Theoretical foundation of an European Federation

Richard N. Coudenhove-Kalergi’s draft constitution of the United States of Europe

Thesis (M.A.), 2002
138 Pages, Grade: 1,0


Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations

1. Introduction
1.1 From Paneuropa and Mitteleuropa towards the United States of Europe
1.2 Current Status of European Integration
Legal Foundation of Europe
Integrated EU Institutional Framework
1.3 Problems of the Integration Process

2. The Conceptual Foundation
2.1 State Character of Europe
2.2 Applicable Theories on the State

3. The European State
3.1 State Structure and the Balance of Powers
3.1.1 Optimal State Structure
3.1.2 Structure of Power Relations & Checks and Balance
3.1.3 Suitable forms of Representation and Legitimacy
3.2 Legislative and Executive Branch
3.2.1 Current Status in EU’s Structure
3.2.2 Alternatives towards a Federalization

4. The European State reviewed

5. Instead of a Conclusion

Draft Constitution of the United States of Europe
Approach by Joseph Fischer
Approach by Tony Blair
Approach by Richard N. Coudenhove-Kalergi


List of Abbreviations

illustration not visible in this excerpt

“If you want to build a ship, don't round up men to get wood, to perform jobs and to divide work; but teach them the desire of the wide and endless sea.”

Antoine de Saint-Exupery · Wisdom of the Sands

1. Introduction

Europe. What is it? Generations of scholars dedicated many efforts to answer this question. Much of what is today considered to be European is a result of a century old, unprecedented evolution. Some historians maintain that the 20th century had been a short century, one of extremes – starting with a sequence of catastrophes followed by promising attempts to create a new and peaceful order in Europe. History was in a hurry. The century began in 1914 when lights extinguished all over Europe for more than 30 years (Grey 1918). After having witnessed a deeply polarized world, the century ended in the hopeful atmosphere of a post-Cold War Europe and broad prospects for a final re-unification of Europe. But soon, those promising attempts, founded on a new European optimism and self-confidence, were facing a new tragedy in the Balkans, which eventually set precedence for Europe’s future challenges (Halberstam 2001, 86-7; Knopp 1998, 7-8).

European peoples could not decide for reconciliation and a peaceful rapprochement until the early 1950s. Under the pressure of the emerging Cold War – or a status of non-war – a number of European politicians were finally able to draw the lesson from the recent catastrophes and resolved to revive an old, yet not old fashioned idea of the United States of Europe. Though, the indigenous nation-state remained an indispensable building block of the European movement. Yet, its role restricted increasingly the integration process from a point a certain degree of reconciliation and cooperation was reached. Indeed, it took Europe’s collapse following World War II and the status of a semi-peace – or semi-war – condition under the Cold War to launch the courageous project of the European Community.

Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi once held that tomorrow’s historians would not easily explain why Europe’s unification did not occur in the first years after the Second World War (Coudenhove-Kalergi 1971, 170; 1966, 284). Indeed, only 40 years later, governments, caught till then in their pre-war ideology and terminology, went on to continue this process with the Treaties of Maastricht and Amsterdam. Those Treaties led to a new stage of integration obeying the initial objectives of the Paris and Rome Treaties to “lay the foundations of an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe” (Preamble of the Treaty establishing the European Community).

The creation of the European Union could have “mark[ed] a new stage in the process of European integration undertaken with the establishment of the European Communities”, while “recalling the historic importance of the ending of the division of the European continent and the need to create firm bases for the construction of the future Europe” (Preamble of the Treaty on the European Union). Thus far – from a rather technocratic perspective – the experiment of European integration proved to be successful. Nonetheless, after all the external obstacles ceased to exist and the internal developments made significant progress, such as the euphoric and historically unprecedented introduction of the Euro currency made apparent, criticism arise concerning the future ability of the European Union to cope with all its internal – and prospected external – problems and dynamics.

Since paper is quite patient media and public opinion posses only a short memory, much had been articulated to handle and overcome these predictable problems. Gradual adaptation of the EU technocratic structure to arising problems deem in the short-term perspective sufficient to proceed with the process of European integration. Politicians and academics with rather visionary ideas proposed a number of institutional changes fundamentally reshaping the European Union. Accordingly, during the last years there seemed to evolve a competition among European statesmen in presenting their ideas of a future Europe. Particularly one of those speeches, namely of Joschka Fischer, gave the initial idea for this book. Moreover, the writing of Richard N. Coudenhove-Kalergi proposes some instructive ideas, which are also considered subsequently. The reader thus might be aware that the following chapters are influenced by these suggestions, while all taken efforts may not prevent the author to present his views on the future of Europe in a somehow biased manner.

