View Full Version : Towards a United States of Europe (by Jürgen Habermas)

Saturday, June 7th, 2008, 11:34 PM
Towards a United States of Europe

By Jürgen Habermas

On March 9, German philosopher Jürgen Habermas was awarded the Bruno Kreisky Prize (http://forums.skadi.net/redirector.php?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.krei sky.org%2Fhuman.rights%2F) for the advancement of human rights. In his acceptance speech printed by the Viennese paper Der Standard on March 10 and 11, Habermas speaks out for the first time on how the Internet has transformed public intellectual life, and takes a critical stance towards the world wide web:

"Use of the Internet has both broadened and fragmented the contexts of communication. This is why the Internet can have a subversive effect on intellectual life in authoritarian regimes. But at the same time, the less formal, horizontal cross-linking of communication channels weakens the achievements of traditional media. This focuses the attention of an anonymous and dispersed public on select topics and information, allowing citizens to concentrate on the same critically filtered issues and journalistic pieces at any given time. The price we pay for the growth in egalitarianism offered by the Internet is the decentralised access to unedited stories. In this medium, contributions by intellectuals lose their power to create a focus."

A large part of the speech is taken up with a dramatic appeal for concerted social and political action in Europe. signandsight.com thanks Jürgen Habermas for the permission to publish the end of his speech in its entirety.

Why should we get excited about such a lacklustre topic as the future of Europe? My answer is: if we are not able to hold a Europe-wide referendum before the next European elections in 2009 on the shape Europe should take, the future of the Union will be decided in favour of neo-liberal orthodoxy. Avoiding this touchy issue for the sake of a convenient peace and muddling along the well-trodden path of compromise will give free reign to the dynamic of unbridled market forces. This would force us to watch as the European Union's current political power is dismantled in favour of a diffuse European free-trade zone. For the first time in the process of European unification, we face the danger of regressing to a level of integration below what has already been achieved. What irks me is the paralytic numbness that has set in after the failure of the constitutional referenda in France and the Netherlands. Not taking a decision in this context amounts to a decision with major consequences.

Three pressing problems are bundled together in the single issue of Europe's inability to act:

(1) The international economic situation has changed in the wake of globalisation. Today's conditions deprive the national state of the tax resources it needs to satisfy its population's demands for collective goods and public services, or even to maintain the status quo. Further challenges, such as demographic developments and increased immigration, only aggravate the situation. Here the only defence is offence: winning back political clout on a supra-national level. Without convergent tax rates and medium-term harmonisation of economic and social-policies, we are in effect relinquishing our hold over the European social model.

(2) The return to ruthless hegemonic power politics, the clash of the West and the Islamic world, the decay of state structures in other parts of the world, the long-term social consequences of colonialism and the immediate political consequences of failed de-colonisation – all of this points to a high-risk international situation. Only a European Union capable of acting on the world stage - and taking its place beside the USA, China, India and Japan - can press for an alternative to the ruling Washington consensus in the world's economic institutions. Only such a Europe can advance the long overdue reforms within the UN which are both blocked by and dependent on the USA.

(3) One cause for the rift in the West that has become apparent since the Iraq war is the clash of cultures that now divides America itself into two camps of almost equal size. This clash has also caused a shift in the hitherto valid normative standards of government policy. America's closest allies cannot remain indifferent here. It is precisely in critical cases of joint action that we must break free of our dependence on our superior partner. That is one more reason why the European Union needs its own armed forces. Until now Europeans have been subordinated to the dictates and regulations of the American high command in NATO deployments. The time has come for us to attain a position where even in a joint military deployment we still remain true to our own conceptions of human rights, the ban on torture and wartime criminal law.

For these reasons, I believe Europe must pluck up the courage to introduce reforms which will give it not only effective decision-making procedures, but also its own foreign minister, a directly-elected president and its own financial basis. These could be the subject of a referendum held concurrently with the next European parliamentary elections. The draft would be considered passed if it received the 'double majority' of votes of the states and the electorate. At the same time, the referendum would only bind the member states in which a majority had voted in favour. Europe would then move away from the convoy model where the tempo is set by the slowest member. Even in a Europe made up of core and periphery, countries preferring to remain on the periphery retain the option of rejoining the core at any time.

These ideas dovetail with those of the Belgian prime minister (http://forums.skadi.net/redirector.php?url=http%3A%2F%2Fen.wikip edia.org%2Fwiki%2FGuy_Verhofstadt) Guy Verhofstadt, who has recently published a manifesto for the "United States of Europe."

Sunday, June 8th, 2008, 02:08 AM
So. "The United States of Europe". Pro's? Cons? Any opinions?

How is a positive view of this reconciled with European Preservation in general, and Germanic Preservation in particular?

