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What a European Constitution Could and Could not Achieve

Author / Editor:

Scharpf, Fritz W.


With the commitment of Eastern European Enlargement and the Nice Summit disputes over the future shape of the European polity and an European Constitution have gained in importance. Fritz W. Scharpf analyses in this article various aspects of the ongoing debate - modes of governing in the EU, new challanges in fields of Foreign, Security and Social Policy - and points out that Europe must cope with the legitimate diversity and that there must be opportunities for "differentiatede integration":
"What we need, in academic as well as in political discourses, is a better understanding of the distinction between legitimate and illegitimate diversity. Even if protectionism is illegitimate, it does not follow that all measures designed to protect or promote environmental, social or cultural goals at the national or subnational level must be automatically illegitimate as well if they depart from the ideal of perfectly competitive markets. And even if European solutions are considered necessary, it does not follow that these must ignore all existing differences in the economic, institutional, cultural and political conditions of EU member states. It is these issues, I suggest, which ought to preoccupy the present constitutional debate in the multi-level European polity."


Harvard University, Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Working Paper, January 2003



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