would be nothing less than the “most serious pitfall”
threatening (s)he who studies the EuropeanUnion. The second set of arguments, that we label
the invisible hand theory
, comes down to the idea thatEurope works best without politics. Here again, two distinct ideas have been developed in theliterature, embracing two historical ages of the European project. “Market Europe,” that wasborn out of pragmatic steps, is said to function more efficiently without the “fallacy of grandtheorizing” – visions or “illusions” – and should steer clear of any conscious political integration,as undesirable as it is impossible (see Moravcsik, 2005a);
“Moral Europe,” an anti-power in itsessence, is a
for the world rather than for itself, a “civilian power” heir toChristianity’s selflessness rather than Greeks’ “democratic politicization.”
inthe contemporary period would thus be to benevolently spread democracy outward, integrating as many countries as possible even at the risk of centrifugal dissolution.
In the light of the political economy shortcomings and failures of the European economicconstitution, we reject both of those two sets of arguments. Europe and national liberaldemocracies can and must be reconciled through a political re-contracting between memberstates taking size into account, devised to improve accountability, efficiency and stability in theEU in years to come.In the context of the growing economic literature on the peculiar brand of federalism the EUexemplifies,
we try to adopt an original perspective in two respects: first, we develop ourarguments about the EU using the constitutional political economy approach as a reference – which is neither original nor new
– but applying it to the
constitution of the EU; second, we consider the role of economic and political size in federal regimes, not from the externalperspective – the question of
the size of the EU
(what is the critical size for the EU, what the EU
Here the external validity of the argument seems doubtful. The case for pragmatism on behalf of experience does not appear in line with some defining moments of European history. The conference of Messina (June 1955) actually witnessed the adoption of a global “grand plan” (the “Beyen plan”) insteadof piecemeal “small steps” (the “Spaak plan”) and that approach framed the Treaty of Rome. It could bean example of how highly regarded European figures’ historical role (like Jean Monnet) might have beenoverestimated (Milward, 1992). But it is hardly an illustration of how grand planning was overplayed by pragmatism in the course of European integration.
The expression was used by the philosopher Slavoj Žižek in an interview with
, 8 May 2005.
See Leonard (2005) for a recent non-academic formulation of the argument. The question of the limitsor borders of the EU is not addressed in the present paper.
See Hix (2005) for a survey.
See Mueller (2005) for a very recent survey.