Available only in Russian
Author: Andrey Medushevsky
Keywords: communitarianism, confederation, cosmopolitism, European constitution, European Union, federation, founding agreements, integration (disintegration) process in EU, legitimacy, sovereignty
The European integration project as designed by its founders seventy years ago is experiencing difficulties in the current conditions of globalization, confronting challenges which were unpredictable beforehand. Many of these are of crucial character for the European Union, putting in question its constitutional organization, institutional structure, and political sustainability in the international balance of power. The list of most important issues includes ones like the yet incomplete character of the Union’s legal construction, which is balanced between supranational and national forms of regulation; the erosion of legitimacy of European institutions; the growing democracy deficits in transnational and national governance; the decline of solidarity in inter-governmental relations; and the falling level of accountability and decision-making mechanisms in Europe. The very natural response to these problems was a Pan-European discussion, stimulated by European elites after Brexit, on the future of the European project in order to frame existing opinions, provide a fresh start to “the European dream”, and possibly find appropriate solutions to legitimacy problems. An analysis of this ongoing discussion is the main subject of this article. This analysis involves such key issues as the future role of the EU founding agreements, as to keeping them or amending them in order to reconstruct the European constitutional settlement. It demonstrates the complex nature of the basic communitarian concept, in view of its various interpretations by different ideological trends such as cosmopolitism and confederation and federation movements. It explores the current agenda of institutional reforms involving parliamentarian and presidential strategies and reviews proposed solutions of the European leadership problem. The conclusion of the article makes it clear that the European Union is confronted today with the most dramatic challenge in its entire history. It consists in the necessity of making a decisive choice between two polar options – to preserve an amorphous conglomerate of states or to establish a new federal state. This must be done in a rather short period in order to avoid falling apart and to become a full-fledged and independent global political player.
About the author: Andrey Medushevsky – Doctor of Sciences (Philosophy), Tenured Professor, Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia.
Citation: Medushevsky A. (2021) Budushchee Evropy: politicheskaya diskussiya o perspektivakh integratsionnogo proekta ES [The future of Europe: a political discussion of prospects of the European Union integration project]. Sravnitel'noe konstitutsionnoe obozrenie, vol. 30, no. 5, pp. 15–41. (In Russian).
(2001) The Future of the European Union: Interview with Laurent Fabius. Challenge, vol.44, no.2, pp.5–13.
Andreev S.A. (2007) The EU Crisis of the Legitimacy Revisited: Concepts, Causes, and Possible Consequences for the European Polities and Citizens. Political Perspectives, vol.7, no.2, pp.1–22.
Best H., Lenguel G., Verzichelli L. (eds.) (2012) The Europe of Elites: A Study into the Europeanness of Europe’s Political and Economic Elites, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Bignami F. (ed.) (2020) EU Law in Populist Times: Crisis and Prospects, Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press.
Bradford A. (2020) The Brussels Effect: How the European Union Rules the World, Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press.
Castells M., Bouin O., Caraca J., Cardoso G., Thompson J. (eds.) (2017) Europe’s Crises, Cambridge; Malden, MA: Polity Press.
Cengiz I.F. (2017) European Constitutionalism and Its Future after Brexit! Inonu University Law Review, vol.8, no.2, pp.551–571.
Champeau S., Closa C., Innerarity D., Poiares Pessoa Maduro L.M. (eds.) (2014) The Future of Europe: Democracy, Legitimacy and Justice after the Euro Crisis, London; New York: Rowman & Littlefield International.
Chopin T. (2016) Euro Zone, Legitimacy and Democracy: How Do We Solve the European Democratic Problem? 4 April. Available at: https://www.robert-schuman.eu/en/european-issues/0387-euro-zone-legitimacy-and-democracy-how-do-we-solve-the-european-democratic-problem (accessed: 25.10.2021).
Cotta M., Isernia P. (eds.) (2020) The EU through Multiple Crises: Representation and Cohesion Dilemmas for a “sui generis” Polity, London: Routledge.
Dawson M., de Witte F. (2016) From Balance to Conflict: A New Constitution for the EU. European Law Journal, vol.22, no.2, pp.204–224.
De Jongh M., Theuns T. (2017) Democratic Legitimacy, Desirability, and Deficit in EU Governance. Journal of Contemporary European Research, vol.13, no.3, pp.1283–1300.
De Zwaan J.W. (2016) The Future of the European Union Cooperation. EU Cooperation as a Process, the Relevance of the Rule of Law and Suggestions for the Future. Elite Law Journal, no.2, pp.121–134.
