20th Karlsruhe Dialogues - Speakers
Participatory Democracy in the EU: A Challenge for Multilevel Governance
Prof. Dr. em. Johannes W. Pichler
1. In your opinion, what are the values that unite the European Union?
Only the legal values and constitutional values, exactly as they stand in the treaties, i.e. the Treaty on European Union (TEU), the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (CFR), and the Treaty of Lisbon. No more than that, but also no less. These legal values alone should be gradually fortified. How can a joint European identity be better fostered in the future? By the above-mentioned legal values being respected, lived, and borne by all, without exception; by each and every person being able to claim these values, and if necessary also by a stronger enforcement of these values. A community requires a sense of community. This European community has legislated and constitutionalised its ‘sense’; it is a Europe of law. No one has yet had the courage or the will to communicate this, because: it is too complex and too abstract. The ‘vulnerable’ euro has simply been turned into the anchorman of bonuses – this has not produced any identity nor has it sown any ‘spirit’, and it certainly has not found a narrative. How could things be improved? The European idea has to be brought to the emotional level, it has to point Europeans toward ‘hope and pride’. The development of such a feeling would be entirely justified – but unfortunately the personnel in charge of such proclamations are not authentic.
2. Are alternative models – such as a multi-speed Europe or a European Federation of Regions – conceivable?
Absolutely. For a legal historian, it is all just a matter of the overall intended architecture; constitutional legal formations and organisational structures can always be found.
3. Do you think that the current nationalist tendencies are a short-term phenomenon caused by recent crises; or do they represent the beginning of a long-term development?
The latter, clearly. This is now the litmus test for the European motto in varietate concordia (united in diversity): how much thinning out of concordia can a political union stand; when will it break into pieces? For the less one believes in a strong European identity and a powerful Union (for example, one should be able to trust in its capacity to deal with a mass migration of people), the more strongly one leans – disappointedly – back on one’s own ‘small’ ancestral identity. Those responsible for concordia will have to come up with something very quickly, otherwise nothing but diversity will be left.