New Paradigms for the European Parliament

Without strong leadership Europe’s right-wing movements will remain a disparate band at next year’s European Parliament elections. There is one man who knows this: Viktor Orbán. The real battle next year will not be centred on Potemkin-like Spitzenkandidaten, but will polarise around Emmanuel Macron and Viktor Orbán.

Continue Reading →

Transnational Partisanship vs Transnational Democracy

The European Parliament has called for he creation of a European cross-border constituency, a transnational list of candidates from across the continent. This idea, recently popularised by French president Emmanuel Macron, has been gutted by the European People’s Party, though – a move which could itself be seen as a powerful manifestation of the importance of transnational partisanship in the EU.

Continue Reading →

EU Leaders' Agenda: Who’s Afraid of Reforms?

Last Friday’s ‘informal’ meeting of the European Council was a key moment in what its President, Donald Tusk, proudly calls his Leaders’ Agenda. Tusk wanted the event to prove that the heads of government are in charge of the EU constitutive process, and to prevent either the European Parliament or the Commission from seizing the initiative. As such it misfired.

Continue Reading →

Der europäische Sisyphos: ein Kommentar zur Europa-Rede Emmanuel Macrons in der Sorbonne

Ob eine Rede von historischer Tragweite ist, lässt sich meist erst Jahre später im Rückblick und in Kenntnis des weiteren Verlaufs der Dinge bemessen. Das dürfte auch für die Grundsatzrede zur Zukunft der europäischen Integration gelten („Initiative pour l’Europe“), die zwei Tage nach der Wahl zum 19. Deutschen Bundestag  der französische Staatspräsident Emmanuel Macron an der Sorbonne gehalten hat. Daher werde ich die Rede vorläufig und vorsichtshalber lediglich als bemerkenswert bezeichnen.

Continue Reading →

Is the European Parliament Missing its Constitutional Moment?

Over the years, step by step, the European Parliament has won a share of real constitutional power. At times, Parliament has had a decisive influence on the constitutive development of the European Union. At other times, MEPs have found it just as difficult as the European Council has done to make constitutional sense of a Union which is an uneasy compromise between federal and confederal elements. If EU governance is congenitally weak it may be because its institutions are unable to manage the dichotomy between supranational and intergovernmental. Today, circumstances have thrown the European Parliament a golden opportunity to take a major step in the federal direction – but it looks as though MEPs are going to retreat again.

Continue Reading →