Does the European Union Need to Become a Community?

SPIRe’s Dr. Tobias Theiler asks “Does the European Union Need to Become a Community?” in an article recently published in the Journal of Common Market Studies.  Dr. Theiler takes issue with the claim that in order for the European Union to become a viable democratic polity its citizens must develop an overarching communal identity.  Instead he argues that the norms, motivations and perceptions that make supranational democracy possible can also emerge through processes that do not presuppose shared communal identifications. These include the gradual externalization of domestic democratic norms and practices to the EU level, the incorporation of the resulting supranational democratic attachments back into existing national identifications and the build-up of transnational political trust propelled by the practice of supra-national democracy itself. Such an outcome is not inevitable, but it is conceivable in that it is theoretically coherent and has limited empirical analogies and precedents. The range of options for the EU’s further democratic development is therefore broader and the chances of its success greater than many analysts assume

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