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My contribution to the “Reflection Group on the Future of Europe”

Writing in two paragraphs which are the main challenges for Europe is far from being an easy task. For sure there are many policy areas in which Europe should be able to give its contribution both internally (e.g. by increasing the solidarity and cooperation among the peoples of Europe), and internationally (e.g. by rising its profile with regards to the old and new powers).

However as any bright student, EU’s main challenge is not only to think to what it could do, but most likely to what it wants to do. The Lisbon Treaty even though could significantly improve the governability of the EU, it fails in giving Europeans a definition of what the European Project is. More importantly little effort has been put in drafting such definition in an open pan-European debate.

Since the early days of its existence the ECC has moved incrementally to new competences but while obtaining major results in a wide range of areas, it has failed in sharing them with its citizens. If it is true that what make democracies strong is their legitimacy, and that what makes democracies work is public participation, both cannot live without citizen’s awareness of a shared vision and of its past achievements. These are the seeds of individual engagement in the management of the res publica. In this sense EU’s effectiveness cannot escape from these dynamics. On the other hand Member States’ ability to achieve their promised goals locally are challenged by their limited capacity to influence global outcomes, which require additional legitimacy at global or regional level. The management of this vicious circle which is set to affect both citizens’ participation and the very same concept of democratic governance is without doubt the main challenge that the EU need to face in the coming years.


Background Information: the Reflection Group on the Future of Europe was established under the Conclusions of the European Council; its work started in December 2008 and it is due to complete its report by June 2010.

Background Information: the Reflection Group on the Future of Europe was established under the Conclusions of the European Council; its work started in December 2008 and it is due to complete its report by June 2010.


2 Responses to My contribution to the “Reflection Group on the Future of Europe”

  1. avatar James Rogers says:

    I largely agree, although I’d go even further: democracy cannot exist without a national demos. What is needed, above all else, is a sort of European nationalism. This civic nationalism will provide a vision, a sense of belief, for the European people to move forward together in a common and universal undertaking. Without this sense of belief, Europeans will face a sad future and the European Union may fail, as all past political unions have failed, when they cannot command the allegiances of the people they are supposed to protect, empower and represent.

  2. Thanks Roger for your comment!

    I agree with you. I have actually been arguing for a few years now that the EU has its own demos, but it is not fully expressed yet. It will get clearer with the coming generations and when Europeans will finally realize that the EU is not an option… but a necessity!

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