EN | 20/04/2021 | by ERIK

PSQE: Confederal Europe - a democratic alternative for "sui generis" limbo?


Whether you are for or against European unity, we all agree that the E.U. cannot continue as it is. It is the one thing that both "unionists" and eurosceptics agree on: We need reform, because the current state just isn't working.

Why is this? Well, one big reason is the "sui generis" form of the E.U., which means "of its own kind" but (let's be honest) really means "nobody knows what the EU really is, not even the lawyers". It is this "vlees-noch- vis" that is killing the Dream.

To get out of the swamp, we need to make a decision about what we really want for the future of Europe. And we only have 2 options: Forward or backward . i.e. we either choose to abandon the political dimension of the EU and reorganize as a largely economic cooperation, a new "European Community", or we try and build a democratic European superstate. Both options are in themselves better than what we got now. But we need to choose! We need to let go of "sui generis" and choose!

In this way, the EU needs to be forthright about its aim to create a European superstate: No mucking about with "an ever closer union", but just be honest. Which is why I want to make a case for a European Confederation, not a "Federation¨ , which is the word currently favoured by the pro-EU superstate crowd.

What's the difference? Well, "Confederation" implies a weaker central government + (and this is important!) every memberstate has the guaranteed right to leave the confederation, if its population so decides, in a democratic way, of course. That doesn't mean that leaving should be easy. We can, for instance, choose to adopt a rule that a vote to leave the Confederation should require a supermajority to pass, instead of a simple majority. In terms of sheer, basic calculus, this means that two-thirds of the population of a country should vote against staying, instead of half. This would make leaving a lot harder to pull off (think about the Brexit vote, where the difference was, if I remember correctly: 54 percent for leaving, against 45 for staying), but (and this is again important!) NOT IMPOSSIBLE! A moment's thought should reveal that such a rule should make the founding of a European "super-republic" more acceptable to people, as it would mean that joining is not totally irreversible. As we'll basically say: "Well, try it out, and if you really don't like it, you can quit". Which is the way it ought to be, with the final decision remaining in the hands of the locals, not the European elite.