The Italian government is facing internal dissent over the terms and conditions of the European Central Bank’s “sticking plaster”. Meanwhile, in the Irish Times, another supporter of the “European Project”, Thomas Klau, referencing the recent FT article by Otmar Issing I mentioned, at least identifies the fundamental area for discussion.
In the English-language debate particularly, the relationship between democracy and European integration is often most vigorously argued about by Eurosceptics. It is essential for advocates of deeper European integration not to leave the opposing camp in sole occupation of this vital terrain, especially as the issue of parliamentary democracy and euro zone governance is likely to move to the heart of the political debate in Europe.
European democrats must make themselves aware of the possibility that the crisis-fighting and policy-regulating instruments currently cobbled together by national leaders (with some involvement of the European Commission and the European Parliament) push democratic debate and voters’ choices to the margins as they amount to a takeover of the system by national leaders pursuing a Gaullist dream of unfettered executive power.
This is a danger to be identified and fought. Simply put, if national policy-making finds itself subjected to new jointly agreed euro zone constraints or new obligations to exercise euro zone solidarity, then that shrinking of the democratic space at national level must be counterbalanced by an expansion of the scope for democracy at the European level of policy making.
It’s one answer to “the political trilemma…”
But it’s not the only one.
And, as Kevin O’Rourke points out at The Irish Economy blog.
Whether Klau’s preferred solution is likely to come about is another question entirely.
[Europe is still sexy! – Ed] Of course it is.