Abstract

Abstract:

According to Jean Arthuis, Brexit is a chance for Europe. It casts a cruel light on the institutional fragility of the European Union, whose functioning is hardly defensible to public opinion. Beyond the EU's significant achievements—peace on the Continent, freedom of movement, the single market, the euro—the deficits in democracy and governance are enormous. The time has come to identify the "public goods" that EU Member States can effectively assume at the national level, on the one hand, and those that must now be collectively supported within the Union, on the other. More than ever, Europeans need "public goods", some of which can be made available to them only by Europe. A Europe with sovereign powers (money, economy and finance, diplomacy, armed defense, digital, energy, etc.) that is governed accordingly so as to boost its economy, ensure full employment, control migratory flows, combat terrorism, ensure security, and fight against tax fraud. A Europe that speaks to Europeans. This is why Brexit gives Europe a chance to set itself the goal of becoming a world power. After all, the United States of America was born of a divorce from the English crown; let us hope that our English friends will repeat the feat and that Brexit will be the catalyst of a United States of Europe.

According to Henry Farrell, for decades, the European Union has sought to increase its democratic legitimacy in the eyes of citizens, by making good policy, by enhancing the powers of the European Parliament, and by providing greater power to national parliaments. None of this has worked particularly well, and some measures have had the perverse consequence of enabling populist nationalists like Britain's UK Independence Party. The European Union would be better served by accepting the inevitability of political disagreement, and indeed harnessing it, by providing individuals with the real opportunity to vote on which kind of "Europe" they wanted. The lessons of Ernest Gellner and other scholars are that legitimacy is an effect rather than a cause, and that structured contention provides the best means towards stability and effectiveness.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1918-6649
Print ISSN
0730-479X
Pages
pp. 37-48
Launched on MUSE
2018-06-01
Open Access
No
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