Though a lot had been written on the history of the process of European integration, there seems to be a rule that old, visionary, sometimes revolutionary ideas have to be re-vitalized or even re-discovered – after one or two generations of scientist and students tempted to define and refine the initial thoughts. Thus, probably every second generation reveals and celebrates the initial ideas (to introduce an evolutionary approach concerning these patterns, see Falger 2001, 44-5). This shall be the case also with this book. Reconsidering Europe from the scratch will inevitably require a long-term perspective and some patient with the following debate.

Since the author is not in favor of a narrowly minded attitude, this contributions’ propositions shall depart from a sole attempt to reform Europe. Inevitably, the current status of European integration has to be elaborated in a limited scope to identify the actual problems, which the EU is contemporarily confronted with. This shall lead to the discussion regarding the establishment of a European State and its ideal organization. Hereafter, the possibility of a European State and its internal structure will be subject of the debate. In an ideal world it would be effortless to realize these considerations. Since we are far from living under such conditions, some thoughts should also be devoted to the practicability and applicability of state theories on an experiment like the EU.

In fact, this book ought to be a comprehensive discussion of nothing less than a European State, its internal structure and particular approaches made towards this end. Or, to refer to Ronald Mackay, one of the early contributors: “Every statement about a New Europe need not be construed as having special reference to the creation of a new government for Europe, of whatever kind. But aspiration must find practical expressions or be fruitless” (1940, 37).

So did, among others, Richard N. Coudenhove-Kalergi and Friedrich Naumann. Among others, their writings predicted the development of Europe’s fate and the arising alternatives. Thus, to open the actual debate some of these old but not old-fashioned ideas shall make the unprecedented opportunities of these, our days, evident.

1.1 From Paneuropa and Mitteleuropa towards the United States of Europe

Admittedly, old writings and ideas benefit from the advantage that their inherent visions have been proven through the course of history. Otherwise these thoughts would have hardly maintained their enchanted status in the collective political memory and historiography. Nonetheless, these texts, in a remarkably unbiased manner, make the problems and challenges of the present apparent. Out of a wide variety, two outstanding examples of early justification and rationalization for a united Europe shall be shortly elaborated.

Although some of the proposals have been realized, the internal organization of a united Europe was never illuminated in a comprehensive manner. Conclusively the thoughts and doubts of Richard N. Coudenhove-Kalergi and Friedrich Naumann still maintain their validity. Coudenhove-Kalergi’s life and efforts easily illustrate the whole magnitude of obstacles, which the 20th century could provide to the considerations on Europe’s unity (see Coudenhove-Kalergi 1966; 1971). Already in his famous, seminal 1923 writing “Paneuropa” he identified in an almost prophetic manner a number of predictable problems which ought to determine the fate of Europe. Moreover, in an extraordinary lucidity and brightness, Coudenhove illuminated the only tangible dynamic which will decide on the future of Europe – then and now: ‘The only force, which eventually will contribute to create Paneuropa: is the Europeans’ desire; the only force, which might ultimately impede Paneuropa: is the Europeans’ will too’ (1926, 5). In another context, Friedrich Naumann’s concept of Mitteleuropa faces similar problems. Accordingly, ‘a Central European Union [„mitteleuropäischer Bund“] is not a historic coincidence but a necessity. If it is not desperately desired – one has willingly to attempt this option –, since any alternative will take an even worse path’ (1915, 4). Apart from this – though realistic assumptions – Coudenhove-Kalergi heralded a wide range of concrete issues, which Europe of the early 1920s faced to. Nonetheless, many of these assertions maintain – or even regained – much of their validity in today’s scenario.

First, the historic development established some considerable changes in Europe’s political geography, but not an overturn in its political system. This might be also applicable to the world of the 21st century. The necessity arises to raise Europe from a status of anarchy to a political organization. This form of organization is not only required to settle internal disputes, but more so to respond to the obvious rise of non-European economic, political and military powers. This even more applies to a post-September 11 world.

The process of proper organization of Europe is inevitably necessary to guarantee Europe in its cultural, social, ethnic, religious, ideological, economic and political plurality. Coudenhove considered Paneuropa as a political and economical determined association of peoples ensuring the existence and the complex composition of Europe. This might ultimately answer the question whether Europe will be a combination of nation-states or of ruins (Coudenhove-Kalergi 1926, 8). In so arguing Coudenhove-Kalergi had then not witnessed the cruel deeds, which man is able to do to each other, of World War II and the Cold War. Nonetheless, he had some obvious and to a certain extent, still relevant reasons for his pessimistic imaginations.

Globalization in its early appearance rendered Europe’s economic and political relevance to a minimum, while the continent struggled to cope with the abilities and dynamics of its increasingly powerful neighboring regions. Thus, Europe – even today – is still emerging out of a desperate present towards a vague future. The continent lost its extensive power since its peoples were disunited; Europe may loss its independence and its wealth again, if it is not going to come together and coordinate its efforts. Moreover – in rather technical terms – the world is squeezing day by day. If the political sphere does not adapt to these simple facts, that – as Coudenhove put it – Berlin and Paris became neighboring cities, this disharmonized technical/economical vs. political development will result in insoluble tensions. Accordingly, the rapprochement in technical/economic terms has to be accompanied by a political reconciliation of Europe’s peoples and elites (Coudenhove-Kalergi 1926, 16-7).

