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Christian Freudlsperger Cristina Juverdeanu Isabel Winnwa

From national political traditions to European federalism? A Case Study of five EU Member States
Research Paper for Sciences Po Paris’ “Projet Collectif” in cooperation with Atelier Europe Presentation: 24th April 2013

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I. Introduction: Approaches to a European concept of “federalism” Consensus on the meaning of concepts does not necessarily entail consensus on the objectives that concepts represent. There are, certainly, cases where the lack of common understanding of a matter helped arriving at a consensus. Nevertheless, in most cases, consensus on the meaning is a prerequisite towards agreement and setting of common objectives. Both academic and political debate discuss the problem of European federalism. Still, consensus on the meaning of the concept is far from being reached. Trying to find a unanimously accepted definition of federalism is not the aim of this paper. On the contrary, our purpose here is to show the divergence of perspectives. Our hypothesis is that the divergence in the understanding of what European federalism could be among the factors that keep the member states from heading towards a deepened integration. Following Jean-Luis Quermonne’s argument, we could assume that lack of knowledge on the Union’s destination may be one of the explanations for the Union’s dysfunctions (Quermonne, 2008, p. 78). In the first part, focusing on the case-studies of Belgium, Germany, Greece, Romania and the United Kingdom, we review the elements that distinguish the different perspectives, creating the divergent understanding of federalism. In the latter part we emphasize the common elements on which a consensus could be built. a) The rigid distinction federalism-confederalism The classic academic debate on federalism turns around the comparison between federalism and confederalism. Olivier Beaud pays special attention to the characteristics and the role of this dichotomy, considering that the core of the distinction between federal state and confederation is the notion of sovereignty: “it attempts to establish which one of these two federative forms is sovereign” ( Beaud, 2007, p. 72). From a dichotomous perspective, the notions of federal state and of confederation are to be distinguished along various elements. One of the main distinctions is the one between “treaty”, which is said to characterize confederations and “constitution”, specific to states, and, in this case to the federal state. This debate, which reached its peak in 2004-2005 with the attempt at establishing a European constitution, regroups, on one side the communitarians, and the constitutionalists on the other. From a legal point of view, on one hand, within a confederation, the relationship between entities falls within the scope of international law, whereas in federal states it is regulated by internal law. Nevertheless, it should be taken into account that the federal state also has an external side, governed by international law. Following Beaud’s reasoning, the distinction is also driven by different voting requirements. In an intergovernmental structure, usually, unanimity is required, whereas in federal states, majority is normally the rule for decision making. As far as the relationship between the citizens and the decision-making instance is concerned, the confederation is characterized by an indirect form of dialogue. In the meantime, the decision-making entities of the federal state are closer to the citizen. Ronald Watts defines a federal system by emphasizing the role of the distinct political units, as well as the fact that each one of them is empowered to directly deal “with citizens in the exercise of a significant portion of its legislative, administrative and tax powers” (Watts, 1998, p. 121) and each of these entities is directly elected by the citizens. By way of contrast, he argues that, in confederal systems, the entities do not have direct electoral and fiscal base, and neither do they operate directly on the citizens. Sergio Fabbrini considers that EU’s comparison with the federal system of the United States is essential even though not sufficient “to capture the entire EU institutional dynamics” (Fabbrini, 2005, p. 11). In his view, “what appears to be distinctive about the EU territorial organization is exactly the coexistence of confederal and federal institutions and processes” (Fabbrini, 2005, p. 10). Nevertheless, he argues that this kind of overlap may also exist within the member states (the

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case of the German Bundesrat as an example). When it comes to the European Union, Febbrini distinguishes between some main confederal elements, such as the European Council and some federal institutions: the Commission, the Central Bank, the Court of Justice and the European Parliament. Thus, at its present state, the European Union doesn’t match either one of the two categories. Apart from being incapable of describing reality, this normative ‘dichotomous approach’ has the disadvantage of being simplifying and transforming into a concept any kind of distinctions between the two types of organization. b) Beyond the state-centric approach to federalism In our opinion, this rigid dichotomy can be overcome once we have accepted the separation of two concepts: the concept of state and the concept of federalism. This “destatization”, as Quermonne calls it, entails a major change in the role of the state, as it no longer is the unique and mandatory top of the pyramid. In this perspective, a multi-strata organization emerges and the position of the state is an opened matter, as it may still be at the top of the pyramid but also at its bottom. This distribution of authority at the subnational and at the supranational levels of power is best defined by Gary Marks (1993) through the concept of “multi-level governance”. His theory on the decision-making at the European aggregate level, is interesting to us because it presents a form of emancipation from the state-centric approach. As far as the federalist theories are concerned, Olivier Beaud considers that the attention paid to the concept of state, within the dichotomy federal state and confederation of state prevented us from properly analyzing the various and distinct forms of federalism. Thus, he attempts “to substitute these two concepts by another concept, that of federation, in order to rethink the federal matter” (Beaud, 2007, p.93). Using a historical perspective, Beaud identifies some c ommon elements to all forms of federation. Although autonomous from the state, this kind of organization still encompasses two levels: that of the Federation and that of the member states. The main argument concerns the principle of “federative duality” referring to, on one hand, the independence of the entities and on the other hand, their interdependence. Thus, for this principle to be applicable the most important element is the institutional relationship between the federal entities. This simplifying scheme of Beaud’s theory has the advantage of pointing out some of the main characteristics of the European Union today. As the author himself puts it, the theory and the application of federalism are extremely loyal one to the other. This is why we consider that the divergences in the political and academic debate do matter when it comes to the application of European federalism. Visions in member state affect the Union’s evolution. II. Country Case Studies A. Belgium – one of the few federal states of the EU as a pioneer for European federalism? a) Belgium and federalism – a struggle rather than a tradition Before tackling the question of the perception of European federalism within Belgium, it is important to pinpoint the federal structure of the Belgian state itself. In fact, Belgium, together with Germany and Austria, is one of the few federal states among the Member states of the European Union. However, as we will illustrate, compared to the other two, Belgium is a very recent and structurally fragile federal state. The federal state has only been introduced in 1993 and is therefore not only much more recent than the German federalism, but shows fundamental divergences in its composition and functioning. It has been classified as a differential federalism and characterized by the fact that the geographical units in a relatively consistent state refer to their regional particularities. The current

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federal state is the result of several state reforms, which tried to resolve the cultural tensions between the communities by decentralization of competences and the recognition of language communities: the regions Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels, and the respective communities. The latter define themselves in accordance with the nationality of their members, the Flemish, the French and the German community. Each level has proper, mostly exclusive, competences, Parliaments, governments and administrations. The system is complicated by the absence of a federal state clause, because the federal law does not have priority over the regional law. Belgium also has no national parties covering the whole federation, but parties relating to the ethnic groups or regions, parties defending special interests which appeal to a particular voting bloc. One can relate the introduction of federalism in Belgium to the attempt to prevent the collapse of the artificially created Belgian state. So far, this constellation has lead to conflicts in almost every elective period, difficulties in finding a coalition are conditioned by the requirement to represent the different language communities, which usually leads to short government periods. b) Belgium, a mirror of the debate about the concept of federalism Ever since the Belgian state was founded its legitimacy has been questioned. The transition from a central state to a federal one did not solve the conflicts between communities fearing to be dominated, the formal cohesion of the federal state cannot cover up the internal division into subnations tending to isolate. Despite strong separatist tendencies the dissolution of the Belgian state has not been an option so far, because the different language communities and regions are formally, administratively and also politically too strongly connected and intertwined. Federalism seems to be the only model to solve conflicts between ethnic and linguistic groups on one territory. However, a truly functional government will only be possible in Belgium if there is clarity about the concept of federalism and if an agreement can be reached among the different communities about whether or not the federal model should be preserved in Belgium. Clearly, Belgium needs a reform of federalism. Studies and surveys conducted within the different language communities to detect their attitude are not conclusive, as they seem to show that though it is commonly accepted that federalism is the best solution in order to secure peaceful coexistence of the communities within Belgium, there seems to be very little will to support and strengthen this very federal state. c) Belgium, a supporter of “European federalism”? Does this difficult experience with federalism mean that Belgium is a less fervent supporter of federalism for the European Union? Pascal Delwit (2011) underlines that Belgium is in fact in favor of a federalist approach to European integration, under the condition that the concept of federalism applied to the EU is a democratic one, and not just a transfer of competences to supranational agencies lacking democratic legitimacy and control, without possible intervention of national political authority. The majority of Belgian political leaders and elite are in favor of a federal design for Europe, however, for them it has to be a political project, with a primacy of the decision making by political leaders rather than technocratic agencies. Visibly, all the important euro-federalist movements, like the Union of European federalist and Young European federalists, are present and very active in Belgium. They highlight the necessity to move towards a closer political union, close to citizens and based on a democratic model of decision-making, an administration based on subsidiarity and they are even in favor of the adoption of a federal constitution for the EU. Nevertheless, it is very difficult to measure, especially given the many disparities between the Belgian communities, if European federalism is supported widely by citizens and public opinion as well, the debate about the future of the Belgian nation-

