The future of Europe: a political discussion of prospects of the European Union integration project

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Author: Andrey Medushevsky

DOI: 10.21128/1812-7126-2021-5-15-41

Keywords: communitarianism, confederation, cosmopolitism, European constitution, European Union, federation, founding agreements, integration (disintegration) process in EU, legitimacy, sovereignty

Abstract

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).

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