The process of limited European integration, which we could witness during the last fifty years, was initiated through the necessity of political reconciliation after Europe’s greatest disaster. European rapprochement inaugurated in the wake of World War II, which is still the prevailing notion of the present days, was the essential requirement to guarantee the sheer survival of Europe’s peoples. To put it in the words of Richard von Weizsäcker: ‘There has not been a fresh start, but we had the chance to begin once more on a wrecked foundation – and finally we realized it’ (1985).

In contrast, Coudenhove-Kalergi recognized the inevitability of an integration process to preserve, not to rebuild, what European pluralism had achieved. Coudenhove’s approach urged Europe’s peoples – but more so its political elites and leaders – to establish a common ground for future endeavor. The need to cope with the past was considered by him to be solely a minor task. Coudenhove-Kalergi’s spirit aspires to create and organize a next Europe in order to preserve the magnitude and richness of its pluralistic structure. Schulze illustrates this desire in a more recent approach (2002, 41): ‘Our epoch seems to be characterized that men’s attainments deem to gain by refraining from nationalist thinking in favor for the European perspective. It thus paradoxically may appear that nothing is as European as its fragmentation in nations and nation-states. This variety in unity creates Europe since it is envisioned; the plurality of Europe’s states; the mixture of national identities and their enduring disputes distinguish this continent from other geographically rather homogenous cultures and continents since eternal times’.

Admittedly, the world has changed since Coudenhove-Kalergi’s days. Nonetheless it remains an unalterable truth that the European question may only be solved through a union of its peoples, through the establishment of a (Pan)European ‘ Staatenbund ’. At least, the integration process overcame what Coudenhove illustrated in a remarkably instructive language: ‘Europe as a political term does not exist. The part of the world, which carries this name, includes a chaotic set of peoples and nation-states. It is ammunition’s stockpile of international conflicts’. Thus, Europe is not any longer ‘a retort of future world wars’ (Coudenhove-Kalergi 1926, 22).

This shall lead to the assessment of the current status of Europe’s integration. Eventually, the comparison of present problems and obstacles in this process with those partly unbiased doubts of early concepts of European integration may provoke some suggestions, which shall then be part of the latter chapters.

Friedrich Naumann illustrated the challenges for those who decide to create and organize Europe anew: ‘At least one generation will have to struggle for the foundation of Mitteleuropa. Yet, it is decided upon today, whether governments and peoples in general know and resolve to do so’ (Naumann 1915, 5). Considering the actual history of European integration (Gasteyger 2001), it took already more than a generation to establish the EU in its present semi-supranational/intergovernmental shape. The accomplishment of a European State might thus take another generation’s time and efforts. This shall set also the basic timeline, which this discussion is attached to.

1.2 Current Status of European Integration

This book is not dedicated to explain, interpret or evaluate the present decision-making processes of the EU bodies. Nonetheless, it deems necessary to identify some relations and power structures of the EU institutions – as these institutions inevitably will play a significant role in either future organization of European integration. Thus, the following paragraphs shall describe the role and influence of the main EU institutions in the policy-making activities.

Jacques Delors himself declared that the treaty establishing the European Union would not become a part of fine literature. Drafted by lawyers, it is, according to Delors, hard to understand without a manual (1993, 4). The EU in its present and approaching shape is a construction best described through its sui generis character. Despite the lack of sovereign and fully independent institutions, it is not a state yet. Nevertheless, the EU controls and governs already several areas, which are typically administrated by sovereign states. Due to the history of integration and the more feasible and advantageous economic rapprochement, most of the occupied fields of policy are economic in nature. These abilities do not derive from a self-sustaining development, but from an agreed transfer of competencies from the Member States to a higher organization. The sui generis character of the EU had also been confirmed through decisions of several national courts, which, however, were eager to maintain the nation-states’ roles. Accordingly, the EU is a construction between a federation (“Bundesstaat”) and a confederation (“Staatenbund”). The German Constitutional Court coined the term of the so-called “Staatenverbund”, which implies the respective Member States’ active participation in a supranational organization, while preventing the country becoming a subordinate part of a European State (Stüwe 1999; Bundesverfassungsgericht 1994, 181).

Legal Foundation of Europe

A constitutional framework of the EU may be assumed through Article 6(1) TEU, stating that the “Union is founded on the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law”. Jo Shaw identified a multilevel constitutional system. It currently consists of the 25 constitutions of the present Member States and the European Treaties itself. Another peculiarity of the European constitutional framework and legitimacy is henceforth revealed in Article 6(2) TEU, implying a unity or even fusion of the legal and constitutional order of the EU. Hence, the EU derives its power from its Member States and does so regarding its legal foundation (Shaw 2000, 172-173; Bundesverfassungsgericht 1994).

