Should the Union be ‘politicised’ ? Prospects and Risks
Title: Should the Union be ‘politicised’ ? Prospects and Risks
Author: BARTOLINI, Stefano
Citation: Simon HIX, Stefano BARTOLINI , Politics: The Right or the Wrong Sort of Medicine for the EU?
Series/Number: Notre Europe Policy Paper; 2006/19
External link: http://www.unizar.es/euroconstitucion/library/working%20papers/Hix,%20Bartolini%202006.pdf
- Politicisation of the EU is advocated arguing that an injection of ‘majoritarianism’ in its consensual processes will foster the development of partisan alignments in its main institutions, will make political mandates clearer, will help overcome institutional coordination, and will link citizens’ interests and preferences to the Union’s internal debates. - Politicisation must absolutely avoid spreading to ‘constitutional’ issues, which would create tensions that cannot be managed. It cannot simply be assumed or hoped that this will not happen. - European political parties do not seem to be strong and significant enough to be the gatekeepers of the politicisation process. - Political mandates for reform are hard to develop within the narrow limits of the predefined goals in the Treaty, and there are few guaranties that politicisation will be contained in this way. - Similar partisan alignments within the Council, Commission, and Parliament, if possible, would generate permanent and unstable divided government, given the different timing of formation and composition of these bodies. Problems of partisan coordination may add to those of inter-institutional coordination, rather than solve them. - The emerging pattern of left-right politicisation may link citizens’ interests and preferences to EU ‘politics’ only if the large pockets of anti-EU feelings and distrust among European citizens and sub-elites can be slowly converted and channelled into mildly different versions of the integration process. It is not certain that more left-right partisanship can achieve this. - Politicisation may, in any case, generate excessive hopes and expectations to be frustrated later and widen the gap between normative expectations and reality. - The EU is currently deprived of solid political structures (interest representation and parties) that can guarantee that politicisation will be channelled in order to avoid unmanageable tensions and conflicts. Politicisation may overwhelm these weak structures rather than strengthen them.
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