Democracy: For a European Republic

5 April 2013
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung Frankfurt

Whether political leaders or citizens, the pragmatics have failed to build a prosperous and wholly democratic EU. Now it’s the turn of the dreamers. Today, they are the true realists, write political scientist Ulrike Guérot and writer Robert Menasse.

The European heads of state and governments are sitting in a burning house haggling over the total sum they will have to rustle up for the water damages from putting out the fire. The reproach that they have lost contact with the citizens doesn’t ring true: the fact is, they never had any to start with. The system we live in neither provides for nor admits any legitimate representation for the citizens of Europe.

Whoever makes “democratically legitimate” policy at the European level – that is, who has been elected to do so – has come into that position only through national elections and must, to survive politically, defend the fiction of “national interests”. Whoever today at the summits of the European Council always obstructs Community interests to win the approval of the national electorates harms all the others – and, considering how interlocked the nations are within the European single market and the eurozone, harms his own.

Long live the European Republic!

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