According to many commentators and journalists, the European Union would be challenged by some crisis, each of them having different natures: for instance, European regions, whereas they could be a good complement for European governance, are increasingly perceived as a threat for the European administration, as the smallest scales of administration are trusted to have more legitimacy for citizens. At the time where big government offers some advantages, the EU has to face this pressure that the democratic election of the European Parliament, since 1979, did not entirely solve. As a consequence, the feeling of European citizenship is rather weak at the beginning of the twenty-first century, since national or even membership is much more concrete for many people. Considering this, the need of a real impulsion from the European authorities is certain: the recent democratic disapproval of the European Constitution by voters of France and Netherlands can be perceived as proofs of this far-distant Europe that is still unable to create a genuine and undisputed adhesion from 25 countries.
[...] For instance, the Basque Statute underlines some tax-rising privileges, while the Catalan Statute emphasizes considerable freedom in terms of education, culture and language. Thus, the various regional inspirations and feelings are taken into account at the highest level. In the case of “slow-route autonomous communities” (that is to say, regions which accession to autonomy was not so evident after the death of General Franco), communities are supposed to get limited self-governing powers, but still more than in a centralized state. [...]
[...] As a conclusion, we can say that the only fact to set the question of the creation of a European citizenship appears as a failure for Europe, since it has been existing for decades, and did not manage to create an unchallenged feeling of belonging. However, things are changing with new generations: The massive use of the Internet, students' exchange programs, professional mobility are factors that can enable “European citizenship” to increase. It is sure that the situation can not be worse as in the past. [...]
[...] This model is worth being compared with the European Union since these two identities are being challenged: The Spanish government was sharply challenged by the pressure of many communities that looked forward to put an end to the yoke of the centralist regime. And nowadays, European Union is also challenged, for some reasons previously explained. Moreover, Spain in the end of the seventies and European Union nowadays have in common that there is almost no other way except staying united : Spain in the late 70s would have been sharply weakened by territory cuttings, and Europe now would be threatened as well if a country entered in a period of contestation. However, a few differences are worth being pointed out. [...]
[...] As a result of this, it will be interesting to analyze these features and to highlight them in a European perspective: could this country, which entered the EU only twenty years ago, bring by its fundamental law a “democratic cornerstone” that would enable both massive citizenship adhesion and a “closer Europe” for citizens? We will try to answer this question by, at first, analyzing the Spanish constitution, its historical background, and its dispositions for rights and autonomous communities. Then, we will put this analysis in perspective with the situation faced by Brussels. [...]
[...] We can find some interesting democratic statements, such as the right to individual and collective petition, the right of union association (Article 22 and 29) and the right to strike (article 28). - The part of the Constitution which deals about social and economic rights can be perceived as extensions of rights listed before. Moreover we have to keep in mind that Constitution defines Spain as a “social and democratic State, subject to the rule of which gives legitimacy to such rights. [...]
Online readingwith our online reader
Content validatedby our reading committee