Sunday, July 8, 2012

Europe Needs a Legitimacy Compact

by Pascal Lamy

New York Times

July 8, 2012

Whenever I travel around the globe these days I am asked how is it that Greece, a tiny economy, can have such a huge impact on Europe as a whole?

It is the lack of public confidence in the European project itself that is the problem. Citizens and markets have suddenly discovered that Europe can move backward, that integration can turn into disintegration and that the European edifice is not as strong as we thought.

How did this happen? Economic and political integration in Europe are built on a fine balance of three elements: discipline, solidarity and legitimacy. Economic integration presupposes common disciplines to regulate economic activity and create trust. But because it increases competitiveness, it also requires solidarity. Discipline and solidarity can only be held together in a legitimacy space; that is, if citizens share a feeling of belonging. Political integration is about defining effective common institutions capable of creating this feeling.


by Schot in De Volkskrant (Amsterdam)

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