27 Januar 2023

Re:constitution Working Paper: Four narratives on the purpose of European integration

Cover of the Working Paper: Peace, prosperity, self-assertion, and cosmopolitan democracy: Four narratives on the purpose of European integration

Why should we actually pursue European unification? What is the benefit of the states in Europe joining together and establishing common supranational institutions? Which political goals can justify the effort that goes into creating and developing the EU?

The answer to these questions is – of course – contentious. Depending on the prevailing political climate, very different narratives on the purpose of the unification project have come to the fore. In a newly published working paper for re:constitution, I have taken a look at four of the most important of them:

  • the peace narrative, according to which European integration primarily serves to reconcile the participating countries and avoid new conflicts among them;
  • the prosperity narrative, according to which European integration contributes significantly to the economic well-being of the participating countries and peoples;
  • the self-assertion narrative, according to which European integration is necessary for the participating countries in order to resist external threats and play an active role in global politics;
  • the cosmopolitan-democratic narrative, according to which European integration serves the double purpose of promoting individual freedom and collective democratic self-government at a supranational level.

The working paper outlines the historical development and political relevance of the four narratives and critically analyses their respective internal logic. It concludes that peace, prosperity and self-assertion can only legitimize European integration to a limited extent and remain incomplete without the objective of a supranational democracy.

The complete working paper can be found here.

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