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state seemingly being predominant. Recent Eurobarometer surveys (58 and 78) reveal that almost a majority of Belgians are in favor of the development of the European Union towards a federation (47%), which is not outstanding compared to Poland (63%), Czech Republic (55%) and France (55%), but clearly puts Belgium in the camp of the supporters of a deeper integration and the prospect of federalism, compared to the most federation-opposed nations: Denmark (76%), Sweden (71%), UK (54%). In fact, Belgians count among the 14 nations who majorly support European integration (30%), Belgians even declare themselves European citizens (63%) more often than other European peoples and when interrogated on the necessity of European Union having a formal Constitution, the Belgian are also largely favorable (58%). In the meantime, a majority demands a reform of the European institutions towards a more democratic model of decision making where citizens are more involved, 48% think that the President of the Commission should be directly elected by citizens. d) The potential impact of “European federalism” on Belgium As for the possible impact of European federalism on the Belgian state, it is possible that the different communities could benefit on their own account from European federalism by wanting to exist independently and separately within a European Federation or a United States of Europe, which would inevitably lead to the collapse of the Belgian state – which could be a precursor of a post-national era for Europe. Or, on the other hand, the prospect of European federalism could provide an impulse for Belgium to restructure the nation-state and rethink the Belgian federal model, perhaps in the sense of a more competing federalism in order to permit each community to affirm itself constantly in opposition to the others without weakening the federal state as a whole. B. Germany – Uploading its federal model to the European level? a) Euroscepticism and federalist activism – a German paradox German party politics had always been proud that there was no decisive Eurosceptic force in the Bundestag and that mainstream catch-all parties were able to absorb populist and anti-European sentiments and transform them into integrationist energy. The CDU of the Helmut Kohl era serves as a striking example. While politically situated rather close to sovereignists and right-wing conservatives, it was, clinging to a European meta-narrative of peace and prosperity, able to preserve its decidedly pro-integration stance. Nowadays, “times they are a-changin’” and a political force of the populist right aims at taking the 2013 Bundestag electorate by storm, the socalled “Alternative for Germany” (AfD), a conglomerate of economists and disappointed commoners not willing to back Angela Merkel's way of handling the crisis anymore, yearning for a return to the good old times of the Deutsche Mark. Support for European integration has, according to the latest Eurobarometer polls, fallen sharply since the beginning of the Euro crisis in 2008; and what is more, 56% of Germans have “no trust” in the EU nowadays while only 30% have a “fairly positive” image of the EU. And still, it seems as if there was a constant federal spark gleaming in Germany, at least among its political elites. Joschka Fischer’s 2000 speech on the finality of European integration is as much an illustration of this point as is the Germany-initiated “Future of Europe Group”. Established in 2011 and comprising the ministers of foreign affairs of traditionally rather pro-integration countries such as Italy or France, it served as a strong pointer in a federal direction and put forth a convicted stance in favor of more integration. b)The German federal tradition Given the fact that Germany has a very special relationship with the concept of “federalism” itself this cannot be seen as any sort of oddity. Germany’s strong commitment to horizontal federalism,

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the sharing of political and administrative power between Bund and Länder, as laid down in Art. 20 of the German Grundgesetz and remaining under the safeguard of the guarantee of perpetuity, is deeply rooted in its checkered history. The Prussian coup of 1932 and the Gleichschaltung of the Länder in 1933 marked the end of the horizontal federalism of the Weimar republic and the beginning of barbaric Nazism. Therefore, Germany’s federalist order of today serves a variety of purposes of politically wide impact: it is supposed to keep political power in the German representative democracy as close to ‘the people’ as possible; it aims at maintaining a balance between political center and periphery; it shall safeguard the reflection of the magnitude of different regional cultures and traditions; and after all, it is supposed to ascertain that the country does not relapse into centralized totalitarianism. In this sense, the German understanding of “federalism” is quite close to the concepts of subsidiarity and proportionality that have been put to the core of European affairs with the Treaty of Maastricht (Art. 5 §§ 3&4 TEU). The competence to act and take decisions is in any case to be taken on the lowest possible vertical level of politicaladministrative power. Therefore, there are, just as it is the case within the EU, policy fields being identified within which the Bund exerts an exclusive power, within which competences between both entities are shared and within which the Länder are solely responsible to come up with and decide upon suitable political solution (which are admittedly very few). The field of shared competencies is traditionally the most contested one. Just as it is in the European Union, executive power mostly stays within the confines of Länder competency. Therefore, the German model of federalism is not only coined cooperative (for its constantly consensus-seeking nature, compare with Lijphart 1999: Patterns of Democracy), yet also executive federalism by a variety scholars (for a utilization of the concept to describe European crisis management politics see Habermas 2011a). c) The German perspective on „European federalism“ One has to take into consideration this specific relation that Germany has had with the concept of federalism when talking about how “European federalism” is being perceived in Germany. Of course, a caveat has to be established here: most Germans fear a centralized European super state just as much as their other fellow Europeans. However, if one sticks to the German understanding of the concept of federalism, then there would, from a German perspective, be little to be complained about European federalism. Not in the slightest would it then mean the establishment of a centralized European super state, yet basically its opposite – the circumscription of political power in a European federal state by the means of subsidiarity. Every political force and every political decision should be residing with the lowest possible administrative level. This way it would be safeguarded that every country and region of “Europe” was to be equally essential and indispensable. A European federation would in this understanding only take on those problems that cannot be overcome on a lower level, environmental protection or banking regulation for example. All those that can be more easily, more democratically, more efficiently solved on one of the various lower levels, would have to be tackled there. Thus, from a German perspective federalism can be understood as a conditio sine qua non to an ideal Europe. Only a federal Europe would be a truly democratic Europe – and far from a super state of leviathanic proportions. There is however one crux to this deliberation, which is the issue of Kompetenz-Kompetenz as it has been constantly put forward by the German Constitutional Court. A federal Europe would require some sort of authority to initiate Treaty changes. In Germany, a revision of the Grundgesetz requires the consent of two thirds of the members of the Bundestag and the Bundesrat. Therefore, the Kompetenz-Kompetenz is shared between the federal and the regional branches of political power. Should the EU evolve into a federal system following a rather German model, then a form

