Putting Europe back on its feet – A timely wake-up call

1. Are „Eurocrats“ to blame for the bad shape of Europe?

First of all, one has to ask whether „Eurocrat“ is a meaningful term at all. Obviously one can find lots of examples in the European law and politics that demonstrate a kind of hubris and at the same time a complete failure to accomplish the goals of the „European Project“ – one needs to mention only the grand „Lisbon“ prospect of technological modernisation. In retrospect this sounds like the rhetoric of the late Soviet system that even at its later stage could not imagine failure and regarded „programmes“ as the blue print of an ever improving future reality. Reference to the Soviet system does obviously not include the oppressive aspects of communism but rather the tenacity of „Seeing like a State“ (J. S. Scott) – as opposed to indulging in the observation of the fragmented realities of different societies with their own multiple histories that are full of specific hidden intricacies of implicit social norms, patterns of behaviour, forms of life, memories, which are characteristic for the „instituted society“ as opposed to the „constituted society“ of explicit (legal) norms , as the French philosopher Vincent Descombes (2013) has it. The idea of progress leads to a superimposition of the forward looking „horizon of expectation“ („Erwartungshorizont“) on the backward looking „space of experience“ (Reinhard Koselleck). Many of the conflicts over the European „constitutionalism“ can be explained with a view to the dominance of the „Erwartungshorizont“ of a new political constitution and the establishment of a new „constituted society“: the „Erwartungshorizont“ can be broadened, one can give up the „Erfahrungsraum“ of the nation state and as a consequence the nation-based society. „Yes, we can …“ change from a narrow-minded to a broad-minded view of the future ...

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