Jean Monnet Center at NYU School of Law



How can one read this collection of essays? We did not try to assign specific tasks to the individual contributors. Each and every one of them represents specific research priorities, long-term orientations and normative preferences. Their interdisciplinary and multi-national composition ensured a range of responses which, in some, would, to some degree, be complementary, in others controversial, hardly ever simply redundant. We also did not bother too much with editing style: on the websites where these contributions were made accessible,2 the voices one could read were authentic, having met only with the lightest touch from the editor's pen. In these printed versions, the English of non-native writers has been edited, albeit not with the ambition of camouflaging the origin of texts.

Hence, it would be futile to try to organise their collective contents along some all-encompassing system. It may, however, be useful to sketch out briefly just three main common themes of this collective exercise. Such guidance may help readers to identify the contributions which are closest to their particular interest. They should, however, also be prepared to detect many more interesting comments which are not included in the following sketch.


'Less than a Federation. More than a Regime'3 - this famous characterisation of the European project has proved to be of long-term validity. But this success stems from its indeterminacy. When proclaiming 'a very simple answer' to the queries posed by this formula, namely 'the transition from a union of states to full parlamentarization as a European Federation', Joschka Fischer had rejected what has so far been a very successful compromise formula. Charles Leben, the contitutionalist, cannot imagine what a 'federation' which is not a State, or, as Giuliano Amato puts it, not a Bundesrepublik, would look like, even though the European citizen Leben would apparently like to see it; Klaus von Beyme, the political scientist, recalls the Lebenslüge of Germany's federalism and Helen Wallace confirms this; not only does the term 'federation' irritate many Britons, as Joschka Fischer knows so well, 'his focus on the finalité of the European Union also baffles' most of them. Tanja Boerzel and Thomas Risse have delivered a systematic treatment of the issue which juxtaposes the conventional legal reconstruction of the EU (with which they find Fischer still identifying himself) with the multi-level governance models circulating in the world of political sciences: tertium datur!

Eastern Enlargement

Reservations against the 'federation' vision are particularly strong in the contributions by Iulia Motoc and Jan Zielonka. Both are afraid of the implications of such a move for the 'standing' of the new members, the loss of the newly gained autonomy. The present institutional system cannot work with so many new member, Joschka Fischer argues. Deepening, however, will provoke the mistrust of the new Member States, von Beyme warns. And Jan Zielonka adds that enlargement is simply incompatible with Joschka Fischer's finalité; to insist on the 'adoption of an 80,000 pages long acquis communautaire' cannot be the Königsweg into a democratic future. The threat of a core Europe may, indeed, strengthen new alliances with British opponents against further integrationist moves. It is illuminating to read observe that all the contributions as fighting with an apparent dilemma: the adherence to a formal structure which will be accompanied by the emergence of a new non-formalised hierarchies on the one hand, institutional changes which should focus on the efficacy of decision-making procedures in the future on the other. The search for a tertium, i.e., an institutional reform within which the economic and social discrepancies, could be addressed and the acceptance of the Union by all its new and old citizens be ensured.

How, then, does one get there?

The title Johan Olsen has chosen for his contribution refers to the institutional programmatic outlined in Fischer's talk: 'a constitutional treaty centred around basic human and civil rights; shared sovereignty and a clear definition of competences between European and nation-state levels of governance; a division of powers among the European institutions, including full parliamentarization and a European Parliament with two chambers, a European Government and, possibly, a directly elected president' entrusted with broad administrative powers. It its not just individual elements of this building which meet with reservation but the very idea of prescribing the ends of the integration process. All disciplines, including even the law, have come to understand integration more as a Hayekian discovery procedure than a pre-thought blueprint, and constitutionalisation more as a process than as an interpretative exercise. Constitutionalism beyond the State has become a theme even within nation states with a strong Staats-tradition. All this implies a search for legitimate governance structures which cannot copy the model of the democratic nation state. Joschka Fischer the citizen may be less surprised than Joschka Fischer the Foreign Minister by the observation that so many among the contributors seem to be more radical than he is in their readiness to rethink Europe's institutional future.
There is a lot more in the contributions - and in Joschka Fischer's speech. This speech was politically successful in that it moved so many otherwise silent minds in the European public. Its was also successful in strengthening the sensitivity of the academic world on a series of issues which deserve to be explored and debated further - in both worlds.

Christian Joerges/ Yves Mény/ Joseph H.H. Weiler


3 William Wallace, Less than a Federation. More than a Regime. The Community as a Political System, in Helen Wallace/William Wallace (eds.) Policy-Making in the European Community, Oxford: Oxford University Press 1983, 403-436.



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