Article 1 TEU provides that decisions of the EU have to be taken “as closely as possible to the citizen”. This refers to the principle of subsidiarity, which became the leading doctrine of the EU, in Article 2 TEU, extending the Article 5 TEC provision to all fields of policy of the EU. The EU Treaties, however, do not grasp subsidiarity by its definition. Article 5 TEC defines the principle so that higher authorities should act “only if and insofar as the objectives of the proposed action cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States and can therefore, by reason of the scale or effects of the proposed action, be better achieved by the Community”.

Notions of subsidiarity may already be found in times of Aristotle. Subsidiarity is far more than sheer decentralization. Especially the provisions in the EU Treaties are rather a rational argument concerning politics (Gaster 1998, 22, 38). But, in contrast to the EU/EC provision, a pure definition of the term demands actions or institutional acts carried out on the lower institutional level (Schmidt 1995, 946). Only in the case that subordinated units – though, being closer to it, having an advantage in regard to information on the particular problem – is by its resources and capabilities – not due to unwillingness – unable to solve the problem, superior institutions may intervene (Lampert 1988, 73). Instead of interventionist behavior, pure subsidiarity requires restrains on governmental influences, personal responsibility, and the free spread of potentials (Nicolaysen 1994, 157; 1999). In contrast to Article 5 TEC, there is no trace of a term ‘ better ’. It may be assumed that the superior institutions of the EU could carry out all actions ‘ better ’, since they have in general more resources at their disposal.

Furthermore, Article 6(4) TEU ascertains that the “Union shall provide itself with the means necessary to attain its objectives and carry through its policies”. Though potentially contradicting the principle of subsidiarity, this provision opens the opportunity for the EU to act as a supranational body, while increasing decisional autonomy of the Union – even among the intergovernmental pillars (Shaw 2000, 174). The quasi-sovereign rights of an emerging European State and its law and policy making activities seem to be limited by forces outside and inside the Union, i.e. the Member States. Policy making in the European Union is hence limited, and actions by EU institutions are encircled through competencies, which the Member States conferred to the EU. Thus, the EU has a kind of substantive constitution (Shaw 2000, 181-5).

Integrated EU Institutional Framework

The most visible but lesser dominant institution among those of the European Union, the Commission, is based on Article 213 (1) TEC. Its authority ends formally at the corner stones of the first pillar, the European Community. The Commissioners, “whose independence is beyond doubt”, are chosen in quota among the Member States. Article 213 (2) par. 2 TEC requires that in “performance of these duties, [the Commissioners] shall neither seek nor take instructions from any government or from any other body”. To quote Craig/Búrga, “excessive partisanship is therefore precluded, but one should not necessarily expect total neutrality”. Nevertheless, the Commissioners are subject to the president of this body as primus inter pares. Article 219 TEC provides that the “Commission shall work under the political guidance of its President”. The President of the Commission – as the supranational EU’s administrative body – plays an important role in shaping the Commissions policy, in negotiating with the Council and the Parliament, and in determining the future of the Community as a whole (Craig/Búrga 1998, 50). The Commission – being the only executive, but not implementing, supranational authority among EU institutions (apart from its legislative and administrative functions) – is perceived to fuel and facilitate further integration. It is recommending policies, administrating the EU/EC Treaties and acting as a guardian and watchdog – beside the ECJ – of the Community interests. The nomination of the Commission must be approved by the European Parliament (Shaw 2000, 110).

Article 203 TEC determinates the representatives of the Council being members of the governments of the respective Member States. This may imply a completely opposing character of this body in regard to the Commissioners’ required independence. Inevitable, the Council is the anchoring ground for every intergovernmental sentiment in the EU. The importance of this fact shall be elaborated later.

Beginning with the SEA, the European Parliament gained an increasingly active role in EU’s decision and policy-making processes. However, the expanded authority of the Parliament does not provide equally the whole Community with a more democratic image. So the number of MEPs does by far not represent the respective proportions of the populations of the Member States (Shaw 2000, 62-7).

Article 230 par. 1. TEC finally provides that the “Court of Justice shall review the legality of acts adopted jointly by the European Parliament and the Council, of acts of the Council, of the Commission and of the ECB, other than recommendations and opinions, and of acts of the European Parliament intended to produce legal effects vis-à-vis third parties”. The Judges, according to Article 223 par. 1 TEC, are chosen among “persons whose independence is beyond doubt”. Craig/Búrga (1998, 81) assert that “the nature of much of the ECJ’s jurisprudence, the wishes of individual Member States have had little influence on its decision-making. On the other hand, this is not to say that the Court is immune from political pressure, nor that it takes no account of the general wishes of the Member States in its decision-making”. The ECJ is, with its progressive case law, the actual EU body capable and willing to reinforce the integration process. The Court is equipped with the means to accomplish the decision and policy-making process. Due to its pro-integration attitude, much of particular national interests of the Member States in the legislative acts of the EU may be balanced through this institutional counterweight.

