Impulses for a european policy agenda of the future
- Asserting a European identity without empirical evidence of it in the lives of European citizens would be detrimental to the integration project. Reflections on the possibility of European identity must take place within the framework of the sovereignty debate and be related to the question of sovereignty.
- The legitimacy of the European Union must be renegotiated. Questions of space, sovereignty and identity should provide central points of orientation for political and social discourse. The retreat to a functional logic of integration (market integration), which supposedly facilitates acceptance, may seem attractive in the face of growing Euroscepticism, but it ultimately alienates the citizens of the Union from the integration project. Instead of keeping the question of legitimacy in a supposedly apolitical limbo, there is a need for contentious and at the same time committed debates about Europe's spheres of validity (space), capacity to act (sovereignty) and values (identity).
- The discourse on European policy must address in particular the question of sovereignty, which is the linchpin or anchor point of the integration process. European sovereignty alludes primarily to an external, realpolitik independence vis-à-vis other geopolitical actors, but not to an inward-looking competence of the European Union in relation to its member states. Instead of merely asserting the EU's sovereignty, scholars and politicians must therefore work out much more precisely what is meant by the European Union's "strategic sovereignty," how this differs from mere strategic autonomy, what competences the Union needs to achieve strategic sovereignty, and whether this must not ultimately also involve a change in the structure of sovereignty in the internal relationship.
- Europe is currently experiencing an identity crisis because traditional narratives that bind it together are obviously not (or no longer) sustainable. However, these narratives are of utmost importance for the everyday life of European citizens. In order to stop the progressive erosion of the European integration project, new common narratives are needed that, despite diversity and plurality, offer the potential for a convinced identification with Europe and its values. This enables new integration dynamics and, ultimately, new debates on the question of sovereignty.
- Questions of space are constitutive for the genesis of a European political public sphere. However, they should not refer to a geographical demarcation from non-Europe, but should be used for the positive determination of an "imagined space" of Europe's common values and norms. Such attempts of determination will without question provoke (fruitful) processes of contestation (contestations in the sense of A. Wiener). These may seem risky at first glance, but they are just as indispensable for the genesis of a European political public as they are for the spillover from economic to political integration, which has often been claimed but is far from being realized.
Translated by Martin Lieberich. Martin Lieberich is a research associate at the Europa-Kolleg Hamburg.