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After The Rome Declaration: A Union – Not A State

Fabbrini , Sergio, (2017), “After The Rome Declaration: A Union – Not A State”, Social Europe, 4 April

The Declaration recites: “We will act together, at different paces and intensity where necessary, while moving in the same direction, as we have done in the past, in line with the Treaties and keeping the door open to those who want to join later. Our Union is undivided and indivisible”. Indeed, the EU 27 member states are not moving “in the same direction”, as it should be clear after Brexit, and they are all but “undivided”, as shown by the euro or the migration crises. Ambiguity was necessary for bringing the 27 member state leaders to sign the Declaration. However, given the nature of the discussion (among the Europeanists) on the future of the EU, it was also inevitable. That discussion continues to be held prisoner to false alternatives. On the one hand, there are those who argue that the show must go on just by muddling through, on the other hand there are those who put forward the need for a genuine big bang. For the former what matters is getting the Union machine to work, generating some public good where possible, adapting the integration process to the needs (or electoral schedules) of one or other country. For the latter, however, the EU must move towards a new constitutional Convention to relaunch the goal of an ever-closer union among the 27 countries, as the response to the hard-line positions emanating from Washington D.C. and London.

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