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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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This book needed to be written because it addresses one of the biggest misunderstandings in European politics. Namely, that more European integration automatically means the creation of a European superstate. On the contrary. More European integration should not be a linear process of more Europe in all domains of life. It should be an opportunity to stop and think in which domains we could do with less Europe (regulation of our internal market, for example) and in which domains we could use more Europe (in defence and foreign affairs, to name just two). More importantly, further European integration should be used to solve one of the biggest flaws the author raises: the lack of democracy within the European Union.

Indeed, we need a political revolution to make Europe more democratic. Let us start with the executive branch: the European Commission. It should be turned into a small government with twelve to fifteen ministers who really are accountable to the European Parliament, instead of the twenty-eight commissioners we have today, who are only collectively accountable to the elected representatives of the people.

The European Parliament then. Yes, it could do more work with less people, but it should also have something to say. The European Parliament should be given more power in the fields of economic policy, energy policy, migration policy and in justice and internal affairs. The European Parliament is also the only parliament in the world that does not have the right to...

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