Friday, June 20th, 2008, 07:26 PM
So. "The United States of Europe". Pro's? Cons? Any opinions?

I understand that in order for Europe to have a chance at gaining political and economic power to the extent that she will be able to rise above her current, subordinate position in relation to the USA (as Jürgen Habermas has put it), and furthermore to make sure that Europe can become/remain a significant world power, the EU has evolved... and continues to evolve...

But it would seem to me that the EU's very foundation is Pan-Europeanism, which could potentially lead to the development of one massive European multinational state at some stage... a multinational state that will, in time, come to embrace more and more traditionally non-European nations as her own. First Turkey... who's next?

In short, despite the potential political and economic gains to be gleaned from an increasingly amalgamated Europe (or EU), I think the price is too high. That price ultimately being the destruction of European ethnic/national diversity, as well as self-determination and self-autonomy for monoethnic/monocultural European nations.

Friday, June 20th, 2008, 09:03 PM
In short, a United States of Europa as a single entity would no longer be Germanic; it would therefore be unhelpful and destructive of the ancestral Bastion of the GermanenVolk

A progressive co-ordination of like-minded Germanic northern States would make some sense - as would a working alliance of Northern States with the Mediterranean States in the West. Someone has to protect the *Southern flank of Europe from the coming exodus of Africa ! :( That is surely the task of the ancestral people of *those lands - assisted technologically where necessary by the North......

But the essential requirement of any future plan for Europe should be the integrity of the Northern States with respect to their highest virtues! On this there should be no compromise.

ON the matter of France - I can only suggest some radical restructuring.... perhaps a de facto division of north and south. There would need to be some consideration of the line of division - together with a 'restructuring' of the populations involved.

Thursday, January 15th, 2009, 04:18 PM
I think the idea of the United Europe they are working towards is horrific. All of Europe should find this idea repulsive, not just Germanic countries. The more united Europe becomes the more the variety of distinctive cultures will deteriorate into one uniform significantly less diverse country. If you ask me, it is all someone's attempt at more power. Who would be the head of this United Europe? All of the European nations should muster great nationalism against this ploy.

Hauke Haien
Thursday, January 15th, 2009, 08:16 PM
The idea of a United States of Europe does not seem very appealing, because it immediately recalls the United States of America and the horrible catastrophe it brought to Germanics inside and outside of its borders; and just like in the US, the Roman Empire is cited as an ideal, the entity that has ever been our bitter adversary and oppressor, that we only managed to subdue with a high toll on our biological integrity.

Then again, it is just a name and does not need to mean anything beyond a geographic description. What ultimately counts is that such an entity serves the Germanic collective interest. The current EU does not, of course, it destroys our habitat, leeches resources from us and works in accordance with a global system that continuously shrinks the biological mass of the economically productive, who are more often than not our folk.

The task ahead is to redefine the EU as a Germanic sphere of influence that can help us compete with those who wish to destroy us. Dissolving our potential power base and throwing ourselves at the feet of the New Rome, the nation killer across the pond, is nothing short of suicide.

Sunday, February 15th, 2009, 04:00 PM
A "United States of Europe" would be nothing more than a big step towards a "United Stated of the World". Be under no delusions. We must oppose any and all movement towards the centralisation of power. Besides, I do not see it compounding the preservation of Europe. It would be easier for Non-Europeans to enter and become lost within.

Sunday, February 15th, 2009, 07:14 PM
Towards a United States of Europe

By Jürgen Habermas
Only a European Union capable of acting on the world stage - and taking its place beside the USA, China, India and Japan - can press for an alternative to the ruling Washington consensus in the world's economic institutions.

How come Japan, a nation-state near enough, is fine in coping with this new geopol situation, and our nation-states aren't?!? Isn't in fact Japan an alternative model to the massive regional-bloc thing everyone's having shoved down their throat these days?

Sunday, February 15th, 2009, 07:37 PM
A "United States of Europe" would be nothing more than a big step towards a "United Stated of the World". Be under no delusions. We must oppose any and all movement towards the centralisation of power. Besides, I do not see it compounding the preservation of Europe. It would be easier for Non-Europeans to enter and become lost within.

Centralization has always been the greatest threat to civilized man. Healthy competition allows the best minds in a country (or a set of countries) to thrive.
There were a lot of cases of great European minds who were denied work in their native countries, only to arrive in others to carry out their ambitions (Columbus coming to mind)
If Medieval Europe was a single state, the ruling dynasty would have never seen the need to discover the New World, let alone invest in new military and agricultural techniques, as it was otherwise irrelevant for them.

In the case of an UES/USE, military spending would be slashed into oblivion, the president will bring in illegals ($$$$ personal wealth $$$$) and probably
get away with massacres of groups he doesn't particularly like. Free speech advocates will be first on the list, you can bet on that much.