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of transferring this principle of Kompetenz-Kompetenz to the supranational level – most likely by Treaty changes being possible with a qualified majority of Parliament and Council – would have to be found. The German Constitutional Court however already pointed out in its 2009 Lisbon judgment that this would require the adoption of a new German constitution and cannot be done within the confines of the current Grundgesetz. Taking into account the importance that German people assert to their constitution (compare for example the concept of constitutional patriotism put forward by Jürgen Habermas) and the profound lack of constitutional innovation since 1949, the adoption of a new constitution in order to establish a European federal system seems however highly unlikely. d) The potential impact of “European federalism” on Germany The centrifugal dynamics of a concurrently regionalizing and Europeanizing political reality are of different effect on different types of Member States’ political systems. Since, so it is frequently argued, the “institutional misfit” of unitary states (Schmidt 1999: 21) in relation to the current “quasi-federal” political system of the European Union is greater than that of Member States with a tradition of federal government, their processes of adaptation have proved more painful, more profound and stirring way more controversy. Thus, a factual federalization of the EU would be more arduous to a unitary state than to a traditionally federal system that is Germany. Its federal tradition would equip it with the necessary administrative flexibility to react and adapt to the necessities of a European federal system. The same could be assumed for the judiciary which is highly decentralized as well, however has the German community of lawyers gained the reputation of being rather sovereignist, as being exemplified by various judgments of the Bundesverfassungsgericht, and would therefore probably prove to be reluctant to adapt to a new federal situation. In regards to European economic and fiscal federalism however Germany is in a rather ambivalent position: on one side, its export-orientated economy profits heavily from the single currency (compare Bertelsmann Foundation 2013), saving the Euro through common fiscal standards and procedures is therefore in its very interest. On the other hand is it opposed to a communitization of federal debt through Eurobonds or to a substantial alignment of livingstandards and development levels in the different parts of Europe since it would have to bear a major part of the costs. Thus, despite being a federal state, the establishment of a European federalism would still require an arduous, and potentially costly, process of adaptation. C. Greece and European federalism – an antagonism? a) Greece and the European Union, a conflicting membership In a moment where the political, economic and social situation in Greece is on the verge of exploding, with Greek people are manifesting all their discontentment and their rage against austerity politics, the image of the European Union within the Greek population seems to have degraded considerably (49% negative, according to recent Eurobarometer 78), the EU is being perceived as non-democratic (67%), technocratic (68%) and not efficient (80%). Yet, the governors of the Euro zone prove to be more and more severe on the issue of Greece, as the financial aids are voted only by a short majority in the European Council. Thus the question: should Greece leave the Euro zone, and even the European Union? An exit of Greece, despite the more or less polemic assumptions which have been made, is a very unlikely and improbable scenario according to European specialists, for reasons linked to the internal situation in Greece, also economic and political interests of the EU itself. Henceforth, the common currency determines the competitiveness of a Member state on the international market, thus an exit from the Euro, or even the European Union, would isolate a country like Greece on the European and the international market. Some

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see in the Greek crisis a turning point for the European Union, as the EU has to decide whether it wants to risk its collapse, first financially and economically, then politically, or tackle the crucial question of a European economic federalism, which would imply a structured federal policy with common regulation criteria of the common currency. The Greek crisis shows that in an area with as many disparities as in the EU, the adoption of a common currency also means adopting clear criteria of convergence, fiscally and economically, within a clear timeframe and rigorous control in every member state – rules which had not been respected in Greece for a decade with Europe not undertaking the necessary controls. b) The Greek crisis, a crossroads for Europe? In the field of economics and finance, the EU has become a guarantee, if not of stability, then certainly of a large rescue network ready to bail out. As the Greek case has demonstrated, the solidarity among Member states of the European Union, even if imperfect, nevertheless protects states from the worst effects of the crisis, especially national bankruptcy. What the Greek perceive in their daily life stands in opposition to this: Europe is also a rigid system of rules and liabilities, states are bound by their commitments and punished for not respecting the criteria mostly by political pressure exerted by heads of other states, like Germany. The Greek example proves that the EU has one major default, namely the disequilibrium between states as well as the predominance of Germany in all the negotiations. This crisis clearly is not only economic, but a leadership crisis resulting from the incapacity to negotiate on equal terms, Germany who represents 20,2% of GDP in the EU and receives the smallest part of EU aids with Greece who only produces about 2% of EU GDP and is one of the greatest recipients of EU aids. Some view this as a failure of intergovernmental Europe, the proof that the current EU system is not egalitarian but privileges the most powerful. There are two possible ways out of this deadlock: the first would be to accept a Europe at multiple speeds under the guardianship of the „big leaders“ resulting in an aggravation of economic and political divergences which would, ultimately challenge the entire Euro zone and even European Union. The second solution would be to put national sovereignty into question and form a federation of states, which would all adopt binding constitutional rules within a federal government structure. c) Greece, a supporter of Eurofederalism ? A euro-federalist movement seems to exist in Greece, at least the structures and the main political European-centered movements in favor of federalism. There is a Greek European Federalist party, as well as a Young Greek Federalist movement, the first parties in Greece publicly supporting federalism and a federation in form of the United States of Europe where citizens are regularly consulted via referendums. With regard to policy aspects, the Greek focus is on Defense and security, counting on more financial support from the EU for Greek police and army, as well as an advantage in education, investment and employment. The establishment of the federalism is not regarded as a threat to Greek national identity, as it does imply the assignment of sovereignty in the sense of identity, but the sharing of common principles and values with European and national identity coexisting. The most important administrative aspect seems to be the demolishing of old Greek institutions in order to replace them by new ones guided by the framework of the EU federation, where the principle of subsidiarity and the division of powers, which would ensure less corruption and more transparency within the Greek state. Recent Eurobarometer surveys (78) show that 44% of the Greek would be in favor of a development of the EU towards a federation. In fact, at the moment of the first enlargement, at the

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moment where the Constitution was drafted, there seem to have been movements in Greece defending a deeper integration, a federal structure: the Greek were among those claiming a closer cooperation in the domain of security policy and defense, as well as social, environmental, macroeconomic and fiscal policy. The Greek are conscious of the fact that the problems Greece faces today can be better taken care of, within a supranational structure, with a permanent presidency of the European Council, resembling a European President, a deepening and enlargement of the European Union while defending the particular positions of the small Member states. Greece has supported the idea of an election of the Commission President by the European Parliament and the reinforcement of the Parliament’s and the Commission’s role which are perceived as the most capable of and intent on defending the participation and representation of small Member States, at the same time reflecting on a way to insure the representation of the smaller states through an extension of the co-decision procedure and qualified majority voting. The EU’s economic objectives having been the main preoccupation, the Greek have demanded a reinforcement of the economy and the European labor market, a requirement defended by the Greek firms. At this very same moment, the Greek have also developed the idea of a double citizenship, which would permit Greek citizens to benefit more easily from free movement. d) The impact of European federalism on Greece At present, it is very difficult to measure if the federalist ideas are very present within public opinion in Greece, given the tense relation with the EU, which seems more likely to be translated into a rejection of Europe than in a request for a federal Europe. Though there is some talk in the media about the possibility of federalism in Europe, the Greek mainly address this topic to express their concern about the probability of being excluded from such a federation project, given the major economic and political challenges they have been facing over the last decade. However, and this speaks in favor of the presence of a pro-European and even pro-federalist voice in Greece, the tenor of the Greek commentators regarding Europe is not entirely hostile and reproachful, but rather moderate and there is some extent of recognition of Greek failure with regard to economic performance and administration. The Greek case seems to highlight the question of democratic legitimacy and economic coherence at the same time pointing out the difficulty of conceiving which kind of future structure for the EU is meant when federalism or a “European federation”, or “The United States of Europe” are evoked. Especially regarding the question of centralized administration or decentralized institutions, and more importantly, the gap between a European technocratic elite taking decisions increasingly in a non-democratic unilateral manner lacking legitimacy by citizens who seem to be less and less involved in the European integration process. D. Romania – “European federalism” and new Member States a) Federalism – a delicate issue The discussion on the perception of European federalism in Romania is actually a discussion on the imperceptibility of this matter in the Romanian public sphere. As no absence is neutral or reasonless, we consider that this very silence should be analyzed. In Romanian, both political and academic debates only deal with the concept of federalism at the infra-state level. In the perspective of a better territorial organization, regionalization and federalization were brought about as possible viable solutions. Firstly, we will, in the following, show the European requirements on this matters concerning regionalization. Secondly, we will argue that the Hungarian minority’s territorial partition in Romania and its autonomy claims may be a reason of reluctance when it comes to the debate on federalism.