1.3 Problems of the Integration Process

Fortunately, the EU – since usually caught in its technocratic considerations – discovered and revealed some of the emerging problems resulting from its peculiar construction. The Commission’s White Paper on Governance illuminates some of the obstacles for a successful process and progress of future European integration. Governance in the perception of the Commission is the entirety of “rules, processes and behavior that affect the way in which powers are exercised at European level, particularly as regards to openness, participation, accountability, effectiveness and coherence”. While the Commission is eager to find a “magic cure” to reform the procedures and methods of European governance, the identified obstacles in the European integration process require, indeed, much more efforts.

The most prominent example – and most likely the result of present EU’s characteristically minimum denominator bargaining process – is the so-called Community method. Appreciating and recognizing the diversity of political cultures among the current and prospective Member States, the Community method brings together traditions and ideas, which are compatible only in a limited manner. It is at least questionable whether – as recommended by the White Paper – EU institutions will ever accomplish to refocus on their respective tasks if the persisting method of policy-making is not altered.

The White Paper may prove as the best evidence. Asking what the Community methods mean, there is no easy answer to it: The “Community method guarantees both the diversity and effectiveness of the Union. It ensures the fair treatment of all Member States from the largest to the smallest. It provides a means to arbitrate between different interests by passing them through two successive filters: the general interest at the level of the Commission; and democratic representation, European and national, at the level of the Council and European Parliament, together the Union’s legislature. The European Commission alone makes legislative and policy proposals. Its independence strengthens its ability to execute policies, act as the guardian of the Treaty, and represent the Community in international negotiations. Legislative and budgetary acts are adopted by the Council of Ministers representing Member States and the European Parliament, which is representing the citizens. The use of qualified majority voting in the Council is an essential element in ensuring the effectiveness of this method. Execution of policy is entrusted to the Commission and national authorities” (European Commission 2001). Thus, Erik Eriksen warns that the technocrat approach of the EU’s bureaucracy may face irresolvable problems in terms of the admired democratic type of governance (2001). Or, to put it in the words of Joschka Fischer: ‘The enormity of regulations on the EU level is the result of inductive attempts of communizing following the Method Monnet. It is a manifestation of multilateral compromises in the today’s ‘ Staatenverbund ’ of the European Union’ (2000).

Though the European Union constitutes an unparalleled organization with intergovernmental and supranational elements, the combination and concentration – or better amalgamation – of executive and legislative authority among present EU institutions is hardly beneficial to the proclaimed effectiveness and wide legitimate basis of the EU. It rather creates a defuse image of democratic deficits, lack of political accountability and legitimization, and misrepresentation, which, in the long run, will hardly provide for solutions to cope with the emerging, persisting, and ever complicated problems. It thus may be a matter of concern whether or not there will be a better mode to administrate and govern Europe.

So far, the Commission acknowledges the necessity to assure the future importance and workability of the Community’s institutions. The technocrat approaches of the Commission and other EU institutions thus may be perceived in the notion of too much, too late. Andrew Moravcsik does even identify a looming “Brussels despotism” (2001). He claims “that the broad lines of European integration since 1955 reflect three factors: patterns of commercial advantage, the relative bargaining power of important governments, and the incentives to enhance the credibility of interstate commitments” (Moravcsik 1998, 3). Moreover, Stanley Hoffman asserts that EU’s functional scope is boarder and more workable then ever, but “its system of governance is too Byzantine to function well, too obscure to be understood by its citizen, and too paralyzed by antagonism” (2001). The dominance of the Council will on the long run – assumable in an even increased manner after the recent enlargement is being digested – lead to politics and policies of national, but less of preliminary European interest.

In contrast and apart from this, it is widely accepted that the judicial branch is well tailored to EU’s pluralistic structure. The Charter of Fundamental Rights may accelerate this type of reinforced integration. It may even provide the positive evidence for a successful, federalized integration of the jurisdiction sphere as a predecessor for further endeavors of an ever deeper and wider Union (McCrudden 2001; Möllers 1999, 7; Schmitz 2001; Zuleeg 2001, 210). In that vein, Ernest B. Haas identified a kind of self-sustaining process – or spill over effect – within the judicial sphere in favor of European integration (1958, 300-1).

Nonetheless, Joschka Fischer asserted that the Method Monnet worked well during the past fifty years. Despite the present and prospected future challenges, however, it seems to have reached its limits – not to speak from any attempts to deepen the European integration any further: ‘Already today, it is inevitable that the EU’s internal logic of the Method Monnet is in an irresolvable crisis’ (Fischer 2000).

