POSTS BY Floris de Witte

The Future of the EU between Independence and Interdependence

Almost all contributions to the collection ‘The End of Eurocrats’ Dream’ touch upon a tension that has been implicit in the integration process from the very start, but has only explicitly manifested itself during the Euro-crisis: the tension between independence and interdependence. This tension is also evident in the refugee crisis, and in (the aftermath of) Brexit: how can we at once accept Member State autonomy (in fiscal policy, border control or deciding on the conditions for EU membership) while at the same time sustaining collective commitments towards, say, a monetary union, Schengen or free movement?

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Europe Does Need a Constitution. But Of What Kind?

Matej Avbelj’s contribution ‘Now Europe Needs a Constitution’ is surely right in its diagnosis that constitutionalism must play a role in the re-generation of the EU. The gulf between the EU’s leaders and its population, and between distinct groups of EU states, is wider than it has ever been. If constitutionalism is an act of ‘putting things in common’ in a spirit of open dialogue, of deciding on the crucial question about the type of society we want to live in, such a discussion about Europe’s future is sorely needed. The key question, however, is not whether Europe needs a Constitution but what kind of Constitution the EU should build. Many commentators suggest that the lesson to be learned from the failed constitutional project in the early 2000s is that it was too ambitious: too laden with constitutional symbolism and state-paradigms. Perhaps, we argue, the failed constitutional project was not ambitious enough: it made no attempt to break with the models of the previous EU Treaties and in doing so, to capture the political imagination of Europe’s citizenry.

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Cameron’s EU reforms: political feasibility and legal implications

David Cameron, the UK’s Prime Minister, has set out his objectives for EU reforms in a speech at Chatham House on 10 November 2015 – objectives which he later clarified in a letter to the President of the European Council Donald Tusk. Cameron’s demands fall in four categories – i) safeguarding Britain’s position in the Union’s ‘variable geometry’; ii) strengthening the competitiveness of the Union’s internal market; iii) bolstering the democratic authority of the EU by strengthening the role of national parliaments in the EU’s decision-making process; and iv) ensure changes to the principles of free movement and equal treatment of Union citizens in access to welfare systems in the host state. The political feasibility and legal implications of these objectives differ quite significantly. More crucially, each of the stated objectives can be interpreted and implemented in different ways. Generally, it seems, Cameron’s success seems to depend on presenting reforms that at the same time address British domestic issues as well as strengthen the EU’s functioning.

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Cameron’s EU reforms: political feasibility and legal implications

David Cameron, the UK’s Prime Minister, has set out his objectives for EU reforms in a speech at Chatham House on 10 November 2015 – objectives which he later clarified in a letter to the President of the European Council Donald Tusk. Cameron’s demands fall in four categories – i) safeguarding Britain’s position in the Union’s ‘variable geometry’; ii) strengthening the competitiveness of the Union’s internal market; iii) bolstering the democratic authority of the EU by strengthening the role of national parliaments in the EU’s decision-making process; and iv) ensure changes to the principles of free movement and equal treatment of Union citizens in access to welfare systems in the host state. The political feasibility and legal implications of these objectives differ quite significantly. More crucially, each of the stated objectives can be interpreted and implemented in different ways. Generally, it seems, Cameron’s success seems to depend on presenting reforms that at the same time address British domestic issues as well as strengthen the EU’s functioning.

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Less Constraint of Popular Democracy, More Empowerment of Citizens

While I share Müller’s concern about the situation in Hungary and Romania, and agree that a ‘Copenhagen Commission’ might be a good addition to safeguard the basic democratic values in the EU, I differ significantly in the assessment of the nature of the solution. Below, I will first discuss this difference in approach, which focuses […]

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Ende der Flitterwochen: Europa jenseits des Marktes

Von MORITZ HARTMANN und FLORIS DE WITTE Sisyphos ist ein Gefangener der Unvermeidbarkeit: Der tragische Held der griechischen Mythologie muss für immer einen Felsbrocken den Hang hinaufrollen, auch wenn der Fels kurz vor dem Gipfel unaufhaltsam wieder hinunterrollt. Die Sisyphos’sche Perspektive der Vergeblichkeit erinnert an das Europa von heute: Europa ist ein Gefangener der Zirkularität […]

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