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1) A question raised by the European Union… The issue of regionalization rose under pressures of the EU accession. Except for the case of Transylvania (discussed below), “regionalism has not emerged as a strong political force in post communist Romania” (Dobre, 2009, p.182). In the perspective of the EU acces sion, the idea of region took a functional approach, because “regionalization has thus occurred in a very functional way and mostly as a means of managing regional-level EU operational programmes as part of the national development plan consensus” (Dobre, 2009, p.182). Romania was part of the broader trend that impacted the candidate countries from Central and East Europe. Principles such as subsidiary and multi-level governance had to be tied in with the centralized, unitary state of Romania. EU put pressure on the candidate countries to empower regional levels and to implicate them in the repartition of funds. Here, as Ana-Maria Dobre emphasizes, the EU requirements are not the only explanation for the phenomenon of regionalization. Nevertheless, it can be argued that the European Union made the existence of appropriate regions that would implement the structural funds and that would possess “adequate financial and budgetary management capacity” (Dobre, 2009, p.184) a priority. The attempt to satisfy the NUTS II criteria began part of the Romanian political agenda and debate. Gradually, a whole institutional infrastructure developed in order to take in charge these regional requests. It started in early 1998 with the National Agency for Regional Development (Agentia Nationala pentru Dezvoltare Regional) and culminated with the creation of a Ministry in charge with regional development: the Ministry for Development, Public Works and Housing. Nevertheless, the creation of the advised and functional eight “d evelopment regions” that would comply with NUTS II criteria remains a delicate subject in Romania. 2) … Yet silenced by national sensibilities “(1) Romania is a sovereign, independent, unitary and indivisible National State”, enunciates the first article of the Constitution of Romania, emphasizing the idea of the unity and the indivisibility of the state, which has its origins in a troubled history and a lasting territorial division. But also, it may be seen as an attempt to prevent national secession coming from the Hungarian minority, organized in a rather compact geographical area in a part of Transylvania. During the postcommunist years, “the parties representing the Hungarian minorities have favored territorial autonomy along ethnic lines, but this demand has been rejected by the parties of the ethnic majority” (Bochsler & Szöcsik, 2012, p.1). The majority’s reactions seemed to interpret theses claims as part of a revisionist agenda aiming to correct territorial partition through separatism. Apart from autonomy demands, representatives of the minority such as The Democratic Alliance of Hungarians from Romania (Uniunea Democrata a Maghiarilor din Romania – UDMR) also constitute “one example of active political supporters of regional self-government” (Dobre, 2009, p. 189). Consequently, it is one of the reasons why “the protection of the state was collectively perceived as vital and superior to any demands for regionalization” (Dobre, 2009, p. 192). Nonetheless, what should be remembered is that the discussion on federalism in Romania has its frame settled by the dichotomy – unitary state versus territorial secession. As Cristian Preda also puts it (Interview with Cristina Preda, 27th of March 2013) this is one of the reasons for reluctance when it comes to a discussion on federalism. b) A (fading) Initial Consensus Another reason may be the fact that the Romanian public opinion never raised questions on the future of the EU. As Preda points it, Romania’s situation was a particular one as its accession to the European Union was marked by a strong consensus: “no anti European voice” (Interview with Cristina Preda, 27th of March 2013) for the first five-six years. The political elites’ consensus

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influenced a public opinion consensus. However, lack of discussion on the subject also meant lack of questioning the shape or the future of the European Union. The question of a European federalism was absent both from the Romanian public space and from the Romanian academic debate. On the other hand, the initial consensus on the European Union is fading away. As Preda observes, the anti European critiques are mainly directed against the Commission and its requirements but also against some member states. In the first case, the anti corruption requirements are one example of the targets of critiques. In the second case, the Schengen file and the postponement of Romania's accession to the Schengen area were subject to critiques against Germany and The Netherlands, member states that were, in the end, defending the Commission’s criteria and requirements. We consider that is not only premature but also unjustified to argue that these critiques against the Commission’s policies and requirements would lead to an interrogation on the future of the EU. Even so, their emergence should be acknowledged and analyzed even if for the time being their impact is undefined. c) Which impact for a European Federalism? In Central-East Europe, “post communist states inherited the highly centralized state structure from the former regimes” (Bochsler & Szöcsik, 2012, p.1). As we have seen, in this kind of highly centralized states, such as Romania, the very question of decentralization (especially in the case of the presence of important minorities on the territory) is subject to fierce debate. As far as the European level is concerned, scholars such as Renaud Dehousse and Cristian Preda argue that, from a theoretical point of view, it is easier to adapt a superior federal layer (the European Union one) for states with a prior federal basis. Nevertheless, Arabela Ster thinks that “today’s European Union represents a good “anti-chamber” to a potential federal Europe” and that even states without a prior federal order “have proved capable to adapt to new forms of organisation”(Interview with Arabela Ster, 22nd of February 2013). However, for the time being, as Preda points out, “we didn’t succeed translating the federal question in all the official languages of the Union” (Interview with Cristian Preda, 27th of March 2013). The federal becoming of the Union is far from being certitude. The becoming itself does not benefit from great attention in Romania, nor do the implications on the Romanian State. E. The UK – Latent Euroscepticism and anti-federalism? a) Euroscepticism in the UK Euroscepticism is surely not limited to the British Isles and their inhabitants; however, one could still claim that the UK is in many regards the “motherland” of the phenomenon. Ever since its 1973 accession, support for British membership and trust in the European institutions has been low. Recent figures prove equally striking. In the 2010 Eurobarometer for example, 64% of the polled Britons stated that they did not trust the European Union which is very much out of line with an EU27 average of “only” 45%. At the same time, nowhere in ‘old Europe’ is there such a plentitude of Eurosceptic press as there is in the UK. And nowhere in Europe are Eurosceptic groups as wellfunded and well-organized as they are there. Consequently, the British “tradition of Euroscepticism” (Ford et al. 2012) has found an organized political outlet in the UK Independence Party (UKIP), founded in 1993 as part of the opposition to the Maastricht Treaty, performing rather successfully in second-order elections such as European or British regional ones. But, why did this phenomenon evolve? Simon Hix (2007) offers a rational choice institutionalist explanation which he bases on the assumption that, should domestic actors “feel that domestic policies will move further away from their ideal positions (because of European integration), they

