The European construction has always evolved through crisis and this is probably due to its ambitious project and nature. However, it worked successfully until today because it has been occurring through a step by step process, to quote the Schuman Declaration. This neo-functionalist method made possible the transformation of the European construction from a utopia to a concrete reality. It has thus played an indispensable and very positive role in the elaboration of what is now called the European Union. In the meanwhile, such a method which implies to be patient is frustrating for federalists and for all those who look forward to seeing a strong European polity emerging which would rely on a European demos and a real European political arena. The present situation of the EU is also irritating for them as it is the first economic power of the world but doesn't have the political voice corresponding to this economic weight in the international politics except for commercial negotiations.
[...] TRANSTION It is crystal clear that the ECT was not always at the basis of the French popular discontent but, instead, EU-linked issues in general such as the fear that Turkey may integrate the EU, the existence of a latent “identity crisis”, the feeling that the EU doesn't protect its citizens against the negative effects of economic liberalism and pressurizes the French welfare system, the thinking that all the difficult reforms France had undertaken in the recent years were due to European laws, the fear that eastern workers could come massively to France and would push down the wages, etcetera. [...]
[...] In Defence of the Democratic Deficit Moravcsik Journal of Common market studies, p How to Democratize the EU and Why Bother?, Ob. Cit., p.2. How to Democratize the EU and Why Bother?, Ob. Cit., p.2. Constitutional Change in the EU: From Uniformity to Flexibility?, Burca and Scott, Hart Publishing, Oxford in “Flexibility and Models of Governance for the by Philippart and Sie Dhian Ho, p Governing in Europe, Effective and Democratic?, Scharpf, Oxford University Press Constitutional Change in the EU: From Uniformity to Flexibility?, Ob. [...]
[...] For many of the opponents to the strengthening of the European political integration, the Treaty of Maastricht is an act of treason of national sovereignty and the “democratic deficit” of the European Union is also, in their mind, a deficit of “legitimacy”. Those two points of views are present in the French political spectrum well as in all EU member states—, and surpass the traditional cleavages of the political system. However, these strong divergences of views don't lead to a radical change of the way the French political system is organized toward national and local elections. [...]
[...] The French and the Dutch have to be taken into account by the European political leaders as it seems patent that referenda in countries that approved the ECT by parliamentary means may have face the same popular reject if they had held a referendum. It is thus interesting and useful to identify the reasons and the arguments which pushed a majority of Dutch and French citizens to reject the ECT. The following part will analyze the reasons why the French citizens and a minority of its political leaders decided to vote against the ECT. [...]
[...] The enlargement of the EU from 15 to 27 members in the recent years, and the perspective of new ones, can be seen as contradictory with the necessity of a stronger political will and consensus to further the European construction. The enlargement undoubtedly increased the “potential sources of ‘paralyzing' diversity” and of “non-negotiable conflicts”. As a response to this concern, some scholars and political leaders whose aims are to conciliate enlargement with integration development of intense and diversified economic, social or political patterns of interaction among previously autonomous units”- developed the idea of “flexible solutions”. [...]
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