EU opinion & policy debates - across languages |

Many people think, some even hope that the future of the EU leads into a federal superstate. The idea is not completely groundless, as the EU member states slowly – but surely – give up more and more of their sovereignty, which is often told to be irreversible (as the matter of fact, the authorization given to the Union cannot be withdrawn one-sidedly).

Indeed, we can recall some important ECJ judgements [like Costa v ENEL (1964); Commission v. France (1971) and Amministrazione delle Finanze v. Simmenthal (1977)], which concluded that

– the acquis communautaire has priority over the national law; because if “any (…) national legislative measures (…) are incompetible with the provisions of community law had any legal effect (…) [that] would imperil the very fondations of the community”;

– having set up a community with it’s own powers, “member states have limited their sovereign rights (…) and have thus created a body of law which bides both their nationals and themselves”.  This is a permanent limitation of sovereignty, which can be withdrawn only in tune with the EU and the other member states. Or (of course) by leaving the Union.

In the news it often appears that member states agreed on issues, which are obligatory and irreversible for all of them. These are often taken as a European conquest, a fight against sovereign states. It might be so, if the EU worked more “strict”. But it does not. There’s always a backlash in the judicial system, both at national and supranational level. If a member state signs the Charter of Human Rights, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it will abrogate, say, the Beneš decrees.

An other weakness is clearly shown by the fuss with the Hungarian media act: the member states act separately from the Union, on political grounds. There are issues, when it comes to the slack coordination between the supranational Commission and the two councils with the Parliament (latter ones are mostly influenced by member states). In spite of the fact that the Treaties should bound them together.

Till there’s such a power struggle between national and supranational level, there will never be even the slightest chance for a federal Union. What’s the cure? Strike member states out.

Mission impossible.

In other words: the common values, rights and obligations (which have been transmitted from national to European level) don’t necessarily work in practice, because there’s a definitional uncertainity. And there will always be – this is Europe’s cultural heritage.

The European multiculturalism (that we are proud of) doesn’t only mean different types of buildings and food, but also means “mental divergences”.

These differences cannot be forced into one common way of thinking.

Author :
EurActiv Network