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will be Eurosceptic.” From his perspective then, two rationales led to a structural British disposition towards Euroscepticism: (1.) in majoritarian systems, such as the UK (compare Lijphart 1999); Euroscepticism is more likely to occur because desired policy change might be hampered by the consensus dynamics on the European level. Both Labour and Tories thus “have an incentive not to constrain the hands of the domestic government” through further integration. (2.) If a member state’s domestic policy regime is “to the right” of the European median, as it is the case in the UK, voters and parties on the right are more likely to be Eurosceptic, because European integration is likely to result in a policy shift to the left of the status quo. The UK’s domestic policy regime, marked by a liberal labor market and service sector as well as low levels of income distribution is considerably to the right of the EU average. Not surprisingly, parties of the right, particularly Tories and UKIP, are opposed to the EU imposing “socialism through the back door”, as Margaret Thatcher once put it. b) The UK tradition of centralized power Traditionally, the UK is being perceived as a rather centralized state. The authority of its central executive which is closely bound to the will of the Parliament is perceived as being nearly unrestrained. At the same time however it cannot be thought of as a unitary state in a territorial sense (Jeffery & Wincott 2006). Its Union was always comprised by different states; it never only consisted of England, but has, for quite some time now, also included Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Until 1997, when New Labor assumed power in Downing Street, the entire Kingdom was basically reigned from Westminster while its subordinate parts lacked considerable competences of self-government. Only through delegation of tasks were they included in the political-administrative process. (Gamble 2006) After 1997 however, through a process of devolution, they gained considerably more independence and competence. This was done not only for surely primordial political and economic reasons, yet also to empower the devolved subnational territories within a European environment that aimed at enforcing the application of the principle of subsidiarity. (Laffin 1999) Nowadays, even though one cannot consider the UK to be an ideal type of centralized state (anymore?), its constitution still remains considerably closer to concentrating than to dispersing political power (compare Lijphart 1999). The territory of England for example lacks any kind of self-government and keeps on being reigned by Westminster, while the devolved territories only account for approximately 15 percent of the United Kingdom’s population and GDP. Still, in the light of independence movements and attempts to transfer more power to the sub-Union level, debates on the issue of British federalism have quite frequently taken place. However, any aspirations to federalize the country have been rejected, e.g. with the 1973 Kilbrandon Report, mostly putting forth the argument that British federalism would inevitably be marked by an English dominance. Another fraction of centralists argued that any derogation from the rather unitary status quo could mark the beginning of the end of the UK’s unity. A stance which could nowadays, devolution reforms, be exemplified by the forceful Scottish attempts to gain independence from the Union. c) The UK perspective on „European federalism“ Taking into account the degree of Euroscepticism among Britons and the country’s rather deficient experience with the concept of federalism and its application, it cannot come as a surprise that there is not much desire among the British to establish a federal European Union. Of course, there are federalist organizations existing in the UK as well and, surely, there are also outspoken European federalists such as the former Labour MEP and current adviser to the President of the European Council Richard Corbett (which we interviewed for this policy paper). However, besides

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the obvious fact that these people and organizations comprise only a petite minority of the overall public has the British discourse about the concept of “European federalism” a specific peculiarity. As is perfectly understandable, the British discourse about the EU is characterized by a strong rejection of the notion of a centralized Brussels superstate. However do the British tend to use the federal vocabulary in an “understanding of the concept of federalism that is deprived of any historical basis” (Interview with Renaud Dehousse). Indeed, in the British context has the word “federalist” retained an entirely new meaning and is nowadays being utilized as a conceptual equivalent to “centralized”. Therefore, the fact that the British tend to not talk about a centralized yet a “federal Brussels superstate”, makes it virtually impossible to discuss “European federalism” in a not ex ante negative sense of the concept. Consequently, the term is now in frequent use by Eurosceptics, yet hardly ever utilized by pro-European forces in the UK. d) The potential impact of “European federalism” on the UK A smaller institutional misfit would, according to Europeanization literature, make it potentially easier for countries with an extensive federal history to adapt to the establishment of a European federalist order. “Countries that have a federal experience, as a rule, tend to breed people that are better disposed towards European integration. If you come from a country with multiple layers of government, you accept more willingly the idea that there is, on top of the rest, the European Union.” (Interview Dehousse) Clearly, the UK does not have any profound experience with the concept, but at the same time might the regionalizing dynamics within it induce a Europeanizing one in the long term as well. The recent devolutionary process, resulting in an empowerment of sub-national territories, might, through the leverage “regions” possess in a multi-level-polity such as the EU, as well result in a gradual federalization of the UK and/or its incorporation in an overall European federal system. Current evidence speaks at the same time in favor (Scotland and its attempt to gain independence while remaining within the EU) as well as against this claim (PM Cameron’s bid for an in-/out-referendum). At the same time would the obstacles for the establishment of a European federalist order not only in structural aspects be rather high, but also in fiscal and economic as well as in judicial terms. With its own and proud currency, its rejection of any fiscal integration and its distinct constitutional tradition would the UK have a hard time adapting to a federal Europe – which makes such development even more improbable. III. Observations from the case studies and interviews: On which common notions could the concept of “European federalism” be founded? The country case studies conducted within this research project reveal that there is no such thing as consensus on the substance of the concept of “European federalism”. Deriving from this, there is no common understanding on if and how to proceed towards a federal order in Europe as well. Does the notion of “European federalism” entail merely economic aspects or does it stretch towards the political sphere? The particularly peculiar case of Greece revealed that there is a cleavage between those two notions and that pro- as well as anti-federalist actors align themselves along this line. Furthermore, is federalism even the appropriate concept to apply in a Europe divided by deep economic, social and cultural divisions or would it prove to be an ineffective way of governing the Union? The Romanian and Belgian cases shed grief doubts on the assumption that federalism might be the most efficient way to govern the multifaceted geographical sphere that Europe is. Those doubts seem to have not taken hold in Germany yet, where a federalist order, in the German sense of the word, is still frequently being seen as something desirable and essentially democratizing for the EU. The opposite holds true for the UK where the concept of “European federalism” is not just a politically contested one (as it is everywhere in Europe) but one that took

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on the entirely different and negative meaning of a centralized Brussels superstate. Consequently, no consensus on what the term “European federalism” actually means and entails has there been found yet. Still does the following section, based on the interviews conducted for this research project, attempt to identify frequently stated tendencies and similarities which could in turn be utilized to found upon them a common understanding of the concept. A. The concept of federalism: central or federal competencies? Leaving aside the very peculiar British case for the moment (and taking it into account later on), there seems to be consensus, at least among the various researchers and politicians from the different Member States we interviewed, that federalization had to be distinguished from centralization. These concepts are, particularly from a historical perspective, rather contrasting than similar. "When the US Constitution was established, the opposite was the case: a federal government was chosen because a centralization of power was to be rejected" (Interview Dehousse). Jean Quatremer also endorses the distinction between federalism and centralization, while stating that the respective collective understanding of the concept depends on the federal experience a nation has made. Those states with a federal tradition tend to understand “European federalism” in a more subtle way. (Interview Quatremer) Beyond this very basic distinction between federalism and centralization there is another one to be made, namely the one between federalism as a state-centered concept (as it was traditionally the case) and as a concept transcending the nation state (as it would have to be applied to the European Union). Thierry Chopin supports this claim being made by Olivier Beaud (compare the introductory section of this paper) and states that a federalization of Europe would entail aspects of centralization and regionalization at the same time, a wholly new allocation and distribution of political competences safeguarding the highest possible level of democratic representation and overall legitimacy. Therefore, an entirely new and currently only vaguely outlined, concept of federalism would have to be found and applied to the EU – a federalism of its own. (Interview Preda) Therefore, beyond any political and national divide, a very basic and abstract consensus on the meaning of federalism in a European context can at least be stated. This is essential, because a broad agreement is precondition for debating about the future of the EU. (Interview Quatremer) Yet still, what if one talks about more detailed aspects of “federalism”? Then, admittedly, no common understanding of the term can be identified. “There is no such thing as a 'federal trademark'. (...) And as far as I know, there is not one brand of federalism. There are as many as there are federal countries." (Interview Dehousse) Taking into account the peculiar British case where “European federalism” and “Brussels superstate” are two ways of labeling the same concept, one has to moreover state that it might also be not very useful and expedient to over-use the concept of “European federalism” since its political record is paved with misunderstanding and marked by irrational fears of centralization. (Interview Dehousse) Therefore, not only an entirely new way of organizing federalism in a European context would have to be found, yet also a new way of communicating the concept. The central question remaining to be resolved, from the perspective of our interviewees and also from the perspective of EU citizens, is the one of legitimacy and democracy. Before any form federalism can be achieved, Europe has to become more democratic and legitimate in the eyes of the citizens, a conviction which implies a fundamental reform of its political system. It does not seem to be enough to democratize the EU while or through federalizing it. The leap of faith to federalize the Union requires after all one foremost precondition – faith in the Union.

