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For a Sovereign Europe

Sophie Heine

While anti-European forces are still raging, pro-Europeans seem impotent and deprived of a strong, clear and convincing alternative. This book is an attempt to fill that void: reacting to the anti-European wave, it also outlines a strong criticism both of the current EU and of its advocates. Far from the Europeanist defence of the status quo, it proposes an original and radical project of European sovereignty. Its message is both critical and propositional.

This book is therefore original in its method, approach and content. It distinguishes itself from most of the literature on the subject by going beyond the narrow cleavage opposing mainstream anti- and pro- Europeans. In this general polemic, anti-European arguments usually promote a return to sovereignty at the national level, while pro-Europeans justify the existing EU configuration and its so-called "sharing" or "division" of sovereignty. Despite being clearly in favour of a deeper European integration in some fields, Sophie Heine refuses to throw away the classical concept of sovereign power. Relying on a rich literature and deploying a theoretical and strategic argument, she proposes to rehabilitate this notion at a supra-national level while avoiding the common traps of national sovereignty. This allows her to propose a redefinition of European federalism connected to her broader liberal approach.

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Chapter 2: Sovereignty without Identity: For a New Cosmopolitan Approach


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Sovereignty without Identity: For a New Cosmopolitan Approach

For centuries, nationalism has been one of the main sources of legitimacy for sovereign nation-states. But identity-based legitimacy can exist at other levels too: regionalist movements develop a regional form of nationalism, while some pro-Europeans plea for a reinforcement of Euro-nationalism. It is particularly tempting for those who appeal to the creation of a sovereign European government to find sources of legitimacy in a shared identity. Departing from these approaches, our vision of political legitimacy is both original and radically liberal. We will develop this in more details in the next chapter. Here we will mainly focus on the general principles of legitimacy and on its links with identity. For that purpose, we will first explain why political communitarianism – whether in the form of regional, national or European nationalism – is to be avoided and is, contrary to a very common assumption, not necessary for the functioning of political institutions. In our critical approach to communitarianism, we will only focus on the links it establishes between politics and a common identity.1 We will then pursue our argument by critically discussing the existing alternative conceptions: this will give us the opportunity to expose a renewed and streamlined understanding of cosmopolitanism compatible with our argument in favour of European sovereignty. ← 21 | 22 →

Various forms of nationalism

In political theory and in concrete political debates, those who push for a clear and...

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