Nationalism and
European Unity
The Origin of European Unity
Europe was 'united' at several times in the
past, mainly in classical times
Roman Empire
Successors like Charlemagne, Habsburgs
claim title of Holy Roman Emperor - just
as various rulers in the Islamic world
claimed to be Caliph
'Europe' replaces Christendom as key
idea, c 1300-1350
Warfare and the European Idea
Desire to limit warfare within states was
always key to the European Idea
George Podebrad (Hussite king of
Bohemia) scheme for a compact against
the Turks (1458-71). Main European
Court of Justice
International arbitration
Confederal budget
French Ideals of Europe, c.
Sully's 'Grand Design':
Peace in Europe
Joint army
Alliance against Turks and Tsar
Trade promotion
Representational central body
French as lingua franca
France viewed as leader
A federal plan which respected national
9. Sought revival of Imperial and Papal
authority as sources of legitimacy
Enlightenment Europeanism
Penn, Diderot, Paine, St Simon and others
Were cosmopolitan liberals
Europeanism and cosmopolitanism linked
Favoured Europeanism as a ticket to peace,
prosperity and Enlightenment
St Simon claims in 1821 that Europeanism as
a sentiment already took precedence over
St Simon sees Anglo-French hub as motor of
End to Papal and Roman dreams; harmony
among peoples rather than rulers
The Evolution of the European
Napoleon speaks of one European
After Napoleonic Wars, St Simon's ideas
influential and popular. Influenced
Lemonnier's Les Etats-Unis d'Europe
Revival of interest in St Simon after WWI
Most schemes were federal, though some
post-WWI radicals rejected the nation
Europeanism pre-1939
Briand envisions 'union for economic,
political [and] social cooperation'
Took care not to infringe state sovereignty
Met a cool reception from most politicians
and opposition from many newspapers,
especially on the French right
Paneuropean ideas taken up by nonCommunist resistance movements during
Kalergi influences Churchill's 'United
States of Europe' speech of 1946
Favourable climate due to war
But this time, improved communications
and a more cosmopolitan temper
converted the dream into a reality
Christian Democratic parties in Europe
with their Catholic links, romanticise the
Papal past and favour union, as do many
Humanitarian, pacifist and religious
themes blend with economic rationality of
free traders
Council of Europe
Not EC
10 original members, 1949
Developed European Convention on
Human Rights (1950)
• The Secretariat
• The Committee of Ministers
• The Parliamentary Assembly The European
Court of Human Rights
• The Commissioner for Human Rights
• European Commission for Democracy
through Law, better known as the Venice
Council of Europe's Cultural
Developed European
flag with 12 golden
stars (1955)
Established 5 May
1949 as Europe Day
Anthem based on
Beethoven's Ode to
Joy (1972)
Has 46 members
today: distinct from
EU, but
European Community
Council of Europe, 1949, a forerunner
European Coal & Steel Community, 1952
European Economic Community, 1957
Further aspects added after 1957
Expansion from original 'Six' to present 25
The Evolution of the European
EU Structure
E u ro p e a n
C o m m is s io n
(N a tio n s a p p o in t
co m m issio n e rs, b u t
b u re a u cra cy te n d s to b e
id e a listic a n d p ro -E u ro p e )
C o u n c il o f M in is te rs
(M a in ly a n o rg a n fo r
in te rg o ve rn m e n ta lism a n d
n a tio n a l in te re st p o litics,
b u t Q M V o p e ra te s)
E u ro p e a n C o u rt o f
J u s tic e (E C J )
(D e cisio n s te n d to
in frin g e u p o n n a tio n a l
so ve re ig n ty)
N a tio n -S ta te
S o ve re ig n ty/
Id e n tity
E u ro p e a n
P a rlia m e n t
(p a rtie s a re b a se d o n
n a tio n a l o n e s, b u t M E P s
te n d to b e m o re
p ro -E u ro p e )
The Role of Idealists in the EU Legislative Process
EU structure
Degree of centralisation varies by
• A Federation (i.e. 'State') in monetary
affairs, agricultural, trade and
environmental policy. Also in legalsocial aspects and citizenship
• A Confederation in social and
economic policy, consumer
protection, internal affairs
• An International Organisation in
foreign affairs
Qualified Majority Voting (QMV)
Since Nice Treaty (2000), an increasing
number of decisions taken by QMV rather
than unanimity
QMV threshold set to fall from 71% to
Means that nations no longer have a veto
on integration. A step favouring
integration rather than nationalism
Council of Ministers
Shift from Unanimity to QMV
27 new provisions are passing in whole or in
part from unanimity to a qualified majority,
• judicial cooperation in civil matters
• industrial policy
• measures to facilitate the free movement of
• economic, financial and technical cooperation
with third countries
• the appointment of members of certain
the move to qualified majority voting was
not accepted for social and tax policy.
