The Future of European Integration - Joschka Fischers European Federation

Term Paper (Advanced seminar), 2002
21 Pages, Grade: 1,0 (A)


Table of Content


1. Introduction
2. State of Affairs
3. The European State
3.1 The European Federation
3.1.1 The Theory
3.1.2 The Application
3.2 The European Government and Parliament
3.2.1 The Legislative Branch
3.2.2 The Executive Branch
3.3 The European Constitution
3.3.1 The Theory
3.3.2 The Application
3.3.3 The Principle of Subsidiarity

4. From Staatenverbund to European Federation
5. Constraints of the Federalisation of Europe
6. Conclusion


1. Introduction

Now, in January 2002, a visible step in European integration has been accomplished. With the introduction of the European €-currency about 296,8 millions citizen1 of the European Union will hold the new symbols of the unity of Europe’s peoples in their hands. What began with an attempt of reconciliation and co-operation via the ECSC in 1952 has now developed towards a so far unprecedented transfer of sovereign rights and competencies from nation-states to a supranational/intergovernmental organisation.

Helmut Kohl, former chancellor of Germany and one of the initiators of the European currency, ascertains that the process of integration thus became irreversible. Though currently limited to a number of Member States of the EU, the “European experiment” attained a new dimension. Spectators, - in the words of Kohl - passing the streets and places of Kraków, Prague or Budapest, may notice and experience there the European spirit as well. Hence, Europe shall not be limited in its today’s proportions. The historical and moral - as well as rational - obligation of the EU therefor has to be the accession of the Candidate Countries in the earliest possible occasion2.

This, however, implies the Union’s ability - and will - to cope with its own process of deepening and widening. During the IGC of Nice, European statesmen tried to negotiate a somehow reformed structure able to adopt an enlarged Union. Though not ratified yet, the Treaty of Nice will provide the future EU with means in the spirit of Maastricht and Amsterdam. Yet, Jacques Delors himself declared that the treaty establishing the Euro- pean Union would for sure not become a part of fine literature. Drafted by lawyers it is, according to Delors, hard to understand without a manual3. This makes the problems evi- dent, which the European idea is faced today. Though proclaimed to be a revolutionary step forward, the amendments of the Nice Treaty in effect do only barely “continue the process of creating an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe”4. During the discussion regarding the ratification in the French Parliament Giscard d’Estaing contested his government’s efforts to defend the results of the French Presi- dency while simultaneously seeking refuge in a future IGC, when the ability to reform the enlarged Union will have shrank to a minimum5. The German foreign minister Joschka Fischer privately delivered a far more revolu- tionising and probably provocative approach of the future of the European integration in a speech at the Humboldt University in Berlin, as a - in his words - European citizen6. In accordance to that, the aim of this paper shall be the discussion of a somehow distinct and distant future of the process of the European integration. Concerning rather decades than only few years, the following chapters shall present, illustrate and critically evalu- ate some of Fischer’s visions of a conceivable future structure of the European Union, and its restrains. The devoted reader might be aware of the fact, that not only Fischer’s remarks may suffer from national bias. However, the following theses may provide some elementary proposals to the discussion on the future of Europe’s unity.

2. State of Affairs

Quo vadis Europe? The European integration proved to be successful so far. A new principle of the European state system allowed for an unprecedented period of prosper- ity, stability and peace. Yet, an indispensable part of the European peoples was histori- cally forced to stay outside this process. Fischer argues that a divided system of Europe’s states would shift the continent’s evolution towards more insecurity. Old con- flicts may brought into the Union in a mid term perspective. Especially Germany would probably suffer most from disruption. Thus, the today’s Union faces at least three major challenges in mid and long term perspective. A more or less likely factual redoubling of the number of Member States, the sincere integration of the new members, while re- maining capable to operate, implies the necessity of the full political integration7. Indeed, the EU members accomplished first to reconcile, then adapt, and later to inte- grate their economic spheres. Hence, Article 2 TEC provides for an “economic and so- cial cohesion and solidarity among Member States”. Since many books had been written about the history and theory of integration, the European process, after half a century, is still predominately an economic exercise. Though, easier to establish and obviously di- rectly beneficial, the Member States constituting the today’s EU transferred only with the Treaty of Maastricht three essential characteristics of their national sovereignty upon the Community. After the introduction of the €-currency and the adoption of the Schen- gen amendments, the “average” European citizen may only rudimentarily experience the existence of the nation state in wide areas of the EU. However, these fundamental attributes of national sovereignty are only conferred in the intergovernmental and some- how national biased component of the Community. Thus, Article 11 (2) TEU provides regarding the Common Foreign and Security Policy that the “Member States shall sup- port the Union's external and security policy actively and unreservedly in a spirit of loy- alty and mutual solidarity”. Article 10 TEC implies the loyalty of the Member States towards the Community8. Consequently, contradictions appear as soon as the potent Community is faced with external threats of any kinds. The lack of a politically int e- grated apparatus will then render the, though economically integrated, body irrelevant. This probably had been / still is experienced during the crises, the EC/EU was faced in its direct periphery, so on the Balkans. Since other circumstances will sooner or later provide the ground to examine the economical and political existence of the Commu- nity’s ability to overcome yet indefinite threats, Europe will have to cope with two par- alleled difficult assignments. According to Fischer, the earliest possible enlargement of the EU may not only provide the basis to extent and stabilise the continent’s area of peace, security, democracy and wealth. Due to the geographic middle position of Ger- many, the enlargement will assure the European neighbours that Germany definitely overcame the risks and temptations of historical aspirations. More important and more rational are the benefits not only the German economy may draw out of an enlarged Union. Correspondingly, the second challenge results out of the need to keep the EU workable, probably to transform it in a somehow more democratic, more effective, and more justified form of the organisation of European peoples. The ability of the EU and its institutions to absorb and adapt another amount of new members may easily result in a break down of these institutions. Hence, Fischer asserts the future consequently will bring inexorable erosion or the full economic and coinciding political integration9. Tough, it is hardly imaginable that the process of the European integration will come to an end in the near and foreseeable future.

