The deeper euro-crisis or : The collapse of the EU political culture of total optimism
Title: The deeper euro-crisis or : The collapse of the EU political culture of total optimism
Author: MAJONE, Giandomenico
Series/Number: EUI LAW; 2015/10
Although several dimensions of the present euro-crisis have been analysed by students of European integration, the impact of the crisis on the political culture of EU leaders has been largely overlooked. The political culture of a nation, a social class or, in case of the EU, an elite consists of a system of beliefs, symbols, and values – the latter including conceptions of purpose – that defines the situation in which political action takes place. One of the roots of the traditional political culture of EU leaders was the Monnet strategy of fait accompli, which consisted in pushing ahead with integration without worrying about either public support or democratic legitimation. This approach was supported by the prevailing emphasis on the process of integration rather than on the concrete results of specific collective decisions. The most serious consequence of the political culture shared by most EU leaders was the tendency to disregard both feasibility constraints and the limits of collective action. Under the impact of the euro-crisis total optimism has been replaced by panic-driven austerity. The paper concludes by calling attention to the fact that there are various alternative approaches to regional (in particular, European) integration. One approach deserving particular attention in the present situation is the functional – rather than territorial – approach advocated by David Mitrany in the 1940s and by Ralph Dahrendorf in the 1970s.
Subject: Political cultures; Collective action; Feasibility constraints; Process vs. outcomes; Integration post-crisis
Type of Access: openAccess