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Has European integration contributed to save or to undermine the nation state?

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  1. Introduction.
  2. Diminished number of decisions which are taken in the capitals of member states.
    1. The Maastricht treaty of 1993.
    2. Permissive principle for EU's action.
  3. EU: Still more intergovernmental than supranational.
  4. European integration: Continuous rescue of Nation states.
  5. Conclusion.
  6. Bibliography.

In 1882 Ernest Renan declared: ?a Nation is a soul, a spiritual principle. Two things, which, in truth, are really one, constitute this soul, this spiritual principle. One is in the past, the other in the present. One is the possession in common of a rich legacy of memories, the other is the present day consent, the desire to live together? to have the glory of the past in common, a shared will in the present, to have done great deeds together, and want to do more of them, are the essential conditions for the constitution of a people.? To be not only a Nation, but a real Nation State, people must possess a permanent population, defined territory, government and capacity to enter into relations with other states. The lives of Western Europeans have been molded by this concept of Nation State for almost two hundred years. The French constitution of 26th August 1789 declared in its third article ?Le principe de toute souveraineté réside essentiellement dans la Nation? (the principle of sovereignty essentially lies in Nation).

[...] The most powerful institutions are composed by representatives of member states whose aim is sometimes to defend their own households old European Nation States - rather than an ideal European family. If the parliament is elected directly since 1979, and could constitute the symbol of a real supranational organization, its powers are still so limited compared to the ones of the other institutions, that it is often given the nickname of ?Cinderella?[10]. For instance, the Parliament does not have a real possibility of initiating legislations, and shares all its competences with the powerful Commission. [...]


[...] That is to say that, even if a country has objectively a very important economic or political weight, it may not be able to take part in this powerful institution and its process of decision- making. Moreover, European integration has not only diminished States' competences, it has also tried to create a European consciousness, this ?soul and spiritual principle? defined by Renan as the condition for forming a Nation. Maastricht treaty created a European citizenship over and above national citizenship by making every citizen who is a national of a member State becoming a citizen of the union. This seems to be really threatening for the traditional Nation State. [...]

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