Dinan D., Nugent N., Paterson W.E. (2017) The European Union in Crisis, London: Macmillan Education: Palgrave.
Eatwell R., Goodwin M. (2018) National Populism: The Revolt against Liberal Democracy, London: Pelican Books.
Fossum J.E., Menéndez A.J. (eds.) (2014) The European Union in Crisis or the European Union as Crisis? Oslo: Centre for European Studies University of Oslo. Available at: https://www.sv.uio.no/arena/english/research/publications/arena-reports/2014/report-2-14.pdf (accessed: 25.10.2021).
Giusto H. (ed.) (2013) Democratic Legitimacy and Political Leadership in the European Union: Towards the 2014 European Elections, Bruxelles: Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.
Grimmel A. (ed.) (2019) The Crisis of the European Union: Challenges, Analysis, Solutions, London: New York: Routledge.
Günar A., Darici B. (eds.) (2020) Future of the European Union Integration: A Failure or a Success? Future Expectations, Berlin: Peter Lang.
Habermas J. (2012) The Crisis of the European Union in the Light of International Law. The European Journal of International Law, vol.23, no.2, pp.335–348.
Halmai G. (2018) The Application of European Constitutional Values in EU Member States. The Case of the Fundamental Law in Hungary. European Journal of Law Reform, vol.20, no.2–3, pp.10–34.
Kashkin S.I. (ed.) (2011) Evropeyskiy Soyuz: Osnovopolagayushchie akty v redaktsii Lissabonskogo dogovora [European Union: Founding Acts as amended by the Lisbon Treaty], Moscow: Infra-M. (In Russian).
Kashkin S.I. (ed.) (2005) Konstitutsiya Evropeyskogo Soyuza: Dogovor, ustanavlivayushchiy konstitutsiyu dlya Evropy [The Constitution of the European Union: A Treaty Establishing a Constitution for Europe], Moscow: Infra-M. (In Russian).
Kovler A.I. (2016) Evropeiskaya integratsiya: federalistskiy proekt (istoriko-pravovoy ocherk) [European Integration: Federalist Project (Historical and Legal Essay)], Moscow: Statut. (In Russian).
Kenealy D., Peterson J., Corbett R. (eds.) (2018) The European Union: How Does It Work? Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Kennett P., Lendvai-Bainton N. (eds.) (2017) Handbook of European Social Policy, Cheltenham; Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar Publishing.
Laursen F. (ed.) (2008) The Rise and Fall of the EU Constitutional Treaty, Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers.
Leonard M. (2011) Why Europe Will Run the 21st Century, London; New York: Forth Estate.
Martinico G. (2014) Crisis and Constitutional Mutations: A Review Article. Revista de Estudios Politicos, no.165, pp.247–280.
Matthiis M. (2016) Lessons and Learnings from a Decade of EU Cries. Journal of European Public Policy, vol.27, no.8, pp.1127–1136.
McCormic J. (2020) Understanding the European Union: A Concise Introduction, London: Red Global Press.
Menéndez A.J. (2013) The Existential Crisis of the European Union. German Law Journal, vol.14, no.5, pp.453–526.
Norris P., Inglehart R. (2018) Cultural Backlash: Trump, Brexit, and Authoritarian Populism, Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press.
Nuhanović A., Pašić J. (2019) The Crisis (of Idea) of European Union: Constitutions and Possibilities to Overcome. International Business Research, vol.12, no.8, pp.53–60.
Olsen J., McCormick J. (2018) The European Union: Politics and Policies, London; New York: Routledge.
Parry Ph. (2016) The Democratic Deficit in the EU. North East Law Review, vol.4, pp.97–101.
Pernice I. (2009) The Treaty of Lisbon: Multilevel Constitutionalism in Action. Columbia Journal of European Law, vol.15, no.3, pp.349–407.
Sternberg C. (2016) Public Opinion in the EU Institutions’ Discourses on EU Legitimacy from the Beginning of Integration to Today. Politique Europeenne, vol.54, no.4, pp.24–56.
Stolte C., Buruma T., Runhardt R., Smits F. (eds.) (2008) The Future of the European Union, Leiden: Sidestone Press.
Van Middlaar L. (2016) The Return of Politics — the European Union After the Crisis in the Eurozone and Ukraine. Journal of Common Market Studies, vol.54, no.3, pp.495–507.
Von Bogdandi A., Sonnevend P. (eds.) (2015) Constitutional Crisis in the European Constitutional Area: Theory, Law and Politics in Hungary and Romania, Oxford; Portland, OR: Hart Publishing.
Zielonka J. (2014) Is the EU Doomed? Cambridge: Polity Press.