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European Integration

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  • 1. The Future of The European Union Supranational or Intergovernmental Approach: In the Context of the Irish, French, and Dutch “No”
  • 2. Introduction and Background
    • Though the idea of European unification has been around for centuries, a United States of Europe was first publicly endorsed by Sir Winston Churchill in 1946 calling for a United States of Europe
      • We must build a kind of United States of Europe. In this way only will hundreds of millions of toilers be able to regain the simple joys and hopes which make life worth living.
  • 3. Introduction and Background
    • Intergovernmentalism- theory which proposes a weak “Brussels” and favors sovereignty of nations over that of the Union.
    • Margaret Thatcher was the epitome of intergovernmental theory. She desired cooperation without ceding sovereignty
  • 4. Thatcher’s Response to EU
    • “ Yes, the Commission wants to increase its powers. Yes, it is a non-elected body and I do not want the Commission to increase its powers at the expense of the House, so of course we differ. The President of the Commission, Mr.. Delors, said at a press conference the other day that he wanted the European Parliament to be the democratic body of the Community, he wanted the Commission to be the Executive and he wanted the Council of Ministers to be the Senate. No. No. No.”
  • 5. Introduction (cont)
    • Supranationalism- a European theory which proposes the ceding of sovereignty of individual nations to foster a better and more prosperous Europe
  • 6. The Constitution
    • The French,Dutch, and Irish “No!” was a result of mainly 4 problems which those voters had:
      • Fear of loss of national sovereignty
      • Neo-liberal reform to the labor market and welfare system
      • Transparency and lack of EuroParl power
      • Nationalist fear that Brussels would destroy national culture and tradition
  • 7. At a Crossroads…
    • The European Union felt that they had solved the problems caused by the original French and Dutch “No” with the Reform Treaty
        • The Reform Treaty was a scaled down and edited version of the Constitutional Treaty
    • The Irish “No” caused the EU to violently spiral into another state of confusion about the future much like the one caused by the French and Dutch “No”
  • 8. Possible Solutions
    • Supranationalism- provides closer ties to the citizens because the parliament is the basis of all power (along with the national parliaments)
  • 9. A New Union
  • 10. A Vision for the Future
    • Drastic reform of the European Union is needed and the supranational approach, in many opinions, is by far the best but most difficult:
      • The European Parliament would become a bicameral legislature:
        • Lower House (represents the people)
        • Upper House (represents the national governments)
  • 11. System of Government
    • The European Union would run on the general parliamentary system of Europe with a separation of head of government and head of state but no distinction between the executive (government) and the legislature
      • The EU Judicial System would remain politically and nationally neautral
  • 12. The Executive
    • The head of government would be Prime Minister/President of the Commission) who would be the head of the largest party/coalition in the lower chamber he/she would then form a government (cabinet). The entire government must be elected MEP’s
      • The government has the right of legislative initiation
  • 13. The Legislature
    • The lower chamber would be directly elected by the people every 5 years on the basis of proportional representation with a closed party list system
      • A 5% threshold would be implemented
      • This would be implemented in all member states
    • The upper chamber would consist of representatives of each national government.
      • Every member will have 2 representatives
      • The representative may not be a minister or member of the government
  • 14. The Legislature
    • The lower house has the right of initiative on legislation concerning most topics save for two
      • Change/reformation of economic/financial matters including labor market reform
      • Matters of national security and common foreign policy matters including military action
      • Bills concerning these points must be initiated in the Upper House first
  • 15. Legislation
    • All bills must be passed by both houses of parliament. The lower house initiates then sends it to the upper house for approval or vice versa.
    • The upper chamber may reject it by sending it back to the lower house for revision or vice versa.
    • If this process happens three times then the legislation is sent to the national parliaments for approval (2/3 of national parliaments needed)
  • 16. Head of State
    • The Union would have a President as its head of state. It would be mostly ceremonial with limited powers. Their main roles would be:
      • Dismiss Parliament on the Prime Ministers advice
      • Ask a Prime Minister to form a government
      • Accept a Prime Ministers resignation
      • Give assent to legislation
      • Represent the EU abroad
      • Accredit diplomats to the EU from other nations
  • 17. Election of Head of State
    • The European Council (Heads of State and Government) would choose a candidate to stand for President then:
      • Both houses of parliament plus 10 representatives from the Committee of the Regions must approve the candidate by a 2/3 majority
  • 18. Loss of Confidence
    • If confidence is lost then the President,
      • Asks the majority party to reshuffle government ministries and positions until confidence is restored if not,
      • He would would choose the government himself until confidence is gained (technocrats, members of upper house). His last resort is,
      • Create a unity government and hold elections within a year
  • 19. Withdraw
    • Any member state may leave at any time
    • Any member who has violated human rights will be immediately sanctioned and may be expelled from the union
  • 20. Intergovernmental
    • The other option that the EU has is to focus more on the cooperation of national governments of member states
      • National Governments have more power
        • Especially over matters of finance/labor market reform and CFSP matters
      • No more/more limited ceding of sovereignty to Brussels
        • "We have not successfully rolled back the frontiers of the state in Britain, only to see them re-imposed at a European level with a European super-state exercising a new dominance from Brussels".
            • Thatcher, Bruges 1988
  • 21. Intergovernmental (cont)
    • This model would keep the status quo of the current model. However some changes would be made:
      • Keep EuroParl powers over national legislatures weak
      • More power to the Council of Ministers
        • No QMV*, all decisions must be made unanimously
      • Make the European Council (Heads of State and Government) an official institution with final say over legislation and the right to inititate it.
        • Along with the national parliaments
  • 22. The Future of Europe
    • After the rejection of the Constitution the EU called for a ‘period of reflection’:
      • “ Hence the need for us to reflect together on this situation. This period of reflection will be used to enable a broad debate to take place”
          • Press release from European Council June 16-17 2005
    • It has been three years since France and The Netherlands rejected the treaty and only months since the Irish rejection; now European leaders must once again “reflect” and come up with a new plan
      • Have another Irish vote
      • Draft a new treaty
      • Drop the treaty idea all together and start from scratch
  • 23. The Future of Europe
    • “ We need to think about how we make the constitution a success”
      • German Chancellor Angela Merkel
  • 24. The Future of Europe
    • “ The Italian Republic is, now more than ever, committed to European integration and eventually unification”
      • Romano Prodi
        • Former Italian Prime Minister and President of the Commission
  • 25. Critics of EU integration/unification
    • Gianfranco Fini, Italian Deputy PM, Foreign Minister, leader of Alleanza Nazionale (left)
    • David Cameron, leader of the Conservative Party and leading British Eurosceptic (right)
  • 26. Conclusions
    • Europe is and always will be a strong force in global politics. The EC was started for many reasons:
      • Prevent War
      • Foster a European “brotherhood”
      • Improve the quality of life for all Europeans
      • No matter what path of integration the nations of Europe decide to embark upon the points of the founding fathers of Europe, like Alcide di Gaspieri, Robert Schumann, Jean Monet must be left intact.
  • 27. Suggestions for the Future
    • By 2010 a new Convention on the Future of Europe should be held and, along with an Intergovernmental Conference, and a decision must must be made in reagrds to the future path of integration