The Idea of a European Superstate: Public Justification and European Integration

By Glyn Morgan | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 7

A Sovereign Europe

POLITICAL THEORISTS have often remarked on the ambiguity of the term “sovereignty.” Indeed, one theorist concluded his discussion of the concept with the suggestion that we give up “so Protean a word.”1 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 “intergovernmental” 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 value of sovereignty cannot be taken for granted. If we are to take the eurosceptics' arguments seriously, we need to gain a clearer view of what they think sovereignty is— which is not obviously the same as what those critical of sovereignty think it is—and what human purposes or values it serves. To this end, I begin with Noel Malcolm's brief but lucid statement of the eurosceptics' case against European political integration, a case that rests solely on the claim that national sovereignty is both necessary and desirable.2

Following a discussion of Malcolm's eurosceptic account of sovereignty, the second section of this chapter discusses “sovereignty” as it functions in international society. It is crucial, I argue, to understand this international dimension, because the organization of sovereignty has important international ramifications. The third section draws on this international relations perspective on sovereignty to consider a security-based justification for a European superstate. The fourth section addresses some of the problems with a European superstate. And the fifth section argues that whatever problems the European superstate faces, these problems cannot, contrary to the claims of many Eurosceptics, be remedied by a Europe of nation-states.


A EUROSCEPTIC'S ACCOUNT OF SOVEREIGNTY

Noel Malcolm's euroscepticism proceeds by way of a careful analysis of the nature and importance of sovereignty. In some respects, Malcolm's

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The Idea of a European Superstate: Public Justification and European Integration
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter 1 - Justification 24
  • Chapter 2 - Nationalism 45
  • Chapter 3 - Euroscepticism 56
  • Chapter 4 - Welfare 70
  • Chapter 5 - Security 89
  • Chapter 6 - A Postsovereign Europe 111
  • Chapter 7 - A Sovereign Europe 133
  • Conclusion 158
  • Notes 171
  • Afterword to the Paperback Edition 199
  • Index 207
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