Sunday, July 1, 2012
The Crisis of the European Union in the Light of a Constitutionalization of International Law
European Journal of International Law
The crisis of the European Union showcases the asymmetry between transnational capacities for political action and social as well as economic forces unleashed at the transnational level. But recovering the regulatory power of politics by way of increased supranational organization frequently arouses fears about the fate of national democracy and of the democratic sovereign threatened to be dispossessed by executive powers operating independently at the global level. Against such political defeatism this contribution takes the example of the European Union to refute the underlying claim that a transnationalization of popular sovereignty cannot be achieved without lowering the level of democratic legitimation. It focuses on three components of every democratic polity – the association of free and equal legal persons, a bureaucratic organization for collective action, and civic solidarity as a medium of political integration – to argue that the new configuration they take at the European level, when compared with the context of the nation-state, does not in principle diminish the democratic legitimacy of the new transnational polity. The contribution continues to argue, however, that the sharing of sovereignty between the peoples and citizens of Europe needs to be better reflected in symmetry between Council and Parliament while political leadership and the media must contribute to a greater sense of civil solidarity.
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