3. The European State

The sui generis character of the EU had been identified through the German Bundes- verfassungsgericht. According to its decision, the today’s EU is something between a federation (“Bundesstaat”) and a confederation (“Staatenbund”). The court coined the term of the so-called “Staatenverbund”. However, the main and solely decisive actor prevails to be the traditional and sovereign nation-state, so via the hardly disputable role of the Council10. Not focusing on the estimation of the exact date, what we consider the European Union today may evolve in a more or less distant period of time in a kind of European State.

3.1 The European Federation

Fischer advocates the eventually provocative idea of a transformation from the existing Staatenverbund towards the full parliamentisation in a European Federation. This entails the establishment of a full legislatively responsible parliament as well as a solely executive acting government, found on a constitution11.

3.1.1 The Theory

A federation is defined very broadly. Most definitions refer to a governmental arrange- ment of institutions consisting of some as far as possible independent parts/entities. In the international law the term federalism refers to a system reaching from the indige- nous federal states to a confederate system of more or less sovereign states, an volun- tarily association of divers and heterogeneous peoples, or a “Willensnation12. Never- theless the phrase is more often used to describe the structure of states or similar bodies constituting a kind of a superior or central state, which consists of several subordinated particles with their own governmental structure. Federalism characteristically may be identified through the fact that both, the superior and the subordinated units do duplicate common institutions of sovereignty13. Each of the actors are more or less relying on their own executive branches including the attached administration, or bureaucracy, legislative branches and jurisdictions. However, the legislation and jurisdiction are commonly bound to an underlying loyalty, to guarantee the coherent existence of the federation and its homogeneous norms. The aim of the duplication of institution (i.e. the federal structure) is above all the subduing and control of political power by a vertical separation of power, and its balance, in regard to its tendency shifting to one side - mostly to the upper or central federal unit (i.e. possibility of the governmental overload;

gravity of the central budget14 ). One of the major advantages of a federation is the safe- guard of minorities, while they might be able to keep their own territorial integrity, pre- serve their ethnicity and/or relative independence in their federal entities. The increasing integration of heterogeneous societies while keeping their relative autonomy and veto, aiming on a high and certain homogeneity of standard of living is commonly perceived as an underlying principle of a social organisation constituting a federation. However, the concept of federalism, a federal state, or even a somehow superior federation (of the European societies) faces two constraints: the centrifugal forces focusing on the relative independence of the units and its varieties. In contrast, centripetal forces aim rather on enforced integration and centralised decision-making in favour to the whole popula- tion15. All this deems to be applicable to an emerging European Federation. Considering characteristics of a rather Unitarian state, whose organisational structure allows for a far more effective and efficient implementation of governmental measures. The Unitarian principle assures a coherent development in economic, legal and political matters16. Yet, ethnicity and nations identify themselves by their cultural differences (which imply the sphere of economy, the legal system and political traditions) in regard to others17. Their peculiarities, however, will then eventually suffer under the majority’s domina- tion, while the minority relinquishes its veto right. This may lead to an interpretation regarding the tyranny of the majority18. Since every nation is a shrine19, and taking in consideration Europe’s diversity regarding its peoples, cultures, political and historical variety, the only conceivable alternative for an emerging European State has to be built on a federal basis.

3.1.2 The Application

Coming back to Fischer’s approach, a European State can only be achieved in form of a federal organisation. Since the Europe is less homogenous populated than any region in the New World, characteristics of nations like a particular culture, language and history play a significant role in economic as well in political matters. Further it may be as- sumed that the process of globalisation - however it is defined - is accompanied by the withdraw of the individuals in familiar spheres of its nation20.


1 Bundesverband deutscher Banken (2001), p. 12-13.

2 Kohl (2001).

3 Delors (1993), p. 4: „Zweifellos wird dieser Vertrag [Vertrag von Maastricht] nicht in die Literaturgeschichte eingehen. Ohne genaue Gebrauchsanweisung ist er schwer zu verstehen. Er ist das Ergebnis vielfacher Ko mpromisse und von Juristen geschrieben “.

4 Preamble of the Treaty on the European Union.

5 Giscard d’Estaing (2001).

6 Fischer (2000).

7 Idem.

8 Shaw (2000), p. 191.

9 Fischer (2000).

10 Bundesverfassungsgericht (1994), p. 18.

11 Fischer (2000). Fischer does not touch the topic of the judicial branch. However, it might be assumed, that the today‘s judicial system provides with its working principles, case law, the supremacy of the EU law, etc., already the ground for the European Federation

12 Ipsen (1999), p. 382.

13 Schmidt (1995), p. 307-308.

14 Popitz (1927).

15 Schultze (1998), p. 156-158.

16 Schmidt (1995), 976.

17 Anderson (1998); Gellner (1983); Nash (1989); Smith (1986).

18 In accordance to Toquevilles: Schmidt (1995), p. 206.

19 Coudenhove-Kalergi (1926), p. 130: “Jede Nation ist ein Heiligtum”.

20 Schäuble (2000).

Excerpt out of 21 pages


The Future of European Integration - Joschka Fischers European Federation
Jagiellonian University in Krakow  (Centre for European Studies)
History and Theory of European Integration
1,0 (A)
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
File size
443 KB
EU Europäische Föderation Integration Fischer Staatenverbund
Quote paper
Heiko Bubholz (Author), 2002, The Future of European Integration - Joschka Fischers European Federation, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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