Democratizing the Euro Area without the European Parliament: Benoît Hamon’s “T-Dem”

On the 10th March, the official candidate of the Socialist Party for the French presidential elections, Benoît Hamon, outlined his programme for the European Union. This programme, whilst being against austerity and in favour of more flexibility as regards EU requirements in terms of public budgets and public debts, comes with a treaty proposal, the draft treaty on the democratization of the governance of the euro area (dubbed « T-Dem »). This treaty, which was prepared by the candidate together with the superstar economist Thomas Piketty (who has joined his team) is supposed to bring more democracy to the governance of the Euro area. However noble (and necessary) this ambitious idea might seem, the way this draft treaty has been engineered raises not only political but also legal questions.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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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.

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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.

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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.

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Putting Europe back on its feet – A timely wake-up call

Are „Eurocrats“ to blame for the bad shape of Europe? First of all, one has to ask whether „Eurocrat“ is a meaningful term at all. Obviously one can find lots of examples in the European law and politics that demonstrate a kind of hubris and at the same time a complete failure to accomplish the goals of the „European Project“ – one needs to mention only the grand „Lisbon“ prospect of technological modernisation.

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The End of the Eurocrats’ Dream in Endless Europe

One person’s dream is another person’s nightmare. This oneiric truth indicates the relative meaning of dreams, yet it also invites a wake-up call. The End of the Eurocrats’ Dream volume edited by Damian Chalmers, Markus Jachtenfuchs and Christian Joerges is such a wake-up call warning fellow academics, European politicians and the general public that what used to be presented by many advocates and agents of European integration as a wonderful dream is now often experienced as a nightmare with potentially disastrous effects for European and national politics in all countries of the EU.

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