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Democracy versus Solidarity in the EU Discourse


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 VI: European integration discourse and compliance with European norms: making a supranational order


Chapter VI European integration discourse and compliance with European norms: making a supranational order The power of European integration discourse has been best demonstrated by the complex process of compliance with European norms. In fact, analysis of the relations between discourse and norms may serve as a theory of supranational order making. After all, the European Union is a supranational political system no matter whether it is perceived as a federation in the making or as a confederal system closer to an international organization. The debate between those in favour of intergovernmental governance and those stressing the need for further development of supranational common institutions and policies has been to a great extent focused on the question of how to build an effective decision making system while preserving specific priorities (different for the two parties in the debate) regarding distribution of competences between the Union and the Member States. The discourse employed in this debate happens to be a medium which not only articulates specific norms but also imposes quite definite conditions to compliance with them. The norms agreed do not necessarily conform with one or another of those two attitudes regarding the form of a political system of the EU. Therefore, we observe a number of situations when the norms that are expected to be followed by all contradict – directly or indirectly –the political orientations (regarding the nature of the political system of the EU) of specific actors. Moreover, the meaning of fundamental concepts depends on the overall structure...

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