"Europe is a geographical concept . . ."?
In yesterday's post, I delved into matters that I don't fully understand, namely, the so-called 'democratic deficit' of the European Union, but such delving is necessary these days because of my seminar on multiculturalism and the future of Europe.
Anyway, an anonymous visitor left this message:
Don't make the EU too complicated. Don't diminish freedom in Europe.Vote YES to Free Europe Constitution at [Free Europe].I'm a curious man, so I visited the FEC link. Among its points is the following (number 8):
Decisions in the EU should be made by agreements between governments. Delegation of national legislative power to EU institutions is possible; withdrawal of such powers, both in specific cases and generally is equally possible.This reminds me of the famous liberum veto that kept the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth weak because any member of the assembly could stop legislation by stating "I freely forbid" -- in Latin, "liberum veto." If any national government can withdraw the legislative power that it has delegated to EU, then the EU Parliament will be effectively powerless. Some might think this desirable, but that kind of vacuum at the center didn't do Poland much good in the 18th century, when it was repeatedly divided and partitioned until lost from the map.
I realize that I've offered only a superficial analogy here, but I would like to see more European unity, so long as it is truly democratic, than more European disunity. In the long run, I would like to see a Europe with a real foreign policy and a strong military to add hard power to its soft power. Europe should not be incapable of effective action -- the Bosnian crisis was an early indicator of what can happen even on the EU's borders if it lacks an ability to act.
But let's not get into that. Instead, I'd like to note a puzzling statement enunciated in the FEC's point number 1:
Europe is a geographical concept, and European is as such not necessarily good or bad.I disagree with the apparent premise. Europe is not merely a geographical concept. The French philosopher Rémi Brague has devoted an entire book, Europe, la voie romaine, to the concept of European identity. His book has been translated as Eccentric Culture: A Theory of Western Civilization, and I've previously blogged favorably about Brague's views.
My point is that Europeans have a transnational identity that might not be as strongly felt as their various national identities, but that common identity is no less real for being rooted in things other than 'blood'.
For more on Brague, see the links or search Gypsy Scholar blog.