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"End of Europe", Renaud Dehousse (2005)

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  1. Introduction
  2. The reasons for the Irish "no"
    1. The context of the referendum
    2. The reasons for the rejection
  3. The ways out of the crisis
    1. How did the crisis happen?
    2. What to do now?

Professor at the Institute of Political Studies in Paris, Renaud Dehousse, directs the European Center of Political Sciences and provides parallel functions as Director of Studies at the "Notre Europe" group of study and research. After studying law at the University of Liege and the European University Institute in Florence, he taught at the European University Institute and the University of Pisa. He was also Visiting Professor at the University of Michigan and the University of Florence. He also performed consulting activities with various departments of the European Commission. His research has focused on comparative federalism and the institutional development of the European Union. His most recent work related to the transformation of governance at European level, particularly in bureaucratic structures (committees, European agencies), and the role of the Court of Justice in the European political system.

"And now what will happen to Europe?"

In a very refreshing essay, in contrast to the cynicism of his somewhat provocative title, Renaud Dehousse based his essay on the "trauma" of May 29, 2005, the date that marks the rejection of the so-called "Draft Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe" and offers a relatively innovative analysis of how this episode affects the process of European integration.
Thus, far from being simply a fatalistic and hollow interpretation and at least the usual rejection of the European Constitution draft, this setback would have inevitably led to a sluggish Europe, the author chooses to exploit this non-event throughout European history, to approach it in terms of opportunity.

Although predictable, the shock caused by the successive French and Dutch refusal to ratify the famous treaty is an opportunity to overhaul the functioning of the European machinery, strengths, weaknesses, increasing expectations that 'it feeds with respect to European citizens clearly more eager to participate in decision making.

Therefore, starting from this rejection, the author took the opportunity of a retrospective analysis of causes logically associated with this event. Also this test is innovative in that the author goes to glean the reasons for the refusal much further than most observers, including the very premises of European integration. And this while explaining, in the light of an analysis relatively thin, that the rejection of the draft constitution, far from being totally unexpected, was instead largely predictable, the result of a logical extension of European integration and its choice of governance.

And if indeed the discussion that followed the rejection of the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe by the French have largely undermined the acquis communautaire and relayed a deep sense of "everyone-for-itself" is not true. No, the end of Europe is not imminent and the rejection of the draft constitution is not the destroyer, prophecy of pre-figuration. Europe can expect a bright future if it can cope with the demands of democracy and transparency of its peoples and the leaders deliver on definitely promises and institutional reforms. Institutional issues are secondary to the Europeans, any institutional change could hardly be a source of legitimacy in order.

Tags: Renaud Dehousse, Constitution for Europe, European integration

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