Intergovernmentalism is defined by Moravcsik as the following lines illustrate (1991, 223): “From its inception, the [Community] has been based on interstate bargains between its leading member states. Heads of government, backed by a small group of ministers and advisers, initiate and negotiate major initiatives in the [Council] or the European Council [Summits]. Each government views the [Community] through the lens of its own policy preferences; EC politics is the continuation of domestic policies by other means. Even when societal interests are transnational, the principal form of their political expression remains national”. Moravcsik’s notion of intergovernmental institutionalism is applicable to the present situation of the European Union – reiterating the awesome negotiations during the Nice Summit (Weidenfeld 2001) and those to come. Admittedly, the Community identifies, recognizes, and tries to cope with a wide variety of the surfacing problems. Nonetheless, the debate on European reforms intends to cope with current institutional restrains, while the discussion hardly focuses on long-term considerations. Already conceivable inconveniences of the future European integration process are not taken in consideration. The current debate on the European Convention makes this apparent. Unfortunately, Walter Hallstein’s assertion from 1961 still remains valid in current debate: ‘Europe should be raised out of its demoralizing situation. It shall not be any longer subject to political decisions made elsewhere, but ought to become a regular element in the political scene’ (1961, 268-69).

Since the developments adjoining the European experiment and its environment already signify an unprecedented magnitude of impenetrable disparities and discrepancies in the foreseeable future, it is inevitable to consider at the earliest possible occasion on a consciously re-foundation of Europe – recalling Winston Churchill’s timeless question: ‘How mighty Europe would be without antagonism?’ (see Coudenhove-Kalergi 1971, 134).

If, assumable, we are approaching a new phase of Euro sclerosis, the resolution of the existing and future problems to grant to the existing Union the structure and characteristics of a State sui generis – an alternative among many circulating ideas – is a worthwhile pursuit. Or, to apply another metaphor, if present day’s EU is to compare with a formerly well operating mechanic apparatus, which – due to inevitable erosion and over the course of time – is meanwhile shaking, stuttering and stumbling, then – instead of hardly sustaining repairs – it seems worthwhile to re-construct this peculiar machine from the sketch.

2. The Conceptual Foundation

The following paragraphs’ aspiration is not to elaborate or identify how the current European Union and its bureaucracy have to be understood, but instead establish the conceptual framework for a future Europe.

During the Laeken Summit the European Union – or its Member States – eventually recognized and acknowledged the immediate necessity for institutional reforms (European Council 2001). Specifically heads of state decided to establish a European Convention. Though the Convent presented a paper, which will become the foundation of an initial European constitution, the Convention’s chairman, Giscard d’Estaing warned beforehand, that this forum eventually must not interfere in nationally sensitive issues concerning the federalization of Europe (Giscard d’Estaing 2002). Such a preoccupied attitude, however, is not applicable to this book. Hence, intermediate results of the Convention will be taken in consideration only in a limited scope. Rather, this contribution is intended to provide an alternative vision of a future Europe, based on pure theories on state and not necessarily on the contemporary and fashionable debate regarding the sole adaptation of current policies, such as the Commission‘s White Paper proposes (Möllers 2001).

At this point it is worth noting the existing linguistic differences regarding the terms of polity and policy, which do not exist in all languages. While the first expression focuses on structures and constitutional norms of a political system, the second term solely penetrates results, deeds or procedures that the respective institutions are subject to (Mols 1996, 26). Aim of this paper will be a discussion on polity patterns of a future Europe. Though Giscard categorically excluded any debate on federal ideas, for our purpose it is necessary to identify applicable theories on state. This will imply some general thoughts on the possibility and character of a European State. To complete these considerations we shall evaluate which organizational structure such a construction might assume. All these considerations have to take place in the polity dimension of a future Europe.

2.1 State Character of Europe

Throughout history, all fundamental writings on state theory seem to be a product of immediate crises, which the respective authors faced to (Ziegler 1994; Gröschner et al. 2000). Before elaborating the particular theories, it is worthwhile to discuss whether the European Union and its future descendant meet the criteria of being a state. To put it in the words of Frederic Bastiat, the French philosopher and liberal thinker of the 19th century: “I wish that someone would offer a prize, not of five hundred francs, but of a million, with crosses, crowns, and ribbons, to whoever would give a good, simple, and intelligible definition of this term: the state” (1975, 140).

Georg Jellinek’s (1914, 396) widely accepted characterization of a state includes three major elements: A state is perceived as a politically and legally determined association of individuals and regions, which is constituted of an internally autonomous power (“Staatsgewalt”), a people (“Staatsvolk”), on a particular area (“Staatsgebiet”); while being externally fully sovereign as subject solely to the international law (Ipsen 1999, 33).

