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Draghi: EU is “most advanced experiment” in transnational government

Summary:
The Atlantic Council – a Washington-based NATO-spirited think-tank – has given a “global citizen” award to European Central Bank President Mario Draghi, providing the chief with an opportunity to expound on the significance of the European Union: The fate of Europe is naturally of immediate interest to its citizens. But it is also indeed of direct relevance to the world at large. The European Union and its monetary union are regional projects with global implications. [. . .] To my mind, however, there is another reason why the euro area is crucially relevant to the global economy. It comes from the fact that European integration is by far the most advanced experiment in managing issues that cut across borders, through a combination of international and supranational arrangements. [. . .] But now, the nature of the many challenges we face shows how right this approach fundamentally was: think of migrants seeking refuge in our countries, the threat of terrorism, the consequences of climate change, the recent succession of financial and economic crises. And these challenges are not specific to Europe. They are global. I am certainly not suggesting that the path followed by Europe to manage them is replicable at a global level.

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Draghi: EU is “most advanced experiment” in transnational government

The Atlantic Council – a Washington-based NATO-spirited think-tank – has given a “global citizen” award to European Central Bank President Mario Draghi, providing the chief with an opportunity to expound on the significance of the European Union:

The fate of Europe is naturally of immediate interest to its citizens. But it is also indeed of direct relevance to the world at large. The European Union and its monetary union are regional projects with global implications. [. . .]

To my mind, however, there is another reason why the euro area is crucially relevant to the global economy. It comes from the fact that European integration is by far the most advanced experiment in managing issues that cut across borders, through a combination of international and supranational arrangements. [. . .]

But now, the nature of the many challenges we face shows how right this approach fundamentally was: think of migrants seeking refuge in our countries, the threat of terrorism, the consequences of climate change, the recent succession of financial and economic crises. And these challenges are not specific to Europe. They are global.

I am certainly not suggesting that the path followed by Europe to manage them is replicable at a global level. But the experience we have gathered, the experimentation with supranationalism, the failures and the successes, all carry invaluable information for those involved in managing global issues.

It may seem at times that we in Europe are not able to cope with these challenges, but we do. Each and every time, we prevail.

And why is that? Because when we work as a union, we can address problems that would overwhelm us if each country tried to address them alone. And sometimes, what seems like a difficulty of working together is simply a reflection of the difficulty of overcoming the challenges thrown in our way. One should not mistake the one for the other.

Many argue that our societies are not homogenous enough to operate as a union. But others would argue that further integration is necessary to extract all the economies of scale and scope that our union brings.

I am firmly in this second camp. And I am firmly among those who believe that we can better protect the interest of citizens in every country by making our Union, to use a phrase from your constitutional tradition, “more perfect”.

CJW: The European Union is certainly an experiment worth learning from. What lessons can we learn? The moral for me is that nationhood matters and that, as a rule, government should be as national as possible and as international as necessary.

What do you think?

Craig Willy
This is the blog of European affairs writer Craig James Willy. Elite and popular discourse on the European Union tends to have a weak relationship with reality. Both pundits and politicians – whether American liberals or conservatives, British eurosceptics or simply French – tend to project their national dreams and nightmares upon it. I have a nuanced analysis of Europe based on the primacy and diversity of national realities and on actual EU decision-making practices.

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