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B. Federalized economic and fiscal government One aspect that federations have in common is a federalized economic and fiscal policy. The European Union of today has only achieved part of this, namely the common currency as part of its monetary Union. Ultimately, the shortcomings of the status quo in regards to fiscal and economic coordination and governance have been revealed by the current crisis. "The Euro was clearly a federal gesture, but an unaccomplished one, because there is no governance framing the common currency" (Interview Reynié). With the crisis of the Euro zone, which can be systemically traced back to economic imbalances between different parts of the European Union, it now becomes obvious that adjusting the diverse levels and traditions of fiscal and economic governance is needed to safeguard the Euro (Interview Chopin). This obviously entails the transfer of new competencies that are very close to the core of national sovereignty, to the European level. Yet does such initiative not have to necessitate centralization; it can also implicate the federalization of economic governance (compare Habermas 2013). “The economic and financial crisis revived the idea of a federation; ‘more Europe’ is now being regarded as the solution to overcome the challenges of the crisis” (Interview Ster). The Commission’s “Blueprint for a Deep and Genuine Economic and Monetary Union” of November 2012 sets out what the next steps of the journey could entail. Should this concept be realized and thus be accepted by Member States would it imply a major step towards pooling national sovereignty in regards to responsibility and solidarity competences on the European level, therefore constituting a decisive step towards economic federalism. Some highly probable and potentially problematic developments have in this context to be pointed out: (1) an implementation of the concept would prompt a differentiated federalization of the Euro zone (and probable future acceding countries such as Poland). The other countries (currently 9 out of 27) would most likely not take part in this step towards a federal economic and fiscal Union. “The Euro zone is certainly in the ‘pole position’ to drive the EMU, although sustainable policies require the compliance of all actors” (Interview Ster). (2) At the same time, this pooling of competencies would most likely entail no centralization of competencies, but a pooling of sovereignty and a transfer of politics from the national to the European level. “Beyond the arrangements to ensure the governance of the Euro, there will be no centralized government.” (Interview Featherstone). This federalization of economic and fiscal governance will however, as Dominique Reynié sees it, not be accompanied by a further step towards political Union. (3) The probable lack of a decisive step towards political Union to legitimize the further integration of fiscal and economic policies would however constitute a serious shortcoming and threaten the legitimatory basis of the entire European Union. Since it touches on essential parts of national sovereignty would such initiative undoubtedly and urgently necessitate a broader democratic fundament of the EU (Interviews Quatremer and Reynié). Should European leaders decide to pursue the path of economic federalism without its political equivalent (and judging from the “Blueprint” it looks as if this was the case) would the EU eventually enter a stage of post-democratic rule (compare Habermas 2013) with national competencies being undermined and supranational politics being under-controlled. C. A (federal) European constitution and the nation-state Thierry Chopin pointed out that there’s a debate between the constitutionalist and the communitarians, whereas the latter would say that there’s no need to lose our time with a Constitutional Charter, as we already have one, while the Constitutionalists would say that even if we have an informal constitution the Constituent Assembly is missing. (Interview Thierry Chopin) Dominique Reynié affirmed that to give Europe a formal constitution would be necessary to achieve

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the European idea, and logical given that Europe has a democratic pretention and a Parliament elected by universal suffrage. (Interview Reynié) Renaud Dehousse took the opposite position by stating that "the very construction of Europe is in so many respects a constitutional endeavor. The very spirit of constitutionalism is that governmental power needs to be limited. The spirit of the construction of Europe is that the power of states has to be limited. So, even though we do not have a formal constitution, we do have some sort of constitutional order, also with the current Treaties.” Constitutionalism in a broader sense has been a pillar of the progressive achievement of European integration; however, it does not have to be formal to be considered a constitutional order containing nation-states power. In fact, the constitutional rhetoric was mainly responsible for the failure of the constitutional attempt, because “the very rhetoric of constitutionalism frightened people and played into the hands of those populists which were arguing that there was a centralized superstructure in the making” (Interview Renaud Dehousse) With regard to the rhetoric of constitutionalism, Dehousse is especially endorsed by Jean Quatremer, who illustrates that the debate about a European constitution holds two fundamental similarities with the debate about federalism. Firstly the fact that just as there are very divergent concepts of federalism in the different nation-states, the debate about a constitution also features a wide range of perceptions within the respective Member states, going from support to rejection. This is one of the reasons why the constitutional attempt of 2005 was doomed to fail. The second aspect, coincidentally explaining the failure of European constitutionalism is linked to the general perception of Europe not being democratically legitimate in the eyes of European citizens. The impact of the divergences in perception of the notions of “federalism” and “constitutions” can be illustrated at the example of France and Germany and concluded that in some nations, like France, a European constitution is perceived as a challenge to national sovereignty. This especially applies to Member states without a federal experience, but with a strong central state, and a concept of federalism as being a superstate absorbing national competences, like France, because their assumption of sovereignty is inseparable from the nation-state and the nation, the guarantor of national identity. For the French, in a pyramidal perspective, it would be a direct challenge to their national constitution, whereas for Germans, this federal European constitution would be just another layer juxtaposed to the German constitution. (Interview Jean Quatremer) All the interviewees agreed on the fact that there is no agreement on the necessity of Europe having a formal constitution; as such an endeavor is generally not supported by European citizens or political elites. As Richard Corbett points out, the main challenge is once again to approve one concept of what a European constitution should look like, given that we don’t just have one model, but quite a variety of different models. However, if we took the path of making the Treaties look like more of a constitution, if we attempt to codify a European constitution, if we actually call it a constitution, it would be rejected.” (Interview Corbett) However, as Thierry Chopin explains, “from the point on, when we demand for more political and democratic legitimacy for the institutions and for a more legitimate and effective European executive power, we are within a constitutional debate”. (Interview Chopin) He raises an issue coincidentally addressed by all the interviewees which is the perceived lack of democracy and legitimacy within the current EU system, and, as Cristian Preda points out, the necessity to give Europe more democratic coherence through true elected European officials. (Interviews Thierry Chopin and Cristian Preda) Arabela Ster perfectly summarizes the European constitutional debate by clarifying that “deepening the integration and completing the internal market, the economic and monetary union, are not conditioned by the existence of a constitution. Certainly, the introduction of a European

