Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
The Idea of a European Superstate

The Idea of a European Superstate: Public Justification and European Integration (New Edition)

With a new afterword by the author Glyn Morgan
Copyright Date: 2005
Pages: 232
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    The Idea of a European Superstate
    Book Description:

    Is there a justification for European integration?The Idea of a European Superstateexamines this--the most basic--question raised by the European Union. In doing so, Glyn Morgan assesses the arguments put forward by eurosceptics and their critics. In a challenge to both sides of the debate, Morgan argues in support of a European superstate. Unless Europe forms a unitary sovereign state, Europe will remain, so he maintains, weak and dependent for its security on the United States.

    The Idea of a European Superstatereshapes the debate on European political integration. It throws down a gauntlet to eurosceptics and euro-enthusiasts alike. While employing the arguments of contemporary political philosophy and international relations, this book is written in an accessible fashion that anyone interested in European integration can understand.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-2805-0
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Introduction
    (pp. 1-23)

    In the spring of 2001, Mr. Steven Thoburn, a greengrocer from Sunderland in the northeast of England, was convicted in district court of selling one pound of bananas. His conviction, which earned him a criminal record, was a result of a European Union (EU) directive requiring all loose fruit to be sold in kilos and grams. Mr. Thoburn—the ʺMetric Martyr,ʺ as the British tabloids were to call him—argued in his defense that the British Weights and Measures Act of 1985 permitted the sale of goods in both imperial and metric measures. Mr. Thoburn insisted that he would continue...

  2. CHAPTER 1 Justification
    (pp. 24-44)

    The project of European integration (as I have defined it) entails a fundamental transformation of Europeʹs current intergovernmental political system. In its sovereignist form, this project involves a transition from a Europe of nation-states to a unitary European state—something akin to a ʺUnited States of Europeʺ—a shift in the locus of ultimate political authority from national governments to a European government. In its postsovereignist form, this project involves the creation of a new type of polity that disperses political authority on a policy by policy basis to a variety of bodies located at different jurisdictional levels (local, national,...

  3. CHAPTER 2 Nationalism
    (pp. 45-55)

    Fifty years ago—roughly at the time when the current process of European integration got going—very few people in European intellectual and scholarly circles had anything very favorable to say about nationalism. Conservatives disliked it because of its revolutionary potential to undermine existing state boundaries; socialists saw it as a threat to the international solidarity of workers; and liberals condemned it as a regressive form of collectivism.¹ In its formative postwar stages, the European project benefited from this animus toward nationalism. Overcoming nationalism and integrating Europe were widely seen as desirable and complementary goals.²

    Nationalism is far more intellectually...

  4. CHAPTER 3 Euroscepticism
    (pp. 56-69)

    Euroscepticism in its broadest sense refers to a political doctrine or movement motivated by hostility to European political integration. The distinctions drawn earlier (in the introduction) between different dimensions of European political integration permit us to distinguish three somewhat different targets of the euroscepticsʹ hostility. One target is theproductof European integration—the EU itself. Eurosceptics variously complain that the EU is (among other things) wasteful, unnecessary, unaccountable, corrupt, protectionist, antidemocratic, and—worst of all—foreign.¹ Another target is theprocessof integration. Eurosceptics complain that this process is undemocratic, secretive, bureaucratic, and ʺdeceptiveʺ (in the sense that ostensibly...

  5. CHAPTER 4 Welfare
    (pp. 70-88)

    Karl Polanyiʹs seminal 1944 text,The Great Transformation, sought to show how modern efforts to create ʺa self-regulating marketʺ invariably led to countervailing efforts to ensure that the market served socially desirable ends.¹ While the two poles of Polanyiʹs dialectical argument—a wholly self-regulating market at one pole, a wholly socialized market at the other—remain, as ever, utterly impractical, political battles continue to be fought over the space between these two poles. Some (market liberals) believe that individuals are best served by aRechtstaat, a polity that does little more than establish the rule of law and enforce contracts;...

  6. CHAPTER 5 Security
    (pp. 89-110)

    Proponents of European integration often claim that European integration has ensured—and continues to ensure—that Europe remains peaceful. From this perspective, the European project finds its justification in Europeʹs own lamentable history of war and interstate conflict. If European integration can bring this history to an end, then the European project has all the justification it needs. Viewed more closely, however, this security-based argument for European integration (as it might be termed) tends to fall apart. Indeed, there are at least three problems with this line of argument.

    The first problem with the security-based justification is that Europe is...

  7. CHAPTER 6 A Postsovereign Europe
    (pp. 111-132)

    The project of European political integration has two very different possible ends: one, a European superstate; and two, a postsovereign European polity. The European superstate—also sometimes described as a ʺfederal Europeʺ—remains the euroscepticsʹ worst nightmare. Before this European superstate can become a reality, it will require the dissolution of all of Europeʹs current sovereign nation-states. So controversial is the idea of a European superstate that most proponents of the European project prefer to rally behind the idea of a postsovereign European polity—also sometimes described as ʺa confederal Europe.ʺ

    Whether a postsovereign polity represents a more modest, less...

  8. CHAPTER 7 A Sovereign Europe
    (pp. 133-157)

    Political theorists have often remarked on the ambiguity of the term ʺsovereignty.ʺ Indeed, one theorist concluded his discussion of the concept with the suggestion that we give up ʺso Protean a word.ʺ¹ Such difficulties have not, however, deterred many eurosceptics from making sovereignty their rallying cry. The loss of sovereignty, as they see it, provides a specific justification for rejecting the project—and perhaps also the current ʺintergovernmentalʺ product—of European integration. This chapter seeks to understand why sovereignty matters, and whether there is any compelling justification for locating sovereignty at either the national or the European level. Clearly, the...

  9. Conclusion
    (pp. 158-170)

    Imagine that, on September 11 next year, terrorists based somewhere in the Maghreb fly hijacked passenger jets into the Westminster parliament, the Reichstag, the Vatican, and the Louvre. These attacks kill thousands. Let it further be imagined that the United States is either preoccupied with China or, in the wake of the recent disasters in Iraq, has lost all appetite for foreign military intervention. After years of complaining about US unilateralism, Europeans now fulminate against US isolationism.

    It is worth bearing this scenario in mind, because given existing military capabilities, Europeʹs nation-states, acting either singly or jointly, would be unable...

  10. Afterword to the Paperback Edition
    (pp. 199-206)

    This book was written against the backdrop of two ambitious projects: the European project to sign a Constitutional Treaty for its (then) twenty-five member states; and the American project to pursue a more unilateral foreign policy. Both projects failed. Europe is today struggling to come to terms with the French and Dutch repudiation of the Constitutional Treaty and, more generally, with a loss of confidence in a ʺdeeper and widerʺ Europe. America is struggling with the consequences of its ill-conceived invasion of Iraq. Despite these changes, there is little I would alter in the argument of this book. Its two...