Losing to the European Union: A Review of Yanis Varoufakis' Book "Adults in the Room"

Varoufakis gives a detailed account of a saga that gripped international public opinion two years ago, propelled him to international stardom and ended in economic and social disaster for the Greeks. The book is readable and interesting, even if it is full of the author’s familiar hyperbolic statements. It will be of value to anyone with an interest the Eurozone crisis, and especially to British readers who are concerned about Brexit. The parallels between Varoufakis’ ideologically motivated clash with the EU and the British government’s similarly confrontational attitude with the EU are too obvious to miss. 

Continue Reading →

Summer of Love: Karlsruhe Refers the QE Case to Luxembourg

It seems that the BVerfG has learned a lesson. Yesterday’s referral about the the European Central Bank’s policy of Quantitative Easing (QE) sets a completely different tone. It reads like a modest and balanced plea for judicial dialogue, rather than an indictment. Fifty years after the original event, a new Summer of Love seems to thrive between the highest judicial bodies. It shows no traces of the aplomb with which Karlsruhe presented its stance to Luxembourg three years ago.

Continue Reading →

The Ljubljana Initiative for Re-Launching the European Integration

It is a sign of unconventional times when earnest people wish you a less exciting year 2017 compared to the one that has just, luckily, passed. Starting a new year, a less exciting one then, is an opportunity for reckoning about the past and for charting the plans for the future. For those who care about the project of European integration, these are no easy moments. By looking back we are reminded about the chain of crises that has been strangling the Union. By looking forward we cannot help ourselves but to wring hands at what is yet to follow. It is high time that this self-destructive European (indeed Western) narrative and, unfortunately, praxis were put to a halt. It is high time to present a positive alternative to the present status quo and to the populist decay. It is high time to re-launch the process of European integration.

Continue Reading →

After the Italian Referendum

So much was at stake for Italy, its political class and its economy, and for the European Union (EU) and its member states in the country’s failed referendum on constitutional reform. In the EU, Germany is a particularly sensitive case. The relations between Germany and Italy are a focal point in Europe. They used to be in an asymmetric, albeit comforting, equilibrium.

Continue Reading →

The End of the Eurocrats’ Dream

The premise of this timely and important book is that the Euro crisis has placed the EU in an existential predicament that cannot be resolved in the usual fashion of yet more of the same. Though there is surprisingly little by way of a sketch of what might have been the Eurocrats’ dream, the reader is left in no doubt that we are currently living through what might best be termed the Eurocrats’ nightmare – a form of governance that falls far short of the current challenges confronting the EU, and is indeed partly promotive of them.

Continue Reading →

The End of the European Union as We Know It

The European Union is facing a political crisis unprecedented in its 59-year history. This club of democratic countries established primarily to promote peace and prosperity in post-war Europe is facing a nationalist and populist surge that threatens the democratic principles at the very heart of the EU. Capitalizing on the European sovereign debt crisis; backlash against refugees streaming in from the Middle East, Brexit and public angst over the growing terror threat, previously fringe political parties are growing with alarming speed.

Continue Reading →

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?

Continue Reading →

Governing at a distance:  democratic responsibility and social solidarity in the Eurozone

As stated in its preface, this impressive collection of essays has the ambitious aim of launching a “fundamental debate” about European integration in the wake of the crisis and, in particular, the institutional reforms and policy choices made since 2008. The volume’s title already contains the basic diagnosis. European integration has fallen prey to a technocratic project – a dystopian dream which has corroded the EU’s constitutional integrity, its legitimation basis, its very point and purpose. This dream has to end, or better yet be brought to an end through an effective, if laborious, intellectual and political work. This is the basic message of the volume, shared by all its contributors.

Continue Reading →

After the Eurocrats' Dream, the Contingence of the History

The Eurocrats’ dream was the stealth Europe. The Monnet method of bureaucratic integration has been mechanical and furtive, dominated by necessity. The principal leaders of integration, on the right and the left, have been driven by a crude determinism that presumed that economic development would inevitably lead to desired institutional improvements. The hidden hand of functional imperatives has been more important than reflection and choices, as if integration could be carried out without the need to make express decisions of the kind that are contained in constitutional moments.

Continue Reading →

What comes after ,Ever Closer Union'?  From Teleology and the ‘Managerial Constitution’ to Democracy

The process of European integration was from the outset marked by an integrationist teleology as formally stated in the objective of “ever closer union among the peoples of Europe” in the preamble of the Treaty of Rome. The core message of The End of the Eurocrats’ Dream is that this integrationist teleology has come to an end.

Continue Reading →