Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Habermas on the Fiscal Compact

In an article in the web magazine "Reset - Dialogues on Civilizations" (March 12, 2012), Jürgen Habermas discuss the Fiscal Compact:

"Bringing the Integration of Citizens into line with the Integration of States"

“More Europe” is the correct answer to a crisis which has brought to light a construction flaw of the European Monetary Union. The political decision-making capability required to offset the economic imbalances that have arisen in the euro zone is lacking. The necessary convergence among the national economic developments that are drifting apart can be brought about in the longer term only by cooperation within the framework of a democratically organized community of joint liability in which certain forms of redistribution across national borders are also accepted as legitimate. The Fiscal Compact represents a first step in this direction.

[.....] what Merkel and Sarkozy envisage is in essence an intergovernmental form of cooperation, that is, a politically inconspicuous step toward further integration of the states, not of the citizens. The heads of state of the seventeen euro countries assembled in the European Council are supposed to remain firmly in control. In pursuing this course, however, they would be equipped with competences of economic governance that annul the budgetary prerogative of the national parliaments. We would then have to reckon with a post-democratic empowerment of the executive on an unprecedented scale. The unavoidable protest of the parliaments stripped of their powers will at least reveal the gap in legitimation that can be closed only through democratic reform of the interplay among the EU bodies.

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