The autonomous state power is the initial combination of executive, legislative and judicial authority of the state over its population. As characterized by Max Weber it is the monopoly of legitimized physical power. Although this autonomous power extends over its people and territory, it is simultaneously limited to it. It is the manifestation of internal sovereignty of the people, and hence of the state itself. Realistically the state power is only exercised if a significant efficiency could be assumed. This is, on the other hand, an illustration and articulation of the legitimacy of the rulers through the ruled. The people, in terms of state theory, are the entirety of individuals who constitute the citizenship of the concerned territory for a longer period. It is thus significantly more than relevant sociologic theories provide regarding the term of nation. But to a certain extent, it is less than the relevant population of the concerned area. Finally, the state territory is the assemblage of all geographic areas considered to belong to the respective people, while constituting the necessary opportunities and security for its population (Schmidt 1995, 907-8, 922; Weber 1895, 20; Ipsen 1999, 54-8; Mach 1993, 176-7).

To apply this definition of a state to the EU, we must assume some characteristics and conditions. Possibly contradicting the thinking of some Eurocrats, Europe is far more than the European Union in its present, post-enlargement appearance. The elaboration of this issue should not necessarily touch historical considerations or cultural concerns (see, for example, Halecki 1957). In the words of Władysław Bartoszewski: ‘The question of the geographical borders of Europe shall rather be answered by a philosopher’ (2002, 860). Even if we refer to other socio-cultural, economic or political criteria, the borders of a European State remain in a vague scope. Nonetheless, if the state construction of the European Union will be constituted by the respective nation-states, it may be assumed that there exists a reasonably precise definition of the concerned territory.

To apply a rather unorthodox approach to this question: ‘There is only one radical way to answer the question of European borders in sustaining and just manner: It does not necessitate moving borders, but to repeal them’ (Coudenhove-Kalergi 1926, 138). Simultaneously, any potential area of friction would disappear. The territory and the external borders of a European State would thus be constituted from those of its Member States.

While it is beyond the scope of this book, the issue of identity among European people(s), specifically the legal notion of a universalistic justification for a transnational citizenship of the European Union has already been introduced in Article 2 TEU. The status and, hence, rights of an EU citizen continue to rest upon the nationality of a member state and thus remains a prerogative of the Member States’ governments (Meehan 2000, 7, 13). This citizen status is connected to a variety of rights, which, paralleling those of the respective individual’s nationality, may contribute to the establishment of an initial European people. Today it may already be assumed that these people will neither equal the concept of a nation (Anderson 1998; Bredow 1998; Nash 1989; Renan 1882; Smith 1994), nor be created out of the whole entirety of Europe’s peoples’ plurality.

To avoid obstacles resulting from such considerations Coudenhove-Kalergi intended to apply a rather artificial construction. Each individual will be of a European nation, whose faculties will be the French, the German, the Polish, etc. It is thus a sole duplication of the individual’s identity. The acceleration of these identities requires furthermore the separation of state and nation. In a future Europe, there will prevail free nations in free states (Coudenhove-Kalergi 1926, 131-6). Thus it seems beneficial and less controversial to substitute the European people with the concept of a European citizenship.

Finally, the question of appropriate autonomous state power renders the discussion a little bit controversial. Though Jean-Claude Piris asserts that the present EU is lacking some crucial elements of a sovereign state, it is obvious that the EU/EC Treaties have a constitutional character. The Community is currently exercising some sovereign tasks, while, for example, taxation and monetary policy, and other major fields remain under strict national control. Nonetheless, its autonomous power is limited by the will of its Member States (Piris 2000, 10-2). To take full advantage of the actually approved state power of the EU, a sole reform of the EU institutional framework will have only limited effect. The prevailing ambiguity concerning this rather sensible issue leads to the discussion regarding the establishment of a firm framework of autonomous European state power based upon particular state theories.

2.2 Applicable Theories on the State

Frederic Bastiat stated that the “function of government is to direct physical and moral forces of the nation towards the ends for which it was founded” (1975, 81). Thus, it is not the question of how, but to what purpose a (European) state is to be found; specifically, to what extent its government will be responsible and accountable for its exclusively conferred tasks.

Plato’s indigenous state was inaugurated to guarantee the sheer existence of its individual inhabitants. States then were invented to ensure the population’s existence in regard to external threats, whilst the internal stability and security was to guarantee. Additionally, conflicting internal interests required the establishment of a set of rules. The state thus was indispensable to secure and promote the individuals’ achievements. The precondition of latter state theories dictates the existence of a state or the lack there of depending of whether or not the people perceive it beneficial to live in a state-like scenario.

The state was formed to guarantee internal stability and security while simultaneously ensuring the population’s existence in regard to external threats. People themselves, willingly and consciously, subordinated their individual interests under a state organization. They conferred a part of the absoluteness of their individual and impenetrable rights in a social contract to a higher authority, which, in exchange, guaranteed their existence (internal and external security) and wealth through a set of rules and the means to enforce them. Prominent representatives of these ideas of transformation from pre-society to society include John Locke and Thomas Hobbes. All these basic theories share a concern on the violent origins of mankind and the conversion of groups of individuals in a regulated (state) environment (Gröschner et al. 2000). However, discussing possible theories for a European State, these ideas seem to be inadequate.

