After the Eurocrats‘ Dream, the Contingence of the History

The Eurocrats’ dream was the stealth Europe. The Monnet method of bureaucratic integration has been mechanical and furtive, dominated by necessity. The principal leaders of integration, on the right and the left, have been driven by a crude determinism that presumed that economic development would inevitably lead to desired institutional improvements. The hidden hand of functional imperatives has been more important than reflection and choices, as if integration could be carried out without the need to make express decisions of the kind that are contained in constitutional moments. All of this has given way to an incrementalism without explicit decisions, which the least benevolent among us could interpret as a directionless process. The integration strategy consisted of conceding primacy to processes over results and assuming that success was guaranteed (Majone 2014, 216). In the golden age of integration, the image of a technocratic and distant Europe did not imply any type of reproach but a neutral observation or even something expressly meant to help achieve the objectives of integration. There was no need to count on the explicit support of the citizenry because they did not seem concerned about matters of integration, nor did they understand them.

But this is not our situation; we are after that dream, as the authors of this remarkable book remind us. Europe continues to delegate, of course, but it cannot function without a greater degree of tacit democratic consent. The EU is no longer a collective of technocratic institutions and agencies that resolve problems of coordination between democratically legitimized governments without the people taking an interest in them. It is no longer true that supranational affairs lack political salience for the citizenry, at least not in the era of a globalized economy, climate change or global migration ...

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