Thursday 26 June 2008

European Political Union

Instead of the outdated model, where national interests take the common good hostage, Stefan Collignon and Christian Paul suggest addressing the core problem of democracy by creating a European Political Union.

Their article ‘It’s democracy, stupid!’ (17 June 2008) proposes that the next European Parliament, elected in 2009, elaborates a Constitution for the European Political Union to set up a government for the administration of European common goods.

It would be a limited government, in charge of only those public goods that affect all European citizens together. This government, democratically elected by and accountable to the European Parliament, would mean that citizens obtain the right to choose policy directions when they elect their representatives.

The existing economic union would be maintained for member states not willing to participate in political deepening. The European Political Union would be a coalition of the willing.

The article can be found at:


Collignon and Paul assess the needs and set out their proposals in line with what this blog argues.

They want to make the next European Parliament into a constituent assembly. This is one way to achieve the package this blog has proposed: to combine the Lisbon Treaty with a pledge by the European Council to institute democratic legitimacy and accountability at the EU level, among a coalition of willing states.

Read and reflect.

Ralf Grahn


  1. This paper tries to suggest that democratic legitimacy can be bolted on to the current EU structure. It cannot.

    Also, the possible way to proceed - number 2 - is falsely argued.

    2. Enhanced cooperation between member states. Varying coalitions of willing governments may deepen integration, where others do not want to follow. This option may appeal to bureaucrats in European and national administrations, but it would further deepen the gap between pro-European élites and disenfranchised citizens. For intergovernmental cooperation excludes democratic participation in decision making.

    This is manifestly untrue. If elected governments take part in cooperation with other countries, and this is legitimized by the governments being elected or removed, such cooperation between nations is fully democratic.

    Democracy means the people having the right to say NO. If people can turf out governments that support international cooperation, and replace them with governments that do not, then that is democracy. Anything less is imposition.

    It is the right to reverse the process of cooperation that defines democracy.

    It is in the DNA of intergovernmental bureaucracies to prevent democratic accountability and legitimacy, which implies that their powers can be removed as well as awarded.

    NATO functions with varying levels of input dependent on the democratic wishes of its member states. International cooperation of all kinds should be no different. Voluntary.

  2. Tapestry,

    Think again. Separate national processes do not lead to EU level scrutiny and accountability. Neither does a vessel in 27 shards become a whole vessel.

    By the way, are you against a) your country belonging to the European Union, or b) the European Union as such?

    I think that the distinction is important, because the campaign to oppose would require a different focus.


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