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    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    If Europe is to develop a story based on common goals and values like those proposed by Garton Ash - freedom, peace, law, prosperity, diversity and solidarity - it needs a clear vision of what European democracy entails. The answer to this question will define the means chosen to achieve these goals. It might even constitute a goal in its own right. Yet, fifty years into the process of European integration, EU policy-making is attested to suffer from a ‘democratic deficit’: while elections for the European Parliament are dismissed by a majority of EU citizens as either a welcome opportunity to punish their national governments or too unimportant to merit the effort of voting, national parliaments still struggle to influence EU-made legislation negotiated by governments in the Council of Ministers.

    An important prerequisite for the establishment of a democracy, literally the rule by the people (‘demos’), is the existence of a single people connected to each other by a common identity. As of today, the EU clearly lacks such a common identity – something to which the efforts to develop a common story testify. But, if citizens should be represented in the Parliament, can there be a European democracy before there is a European ‘demos’?
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    In my view, there can be no pan-European democracy before there is a European "demos". The question then arises as to how a European demos would be created. It seems to me that the creation of a European demos would require a number of practical measures and institutions (e.g. the use of a certain common language in parallel with national languages, the appearance of pan-European media, culture, entertainment, personalities, political parties and public discourse) which - based on discussions on this forum - seems to be viewed with considerable hostility by many Europeans and therefore are unlikely to be introduced on a voluntary basis. Therefore, I am sceptical that we will live to see a European demos anytime soon, which makes me sceptical of the prospects for political integration within the EU or even for the maintenance of today's level of political integration.

    The above does not mean that shrewd political leaders should feel the need to display hysterical arguments against the proposed EU constitution - the constitution is not likely to significantly harm or benefit any single member state so why should a few member states make such a big stink about it if most states are in favor or don't care.