Europe’s Sovereignty Crisis
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Joschka Fischer wrote:

Finally, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has accepted a new form of European Union. More than ever, the EU must combine greater stability, financial transfers, and mutual solidarity if the entire European project is to be prevented from collapsing under the weight of the ongoing sovereign-debt crisis.


Still, the single currency’s collapse was avoided, and French President Nicolas Sarkozy was right to laud the establishment of a “European Monetary Fund” as a real achievement. But this bold move has huge political consequences that have to be explained to the public, because the move toward establishing such a fund – and, with it, a European economic government – amounts to an EU political revolution in three acts.

First, the two-speed Union, which has been a reality since the first rounds of enlargement, will divide into a vanguard (euro group) and a rearguard (the rest of the 27 EU members). This formalized division will fundamentally change the EU’s internal architecture. Under the umbrella of the enlarged EU, the old dividing lines between a German/French-led European Economic Community and a British/Scandinavian-led European Free Trade Association re-emerge. From now on, the euro states will determine the EU’s fate more than ever, owing to their common interests.

Second, this jump into a monetary fund and economic government will lead to further massive losses of sovereignty for the member states, in favor of a European federal solution. For example, within the monetary union, national budget laws will be subject to a European supervisory body.


If the euro is to survive, genuine integration, with further transfers of sovereignty to the European level, will be unavoidable. This historic step cannot be taken through the bureaucratic backdoor, but only in the bright light of democratic politics. The EU’s further federalization enforces its further democratization.


Joschka Fischer, Germany’s foreign minister and vice-chancellor from 1998 to 2005, was a leader in the German Green Party for almost 20 years.

Copyright: Project Syndicate/Institute for Human Sciences, 2011.

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