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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 4: Common Policies for a Sovereign Europe


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Common Policies for a Sovereign Europe

Let us highlight again one of the main analyses this book is based on: the sharing or division of sovereignty engendered by decades of partial Europeanization has, in practice, led to a dramatic loss in effective genuine power: it has affected national sovereignty and has not allowed for the creation of a properly European sovereign entity. This evolution is the main reason for the rise of anti-European and other forces of fragmentation. Populist movements indeed denounce this demise of effective political agency and pretend to re-establish the unity of sovereignty at national or regional levels. The alternative solution sketched in this book points towards a totally different direction by proposing to revive sovereignty at the European level.

This supposes to move away from the tradition of sui generis European federalism and to return to the basics of this tradition. In this respect, countries such as the United States can be a useful source of inspiration. In proper federal states, sovereignty is neither divided nor shared but remains unitary. Only competences are shared between the central state and federated levels. This means that only the former possesses sovereign powers on crucial matters such as macro-economic policy, coercive powers and the control of borders. Our attempt in this book has been to reclaim the concept of sovereignty and to refurbish it. For that purpose, a mere transposition of national sovereignty to the European level...

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