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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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Introduction

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Before I joined the federalist cause, I associated myself with various social struggles: the fight for cultural pluralism, the movement for a just globalization and various actions seeking equality between men and women. These were all struggles taking place within civil society. Indeed, like many other citizens, I had the feeling that classical partisan and political action had become largely inefficient. My work as an academic had equally convinced me of the uncertainty and slowness of intellectual progress. Little by little, I became more and more sceptical of most of the means I was able to use to contribute to a more just society. National politics seemed desperately blocked and hampered by more distant logics and institutions. I was convinced that Europe was both a problem and a solution for many of the most urgent challenges faced by our societies.

My encounter with the federalist movement Stand Up for Europe in 2013 reignited my willingness to militate for a more democratic, just and efficient Europe. I was immediately struck by the novelty and freshness of this new movement. It was not political or partisan in the strict sense of the term. It was neither an organization attempting to promote narrow interests nor the creation of a bunch of idealistic Europeanists. It simply emanated from the frustration and discontent of several ordinary citizens. Appalled by the current state of the European Union and angered by the inefficiency of traditional politics, its members decided to act by creating...

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