidegger, l’introduction du nazisme dans la philosophie, Paris, Albin Michel, 2005, which is full of texts by authors belonging to the NSDAP, that they have the same targets as the Nazis, who directed all their hatred at democracy and at cosmopolitanism (the Jews, cosmopolitan on account of the Diaspora).Something similar applies to Bolshevism which, in spite of all its universalistic claims, taken from Jacobinism, never abandoned its innate hostility towards “bourgeois” freedoms and declared itself avictim of a cosmopolitan conspiracy. How better to describe the “totalitarian” cultural soup into which, during the referendum campaign, all those who believed the false arguments of a minority of activists allowed themselves to be drawn?
[10] “Monnet and I are pulling the cart like two stubborn mules — he in the hope of obtaining a new initiative from the governments, I in the hope of gaining fresh impetus from the movement.” These are Spinelli’s words, quoted by Italian President Giorgio Napolitano in his elegant essay entitled, Altiero Spinelli e l’Europa, published to mark the centenary of Spinelli’s birth. (Bologna, Il Mulino, 2007). My ideas on the participation of the citizens are already in the public domain. The reader is invited to refer to my website (currently being prepared):, which will include a “Draft Manifesto for a New Congress of the European People”.
[11] The President is answerable only to the states, the only holders of sovereignty, and the High Representative is not one of his ministers. It is actually paradoxical that the High Representative is likely, in practice, to look like the natural interlocutor with third party heads of state, more likely in fact than the President of the European Council, whose function is to preside, or to chair, not to represent. Tony Blair, supported by others, Nicolas Sarkozy among them, nevertheless seems to have formed a different idea, wholly exterior, of this function. Should this idea prevail, it will necessarily create the need for a review of the institutional order, making provision for the direct election of this president, who will effectively act as a President of the Union. This, in turn, will inevitably prompt objections of the kind raised in the sixties and seventies over the European Parliament: what is the point of electing a president who will have no powers? Why choose this president in the same way you would choose a head of state when the Union is not a state? If the precedent of the direct election of the European Parliament means anything, this will be the time for the organised federalism and the non-organised euro-federalists to “pile on the pressure”.
A report by Antonio Missiroli analysing, for the European Parliament’s Security and Defence Subcommittee, the probable effects of the new Treaty on the ESDP was recently published in Brussels: European Policy Centre, The Impact of the Lisbon Treaty on ESDP: Opportunities and Unknowns. He fears, in this case as in that of the French project for a Mediterranean Union, that the Union risks being replaced by a network of regional unions, which may or may not be associated with one another, and he traces the outline of a Europe of defence that might be defined superimposed-dissociated, given that it includes the UK and Poland.
[12] This is the formula I used in my book Nous citoyens des Etats d’Europe… (Paris, L’Harmattan, 1999). There I described four scenarios that now, a few years on, it is obviously possible to review: 1. Atomisation-fission (the Treaty is not ratified, it does not come into force, France feels that Europe is slipping through its fingers and so, head down, launches into the Mediterranean enterprise, with the support of Italy, which is by now on the brink of disintegration; at the same time France takes delight in engaging in a play of alliances to the rear, favouring Moscow over Berlin. Germany has only one solution up its sleeve with which to respond to all this: Mitteleuropa; America, to ward off dangers to the East, offers Berlin a closer relationship, while London kicks itself for having refused to accept that the objective of the process of European integration should be political. Several years on, the ECB crumbles, the dollar or a new German mark is the currency in use in central Europe and the Continent’s stability is at the mercy of possible unrest in the Balkans).
2. Superimposition-dissociation (a Europe of defence, primarily Franco-British, is formed at the heart of NATO, while Germany opts resolutely to go no further than acquiring an entry ticket to the exclusive arms industry club; “enhanced cooperation” is no longer practised, since the French and British do not want to debate matters of defence in the presence of others; there is a loss of faith: this instrument, whose creators are tempted to use it in defence of their own interests, renders vain any attempt to equip the Union with a foreign policy of its own; and France and Britain, whose differences Germany tries to settle, are far from having the dimension required for a great power policy; defence involving some states and diplomacy involving all the 27 member states neutralise each other).
 3. Replacement-association (this scenario opens in the same way as the first, except that France and Germany respond to the failure to ratify the Treaty by forming a “weak core,” an Élysée Treaty-type confederal core established outside the Community institutions and thus outside the enhanced cooperations framework; some members of the eurozone keep their distance, the initiative is perceived as a divisive action, in which the desire for domination is playing a part; this excessively small “core,” all of whose members continue to be members of the Union, tends to take the place of the Union in thesecountries’ list of priorities and this brings to an end the stability of the 27-member area. Reflecting this situation, regional areas start to be created in the Baltic, the Balkans, the Black Sea, and eastern Europe, joining together those who, with difficulty, manage to weave themselves a web of association agreements; this is this Union’s final volte-face).
4. Nucleation-fusion (this is the strategy of the “strong core” validated by broad consensus and patiently built following the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty among the member states that have ratified it; it is the strategy of peace and democracy, and of power at the service of stability and security, that is, of the higher interests of the states that are part of the federation, interests superior to the national interests; the federation inherits the rights and obligations of the European Union member states; its perimeter is great enough to justify the development of a “great-power” foreign policy and a defence policy at the service of it: within a decade, most of the countries that initially chose to remain outside it go on to ratify the constitution, even the British, having been urged, by Washington, to see reason and recognise the correct interpretation of their own interests).
