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Democracy versus Solidarity in the EU Discourse

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Jozef Niznik

It is hard to find another two concepts which would be more significant in the European integration discourse than «democracy» and «solidarity» and at the same time more ambiguous in the political practice of integration. Currently European integration discourse is being organized around the concept of democracy. Analyzing European integration discourse the author argues that the situation is quite paradoxical because in order to secure democracy in the EU, European integration discourse must be organized not around the concept of democracy but around the concept of solidarity. The book attempts to show in more details the context of the clash of these fundamental values which serve also as the leading political principles of European integration. Therefore several further concepts and problems have been discussed such as the issue of identity, the concept of citizenship and the problem of nationalism. Since the theoretical framework of the analysis have been built around the idea of discourse the inevitable consequence was to look at some aspects of communication and the links between conceptual and normative development of the European integration.

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Chapter V: Nationalism in European integration discourse

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Chapter V Nationalism in European integration discourse European integration has already been perceived as a success despite all the setbacks we have experienced during the sixty years of history of the European communities, and despite the monetary and financial crisis which hit EU in the second decade of this century. In fact one could argue that the process which ended with the foundation of the European Union is one of the very few exam- ples of implementation of a project which at its beginnings could be correctly called a utopian idea. But developing a utopian idea further can appear more difficult than its suc- cessful practical initiation. It is quite clear that between the construction of the vision of a united Europe and creation of a working society of “Europeans” there are a number of issues which cannot be solved simply by political deci- sions. European integration implies radical changes in the basics of the symbolic universes that all the ethnic groups involved have been building and maintaining for centuries. Therefore the future of European integration does not only depend on solutions in the areas of politics and economics. In fact one may say that the final outcome of the whole process will be decided in the sphere of human minds and in the realm of the symbols which are responsible for an autonomous and powerful world; the socially constructed symbolic world of group existence and co-existence; the world of sameness and distinctiveness, closeness and detachment. The traditions of the...

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