Nosemonkey's EUtopia

In search of a European identity

“The EU constitution expresses the will of a phantom European public”

A quicky link to an interesting Spiked article from a few days ago, Euro-elites desperately seeking demos, which follows on nicely from Spain’s low voter turnout in last weekend’s referendum and my latest moan about the state of the debate. Some highlights:

The principal danger for the EU in the constitution referendums is not a ‘no’ vote, though this may be a problem in the UK. It is that too few people vote. For a constitution intended to forge a sense of common identity and belonging, disinterest would be even worse than rejection…

The right has attacked the constitution as eviscerating national parliaments, and paving the way towards a Brussels-based super-state… But the strength of this argument comes less from the public’s passionate euro-scepticism, than from a more generalised disenchantment with politics…

Meanwhile the left argues that the constitution goes too far in consolidating the neo-liberal economic model underpinning the EU’s Single Market…

Both critiques serve only to deepen public cynicism. The idea of a Brussels super-state panders to people’s sense of disempowerment – the invocation of a Trojan horse can only lead to a ‘don’t be duped!’ rallying cry. This is conspiracy theory masking as critique, with the same effect on public cynicism as the ‘no war for oil’ claim made over Iraq. Perpetuating this grubby vision of politics driven by private interests can only encourage a further withdrawal from politics.

The EU Constitution should instead be understood for what it is: an attempt to infuse the EU, and the whole project of European integration, with a degree of popular support…

The difficulty lies in the fact that, regardless of the wishes of Eurocrats and the fears of euro-sceptics, the EU is not a state. The state today must be democratic, and democracy is only possible with popular sovereignty. Yet there is no European demos, no European constituent political power.

There are some good points in there – no matter what opinion you may have of the thing.

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