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constitution would smooth the way” but “the existing premises point to the fact that it would not be improbable that a formal Constitution would just appear to confirm a state-of-the-art rather than vice-versa.” If Europe were to have a constitution, it would have to go beyond the traditional debate of “communitarianism” and constitutionalism, because “the specificity of the EU would require a unique form of federalism that would suit its objectives, rather than a classical one.” (Interview Arabela Ster). D. Identity as a limiting and empowering factor « Identity is a demanding concept as it aims to deal with persistence and change, similarity and difference, objectivity and subjectivity, the collective and the individual level of social and political understanding of the self, all at the same time” (Duchesne, 2008, p. 402). The concept of European Identity is usually used to ‘measure’ Europeans’ attitudes towards the European Union. However, in the end, this is mainly a measure of the knowledge on the EU and of the agreement or disagreement on EU’s policies. The distinction between the “demanding concept” defined above and its rather limited empirical test is one of the main reasons for the ambiguity of the concept. This is one of the reasons why, during our investigation, we privileged the concept, used by Sophie Duchesne, of European identification. On one hand, this has the advantage of suggesting a more dynamic process, better suited for a constantly changing object of identification: the European Union. On the other hand, ‘identification’ has the advantage of not suggesting a form of competition with national identity. Is there a form of identification with the European Union? On this point, Chopin (Interview, 8th of April) considers that despite the ambiguity surrounding ‘identity’, two dimensions of the concept can be identified at the European Union level. On one hand, he emphasizes the importance of what he calls “alterity-identity”. From this point of view, the Europeans, compared to the ‘others’, have a different set of values and preferences (concrete examples such as the way in which gun possession is perceived in the US as opposed to Europe support this argument). Nevertheless, this difference of perception is caused by the long common history and has little to do with the EU supranational level itself. On the other hand, what is measured by means of Eurobarometer is the “citizenship-identity” dimension. It could be understood, as Habermas (1998) as taking the form of a constitutional patriotism. This European citizen’s attachment would be, as a matter of fact, the attachment to democratic values and to the rule of law. It is beyond the scope of this paper to offer a clear-cut answer whether or not there is such a thing as European identity. Nevertheless, we could try to tackle the less ambitions matter of identification. As we have observed during the case-studies, most of the Europeans have a basic knowledge on the European Union. However, the question stays open when it comes to how this information could be turned into an attachment to the EU. Firstly, it is important to emphasize that European identity cannot be expected to be built in the same way as the national was built. The European Union cannot apply some of the mechanisms that were at the core of the nation-building, such as the fact of favoring one culture over another, harmonizing the language or asking its citizens to die for the ‘mother country’. Secondly, another difficulty in the way towards a European identity is the multitude of actors. Cristian Preda (Interview, 27th of March) emphasizes that this European identity should be created starting from 27 and soon 28 member states, their national administrations, languages, and traditions. It should also be built upon the European institutions, agencies, and the bodies themselves. Furthermore, this European identity should be created in mirror with a

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territorially and structurally dynamic entity. During our case studies, we observed a set of recurring elements which concerned the issues of identity. In one instance, the concept of identity was linked to the concept of democracy. Participation, towards voting but also direct participation, was seen as encouraging European Identity. This dimension could be summarized under the notion of citizenship, or citizen participation. Another dimension concerns the matter of legitimacy of the institutions, but this time from a symbolic point of view. A constitutional debate or the election of the Commission’s president were seen as bringing the EU closer to the citizen and thus, leading to an embryonic European identity. What is its relationship to national identity? Scholars have contradictory views on the relationship between European and national identity. Some scholars argue that the national identity would be contrary to the European one. However, most authors today argue for “a partly cumulative relationship between national and European identities at the individual level” (Duchesne, 2008, p.400). Within this frame of mind, the national lens remains the main one when it comes to citizens’ identification or identity. As Preda suggests, this is mainly because of its rationality, in the sense of social visibility, of the national frame and because of its long-lasting tradition: the national identity is closer and more palpable for the citizen. This does not mean than a superior layer of identification cannot be added. As far as local, regional and national levels of identification coexist, the argument of coexistence between European identity and all the others layers is perfectly sustainable. The most investigated opinions consider that a European identity is going to emerge. Nonetheless, it will not have the same characteristics as the national one. If we follow Habermas’ argument, it is going to be based on common democratic values and a common democratic space for debate. Still, some symbols are needed (such as a European anthem), but they are to be handled with caution (the refusal of a “European Constitution). For this emerging European identity, accentuated by the interdependence provoked by the crisis (Chopin, interview, 8th of April), democratic participation and democratic legitimacy remain capital. IV. Conclusion: Can differentiated democratisation be the solution? This paper had as a starting point the concept of European federalism. After careful investigation we realized that this initial concept could be the very key to our initial question. We realized that within the analyzed countries there is no common vision on what this European federalism could be. Thus, our proceeding to an endeavor of defining and clarifying the meaning and the objectives of federalism in the first place and European federalism as a particular conceptual challenge seemed to be the first step to make. From a theoretical point of view, we tested the dichotomous distinction between federal and confederal but we found it to be unsuited for the case of the European Union. We consider that the overcoming of the state-centric approach to federalism is crucial. However, this obliged us to recognize that beyond the state-centered concepts, there are also significant divergences with regard to the question which federal concept would be consistent with the requirements of the European Union. Therefore, in our eyes, the most pertinent modus operandi entails questioning different appreciations of the concept of federalism and prospective European federalism in some Member states of the European Union. Choosing countries with seemingly opposing visions on the subject, we obtained conclusive case studies, focused on Belgium, Germany, Greece, Romania and the UK, which permitted us to point out one central challenge posed: the necessity of achieving a common concept of understanding, more precisely, an agreement on criteria and definition of the

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concept of (European) federalism. Before moving from the theoretical to the concrete, we have to agree on which federalism we are talking about when we speak of European federalism. In an attempt to substantiate our assumptions about the necessity of agreeing on common understanding, we conducted several interviews with scholars from different backgrounds. Nevertheless, by contrasting the comments, we were able to distinguish what appears to be the main challenge the European Union faces, regarding its current structure, but especially as to the debate about a federalization of the European system: Firstly, the apparent democratic deficit of the European Union, resulting from deficient involvement of citizens and connected to this, the lack of legitimacy in the eyes of citizens, but also with regard to the nation-state, particularly confronted with the given constitutional legitimacy within the framework of the sovereign nation-state. The general tenor seems to be that this set of problems has to be resolved precedingly - or coincidentally with - the question of a federal regime. As of other dimensions connected to the debate about European federalism, namely economic or identity aspects, they appear to certainly be complementary, but nevertheless secondary with regard to our problem set. A particularly pointy aspect emphasizing this conclusion is the question of identity in the framework of European federalism, where the general tenor predicts a cumulative concept of identity for the European Union, resulting in a coexistence of national and European identity, and not a clash of identities. Can we already move beyond the common concept of understanding and propose a federal concept for Europe? Well, we can prudently proceed to draw conclusions from our observations and advance the idea of experimenting with differentiated federalism in the framework of the Eurocore, which could progressively foster incitation for other Member states to join and converge with the federal structure. An alternative proposal for Europe, which transcends the concept of federalism, but responds to the main challenges we highlighted, namely the democratic deficit of the European Union and its lack of (constitutional) legitimacy, is elucidated by Jürgen Habermas, notably in a lecture given on the 26th of April at KU Leuven. In some sense, Habermas proposes to substitute the term “European federalism” with the term “supranational democracy”, by depicting the fact that the European Union in its current state has no constitutional legitimacy in the eyes of citizens, due to its technocratic dilemma – political elites being relatively distant from national public spheres and not directly accountable to European citizens and Member states still conducting very different policy strategies despite sectoral coordination leading to a perception of malfunctioning of the European system. The establishment of a supranational democracy would permit to move beyond the intergovernmental method of sovereign nation-states and the logic of a purely executive “federalism” and finally expand the European Union to a political union. This leads Habermas to conclude on another challenge the European Union currently faces, which we are inclined to include in our problem set, namely the lack of solidarity among Member states, a criterion seemingly even more difficult to fulfill, as once again, there appears to be no common understanding on either the concept nor the application. Ultimately, we deemed it more useful to contribute to the clarification of conceptual problems rather than engaging in the on-going debate about European federalism by artificially proposing or admitting one clear-cut concept.

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Bibliography I. Theoretical Framework (Introduction) Beaud, Olivier (2012): Théorie de la Fédération, Paris: PUF. Fabbrini, Sergio (2012): Democracy and Federalism in the European Union and the United States: Exploring post-national Governance, London: Routledge. Marks, Gary (1993): "Structural Policy and Multilevel Governance in the EC," in: Cafruny, Alan & Rosenthal, Glenda (eds.): The State of the European Community, Boulder: Lynne Rienner. Watts, Ronald L. (2008): Comparing Federal Systems, Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press. Quermonne, Jean-Louis (2008) : L’Union européenne dans le temps long, Paris : Presse de Sciences Po.

