What Europe needs now

What Europe needs now

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Jürgen Habermas’ interviewed (2007) on the 50th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome :

[W]ho should fuel European development, if not the governments?

The only way out I can see is a Europe-wide referendum. The governments – which control the process after all – have to recognize their own powerlessness and, this one time, “dare to use democracy.” They have to rise above themselves and face the political parties of which they themselves are composed with the necessity of engaging in an open, Europe-wide campaign, a struggle for each and every vote in favour of, or in opposition to, an expansion and deepening of the European Union.

As you have emphasized on many occasions, geopolitical developments demand a strong Europe, which could become a model for similar mergers into supranational powers on other continents. A just international economic system cannot come into being without such global players, you have argued, and in any case neither international security problems nor the challenge of climate change can be treated at the national level alone. In brief: given all the problems which cannot be dealt with nationally, is the model of the nation-state on the way out?

No, nation-states remain the most important players on the international stage. They also constitute irreplaceable components of international organisations. After all, the international community is organised in the form of “United Nations.” Who is to support and nourish the UN, and provide troops for humanitarian interventions, if not the nation-states? Who, if not the nation-states, will guarantee equal rights for all citizens? What must change – and has already done so in Europe – is the self-image of nation-states, which must learn to see themselves not so much as independent players but as members of a larger community, who feel bound to adhere to common norms. They must learn to pursue their own interests within international networks, more through clever diplomacy than through the threat of unilateral military force ()

Photo source: El País

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