[13] Karl Lamers and Wolfgang Schäuble, “Überlegungen zur europäische Politik”, CDU/CSU Fraktion des Deutschen Bundestag, Bonn, September 1, 1994. More recently, in the same vein, Karl Lamers “Die Fundamente tragen noch – Wie Europa seine Bürger wiedergewinnen kann”, Internationale Politik 60 (2005), 7.
[14] European Commission, Feasibility Study – Contribution to a Preliminary Draft Constitution of the European Union – Working document 04/12/2002. This valuable text, in many ways superior to the draft Constitution presented by European Convention, would merit more serious consideration in the event of an arrest of the current process. In particularit could be used, as a working paper, by citizens’ assemblies (in the framework of a new EPC) or by a conference of Parliaments (with a constituent mandate).
[15] Just to recall orders of magnitude: EU: 500,000,000; NAFTA: 400,000,000; China: 1,300,000,000; India: 1,000,000,000.
[16] Here I deliberately borrow the term “great-power European policy” used by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) think tank-cum-lobby, and by one of its founders, Joschka Fischer, by many tipped as a possible candidate for the role of High Representative. The ECFR is backed by George Soros’s Open Society Foundation. The general impression one gets, in my view, from the fora organised this year in these settings is that Europe cannot avoid a crisis, that it needs as crisis in order to gain an awareness of its de facto unity, and thus to sanction its unity in law. How can so many influential people reason in this way yet without inventing, at the same time, the strategy of influence and the political formulae that would save them having to rely on this crisis, instead allowing them, cool-headedly, to steer public opinion in the direction of unity? But let’s not be discouraged: I have read an analysis, written by Ulrike Guérot, ECFR representative in Berlin, of the threat to the balance of the institutions that the independence of Kosovo poses, and the example it sets for other stateless nations and other powerful regions. It in any case emerges as an indication in favour of the direct participation of the territories in a future constituent process.
[17] Jürgen Habermas, “Why Europe needs a Constitution”, New Left Review 11, September-October 2001,
[18] One eurofederalist who expresses this view is Tzvetan Todorov, Le Nouveau Désordre mondial: Réflexions d’un Européen, Paris, Robert Laffont, 2003.
[19] “…a federal order, which, albeit allowing each state to develop its own national life in the manner most suited to the degree and the peculiarities of its civilisation, removes from the sovereignty of all the associated states the means of imposing their own selfish particularisms, creates and administers a body of international laws to which all must adhere equally” (Altiero Spinelli and Ernesto Rossi, Problemi della Federazione europea, Edizioni del Movimento Italiano per la Federazione europea, 1944).
[20] The idea of the conspiracy is still very much alive in France’s collective memory, in the Jacobinic left, where the conspiracy is necessarily Girondist, and thus federalist; and in the forces of reaction, where it is Judeo-Masonic, and thus cosmopolitan.
[21] When I say that sovereignties are intact, I am of course referring to formal sovereignties, which remain absolute. Other types of sovereignty, material (which reflects competences, when these are exercised in a community or federal manner) or real (which, for a state, ends where another more powerful state’s will for power has led it to extend its own) are another question altogether: there are always de facto limitations on sovereignty. Just like the free trade of Classical economists, absolute sovereignty is a myth. In the federal state, it is the constitution that places restrictions, very real ones, on sovereignty.
[22] My own preference is for dual federalism, even though German and Austrian style cooperative federalism is very important in Europe. It seems to me best to avoid a drift either towards an administrative fusion of the federated states and the federal state, or towards excessive centralisation. Dual federalism is criticised for allowing a less consensus-based mode of operation. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that it reduces to its simplest expression the field in which the consensus between the federated states should become established. In this regard, it may be helpful to read: Tanja A. Börzel and Thomas Risse, “Who is Afraid of a European Federation? How to Constitutionalise a Multi-Level Governance System”, A contribution to the Jean Monnet Working Paper No.7/00, Symposium: Responses to Joschka Fischer, available at:
[23] Swedish prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt’s address to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Tuesday, February 19, Europe n. 9605.
[24] As Missiroli says, the framework of the new Treaty offers “opportunities”, if one can show some imagination. But the fact remains that “enhanced cooperations” will be unworkable, as explained by Philippe de Schoutheete, leader of the joint study by the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), the Institut Royal des Relations Internationales (Egmont) and the European Policy Centre (EPC), entitled “The Treaty of Lisbon: Implementing the Institutional Innovations”. The new Treaty contains new rules, but the modalities of their application risk discouraging these “cooperations”. All the member states, even those that will have rejected them, will be involved in the work they do and the European Parliament will have a say on their creation and their decisions. An enhanced cooperation made up of a majority of the member states would be able to overcome these difficulties, but what about when only a minority take part? The MEPs of the non-participating states would be in a majority and could oppose it. As a result, the countries involved would tend to set up simple intergovernmental cooperations, outside the framework of Community rules, which means outside any form of democratic control, with the clear risks of paralysis and failure that this implies.
[25] The idea of the federator, like that of open membership, was implicit in the Fouchet I Plan, the text of which can be accessed at European Navigator:
The idea of a continental pact that declared the indissolubility of the union among those member states of the EU determined to adopt a common foreign and defence policy and to pool their public means in the fields of science, higher education and research, in the past incomprehensibly rejected, would today serve to discriminate (in a manner more definitive than declaration 52 on the “symbols” of the Union annexed tothe Lisbon Treaty) between those that accept the Union’s political vocation and those that (for now) reject it. It is within the boundaries of this pact that the constitutional question, and thus the question of the state, could once more be raised, through the convening of an assembly with an appropriate mandate.
[26] Declaration 52 on the “symbols” of the Union outlines boundaries. What are these symbols if not the symbols of a state in the making?


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