The Common Sense of European Integration
Title: The Common Sense of European Integration
Author: MAJONE, Giandomenico
Publisher: Routledge Journals, Taylor & Francis Ltd
Citation: Journal of European Public Policy, 2006, 13, 5, 607-626
The rejection of the Constitutional Treaty and the various events following the negative referenda provide an excellent occasion for reconsidering the real meaning of European integration. Paradoxically, the integration process is often praised for its clumsy and ultimately unsuccessful attempts to mimic the nation state, while its truly important contribution to European civilization - the establishment of a supranational constitutional order - is belittled or even ignored. An example of this distorted vision is the debate on the so-called democratic deficit - a condition which could be easily corrected if a majority of Europeans supported a supranational federal state. Since it is obvious that no such majority exists, now or in the foreseeable future, the 'democratic deficit', however defined, is the price we pay for wishing to integrate our national economies while preserving the core of national sovereignty. The current crisis is methodological rather than systemic: it amounts to a rejection of the stealthy approach to European integration - cryptofederalism - which has entailed the triumph of process over outcome. The legitimacy problem of the EU can be solved by limiting, rather than continuously expanding, the competences of the supranational institutions. The institutional system established by the founding fathers was not designed for effective policy-making, but largely to pursue objectives of negative integration.
Subject: community method; constitutional referenda; cryptofederalism; democratic deficit; harmonization and race to the bottom; legitimacy standards; positive and negative integration; supranational constitutionalism
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