In A Community of Europeans?, a thoughtful observer of
the ongoing project of European integration evaluates the state of
the art about European identity and European public spheres. Thomas
Risse argues that integration has had profound and long-term
effects on the citizens of EU countries, most of whom now have at
least a secondary "European identity" to complement their national
identities. Risse also claims that we can see the gradual emergence
of transnational European communities of communication.
Exploring the outlines of this European identity and of the
communicative spaces, Risse sheds light on some pressing questions:
What do "Europe" and "the EU" mean in the various public debates?
How do European identities and transnational public spheres affect
policymaking in the EU? And how do they matter in discussions about
enlargement, particularly Turkish accession to the EU? What will be
the consequences of the growing contestation and politicization of
European affairs for European democracy?
This focus on identity allows Risse to address the "democratic
deficit" of the EU, the disparity between the level of decision
making over increasingly relevant issues for peoples' lives (at the
EU) and the level where politics plays itself out-in the member
states. He argues that the EU's democratic deficit can only be
tackled through politicization and that "debating Europe" might
prove the only way to defend modern and cosmopolitan Europe against
the increasingly forceful voices of Euroskepticism.
Subjects: Political Science
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