II. Country Case Studies 1. Studies of Belgium Deschamps, Robert (2006): Le fédéralisme belge a-t-il un avenir? Cahiers de recherche. Série politique économique, CERPE, n°7. Franck, Christian (2010): La politique européenne de la Belgique. In: Questions internationales n°45, p.100-107. Jamart, Annick (2008): Belgique: un séparatisme qui ne dit pas son nom ? In: Esprit, n°343, p.183-210. Massart-Piérard, Françoise (2000): La Belgique à l’épreuve de l’introduction du principe de subsidiarité au sein de l’Union européenne: entre fédéralisme européen et fédéralisme belge. In: Recherches sociologiques, Volume 31, n°1, pp.67-77. Saint-Ouen, François (2005): Le fédéralisme. Gollion: Infolio. vol.1. Sidjanski, Dusan (2001): L’approche fédérative de l’Union européenne ou la quête d’un fédéralisme européen inédit. In: Etudes et recherches, Paris : Notre Europe, n°14. Swenden, Wilfried (2011): Why is Belgian Federalism not more asymmetrical? In: Requejo, Ferran & Nagel, Klaus-Jürgen (eds.): Federalism beyond federations. Asymmetry and Processes of Resymmetrisation in Europe, Bodmin: MPG Books Group. Van Wynsberghe, Caroline (2011): L’exemple belge. Les faiblesses de la formule fédérale mise en place en Belgique. In: L’idée fédérale, Réseau québécois de réflexion sur le fédéralisme. Online at: http://ideefederale.ca/wp/wp-content/uploads/ 2011/04/Belgique.pdf [03/05/2013].

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2. Studies of Germany Auswärtiges Amt (2012): Final Report of the Future of Europe Group. Online at: http://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/cae/servlet/contentblob/626338/publicationFile/171838/ 120918-Abschlussbericht-Zukunftsgruppe.pdf [03/05/2013]. Bertelsmann Foundation (2013): Vorteile Deutschlands Szenarienrechnungen bis zum Jahr 2025. Online stiftung.de/cps/rde/xbcr/SID-018721F1-EFB33BFF/bst/xcms_ [03/05/2013]. durch die Währungsunion. at: http://www.bertelsmannbst_dms_37726_37727_2.pdf

Fischer, Joschka, 2000: From Confederacy to Federation – Thoughts on the Finality of European Integration. Speech by Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer at Humboldt University in Berlin. Online at: http://germanhistorydocs.ghi-dc.org/sub_document.cfm?document_id=3745 [03/05/2013]. Habermas, Jürgen (2011a): Europe's post-democratic era. Online http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/nov/10/jurgen-habermas-europe-postdemocratic [03/05/2013]. Habermas, Jürgen (2011b): Zur Verfassung Europas, Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp. Hergenhan, Jutta (2000): Le fédéralisme allemand et la construction européenne. Paris: Notre Europe. Leonard, Mark et al. (2013): The remarkable rise of continental Euroscepticism. Online at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/apr/24/continental-euroscepticism-rise [03/05/2013]. Schmidt, Vivien A. (1999): European “Federalism” and its Encroachments on National Institutions, in Publius: The Journal of Federalism, 29:1, 19 – 44. Volmerange, Xavier (1994): Le fédéralisme allemand et l’intégration européenne. Paris: L’Harmattan. at:

3. Studies of Greece OECD (2012): Etudes économiques de l’OCDE. Union européenne. Editions OCDE, March 2012. OECD (2009): Etudes économiques de l’OCDE. Grèce. Volume 2009/15, Editions OCDE, July 2009. Pliakos, Asteris (1994): Le Fédéralisme et le Régionalisme en Grèce. In: Revue de Droit International et de Droit Comparé, 7 – 22. Sidjanski, Dusan (1998): Etat européen ou Union européenne à vocation fédérale ? In: Swiss Political Science Review, 4(4), 83 – 118.

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Thouez, Jean-Pierre (1999): La région et l’intégration européenne. In: Canadian Geographer, 10/1999, Vol. 43, n°3, 304.

4. Studies of Romania Bochsler, Daniel & Szöcsik, Edina (2012): The Forbidden Fruit of Federalism. Evidence from Romania and Slovakia, Article manuscript, prepared for a special issue of West European Politics, Edited by Emanuele Massetti and Simon Toubeau. Constitution of Romania, Online at: http://www.cdep.ro/pls/dic/site.page?id=371 [03/05/2013]. Dobre, Ana Maria (2009): The Dynamics of Europeanisation and Regionalisation: Regional Reform in Romania, in: Perspectives on European Politics and Society, 10(2), 181 – 194.

5. Studies on the UK Corbett, Richard (2008): British political parties and the dreaded 'f' word, in: Stanley Henig (ed.): Federalism and the British: Two Centuries of Thought and Action, London: The Federal Trust. European Commission (2010): Eurobarometer 74. National Report United Kingdom. Online at: http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/eb/eb74/eb74_uk_uk_nat.pdf [03/05/2013] Ford, Robert; Goodwin, Matthew J. & Cutts, David (2012): Strategic Eurosceptics and polite xenophobes: Support for the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) in the 2009 European Parliament elections, in: European Journal of Political Research 51:2, 204 – 234. Gamble, Andrew (2006): The Constitutional Revolution in the United Kingdom, in: Publius: The Journal of Federalism 36:1, 19 – 35. Hix, Simon (2007): Euroscepticism as Anti-Centralization: A Rational Choice Institutionalist Perspective, in: European Union Politics 8:1, 131 – 150. Hooghe, Liesbet (2007): What Drives Euroskepticism? Party–Public Cueing, Ideology and Strategic Opportunity, in: European Union Politics 8:1, 5 – 12. Jeffery, Charlie & Wincott, Daniel (2006): Devolution in the United Kingdom: Statehood and Citizenship in Transition, in: Publius: The Journal of Federalism 36:1, 3 – 18. Laffin, Martin & Alys, Thomas (1999): The United Kingdom: Federalism in Denial?, in: Publius: The Journal of Federalism 29:3, 89 – 107.

III. Observations Dehousse, Renaud (2002): Une Constitution pour l’Europe? Paris: Presses de Sciences Po. Duchesne, Sophie (2008): “Waiting for a European Identity…Reflections on the Process of Identification with Europe”, in: Perspectives on European Politics and Society, 9(4), 397-410.

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European Commission (2012): “A Blueprint for a Deep and Genuine Economic and Monetary Union: Launching a European Debate” (COM/2012/777/FINAL/2), online at: http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/president/news/archives/2012/11/pdf/ blueprint_en.pdf [10/05/2013] Habermas, Jürgen (2013): Democracy, Solidarity and the European Crisis, online at: http://www.social-europe.eu/2013/05/democracy-solidarity-and-the-european-crisis-2/ [10/05/2013] Habermas, Jürgen (1998): L'intégration républicaine: essai de théorie, Paris : Fayard. Quatremer, Jean & Clarisse, Yves (2005): Les maîtres de l’Europe. Paris: Grasset. Reynié, Dominique (2007): L’impuissance du Non. Online at : http://reynie.typepad.fr/ opinion_europenneeuropean/2007/09/limpuissance-du.html [03/05/2013]

IV. Interviews conducted for this research paper Chopin, Thierry: 8th April 2013, Paris Corbett, Richard: April 3rd 2013, Paris (via telephone). Dehousse, Renaud: April 4th 2013, Paris. Preda, Cristian: March, 27th 2013, Brussels. Quatremer, Jean: March 29th 2013, Brussels. Reynié, Dominique:February 28th 2013, Paris. Ster, Arabela: 22nd February 2013, Bucharest (via e-mail)