The existence, security and wealth of individuals remain to be the initial task of the nation-state. It may be assumed that the purpose of a European State is correlated only to a certain extent to this intention. Instead, the motivation for – and justification of – a European State is rather conceivable as to secure and strengthen the existence and wealth of its constituting societies. From this perspective the ancient and medieval ideas are not so different to present challenges, yet in another dimension.

David Hume’s observation best examines the individuals’ reasoning to subordinate under a state: “Here then is the origin of civil government and society. Men are not able radically to cure, either in themselves or others, that narrowness of soul, which makes them prefer the present to the remote. They cannot change their nature. All they can do is to change their situation” (1949, 537). A European State could in fact change and improve the situation of the European people, peoples, and its nation-states.

The dilemma, which the debate faces at this point, is the fact that most European visionaries do not concern the internal organization of a prospective European State. Nonetheless, some theories of the modern nation-state seem to be applicable and thus ought to provide the basis for further discussion.

In particular four fundamental writings – particularly those of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Charles de Montesquieu, the Federalist Papers’ Publius and Max Weber – will comprise the foundation of the theoretic justification of a European State. Taking a rather pragmatic approach, there is only one justification of the selection and arrangement of these theories. It is the simple fact that bits and pieces of these concepts may be assembled into a thorough framework, which provides for the establishment of the prospected European State. To put it in the words of Mark Twain: “There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact” (1982, 208).

This contribution’s objective is not to elaborate the challenges or even threats, which the European Union is facing in the foreseeable future in economic, social, political, or even militarily terms (see, for example, Algieri 2002; Clark 2001; Creveld 1999; Prodi 2001; Tiersky 2001; Weidenfeld 2001; Weidenfeld/Giering 2002). It may rather be assumed that the somehow vague and volatile, yet prosperous, union of states is not able to cope with these challenges and threats. Noteworthy and still relevant in this regard are the remarks of Montesquieu’s Persian’s fictitious traveler who characterizes Europe as the continent of eternal hostilities, which ultimately may bleed to death (Timmermann 2001, 37). Though such a scenario is hardly conceivable at present, at least among most regions of West and Central Europe, the recent developments in the Balkans may at least convey an impression that wars or war-like scenarios are still inherently likely and feasible in our post-modern times. It is thus a rational decision of the individual to confer privileges and confidence to a higher authority, not only subordinating some of the indigenous, unlimited freedoms under the individual’s nation-state, but also under the European State, in exchange for security, stability, and wealth.

This is what Jean-Jacques Rousseau described as a kind of healthy selfishness (not a self-absorption), just the unique amour de soi (Gröschner et al. 2000, 197). Human mankind – according to Rousseau – would simply perish if it does not decide to change its mode of co-existence. Following his traits, this will have necessarily to result in the unavoidable establishment of a republic, allowing mankind to live together in a cooperative manner. Rousseau insisted that man is born free, but everywhere being bound in chains (1977, 5). This is not the result of his consent to abstain from some of his indigenous rights in exchange for the privileges to be a citizen of the state. Rousseau rather ties this observation to the development within the state. Only the intuitions of the state may ruin the universal freedoms of men (Gröschner et al. 2000, 194). This does not contradict the act of voluntarily conferring rights to the state, but is the product of the institutional framework, which the individual is subjected to. The only criterion, which ought to be referred to justify these institutions, is whether or not they obey the general will of the individuals. Hence, the general will – the volonté générale – is more than an accumulation of the particular individuals’ wills. Instead, it reflects the basic minimal consensus of the society, which provides the spirit and confidence to all acts of the state’s institutions. Rousseau claims that the general will is always right and thus intends on the public good, while the particular will or interest of the individual solely reflects its personal preferences, which most likely will run counter to those of others and the general will in particular (Rousseau 1977, 30).

To ensure the greatest possible homogeneity of the people’s general will Rousseau advocates a radical people’s democracy. In contrast to other contract theories, Rousseau categorically denies the possibility to transfer sovereign right from the indigenous sovereign – the citizens – to the state. Instead the state and institutions evolve to the servant of the people. Even the idea of representation would lead to an alienation of rulers and those ruled (Schmidt 2000, 97). Rousseau actually envisaged a crowd of countrymen, doing their state affairs sitting under a tree, as an ideal type of state, assuming that they might be the happiest rulers and ruled one could imagine on earth (1977, 112).


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Theoretical foundation of an European Federation
Richard N. Coudenhove-Kalergi’s draft constitution of the United States of Europe
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Heiko Bubholz (Author), 2002, Theoretical foundation of an European Federation, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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