EU Citizenship vs National
Freedom to move and take up
residence anywhere in the Union;
The right to vote and stand in local
government and European
Parliament elections in the country of
Clearly gives foreigners important
rights within nation-states
Balance between Nation and
Always a balance between nation-state
interests and pan-European interest
Battle goes on between and within
Balance between Euro-idealism and
proponents of national interest
Sometimes interests of small nations
dovetail with that of integrationists (they
have more clout to gain from being part of
Europe )
European Court of Justice
A more direct proponent of integration than
even the Commission
One judge per state, but decisions based on
simple majority
Judges and the 8 appointed advocatesgeneral may often be Euro-idealists or
activist in their philosophy
Van Gend en Loos case (1963) gives
individuals rights under EU law against their
Costa v. ENEL case (1964): where national
and EU law conflict, latter is supreme
ECJ Positive and Negative
Promotes 'negative integration':
barriers to intra-EU activity declared
Promotes 'positive integration': EC
legal regimes constructed to replace
national ones
Negative Integration: 1974 case
declared rules which hinder intra-EC
trade illegal; 1979 Cassis de Dijon
ECJ Positive Integration
• Gender Equality: Art. 119 of EEC Treaty:
'equal pay for equal work'
• EU as 'Social Community', despite
opposition from UK
• Opens up a flood of litigation from
EU Expansion
Impact of Expansion
Expansion to 25 will dilute integration
Harder for a common foreign policy and
common action
More poor countries will put strain on EU
budget - unlikely that wealthy countries
will contribute more (EU budget around
1.5% of EU GDP)
Turkey and E Europe: Unclear where limits
lie: will this not dilute identity of EU (ie.
No longer between Tsar and Sultan)
Possible 'Two-Speed' Europe
Problems with European
Cultural or Civilizational Identity
Exclusive or Partial Items:
• Christianity (Catholic, Prot, Orthodox, nonChristian)
• Greco-Roman Inheritance (Islam?)
• Reformation/Enlightenment (Islam,
• Caucasian ‘race’ (US, non-white Europeans?)
• Geography (but what about EU expansion)
• ‘Others’ (but if Turks and Russians come in,
where are the traditional enemies?)
Pro-European Nations
Certain states embrace integrationist
sentiments more than others
France, Germany and other original members
(especially the 'Six') are most pro-Europe
among western European countries
Much has to do with national identities of
these states as opposed to mere national
Europe also a route to prominence on the
world stage for certain nations
Less well-off nations tend to be pro-Europe
for economic reasons (S & E Europe +
France: Gaullist proEuropeanism
Seeks to reclaim French cultural
predominance of 18th-19th c
Seeks to challenge Anglo-Saxon
hegemony of 19th-20th c
Sees Anglo-Saxon west as ‘other’
De Gaulle positions France at the heart of
a Europe that includes Russia and is
flanked by Anglo-Saxon West and Chinese
1963 crisis over UK entry into EEC which
De Gaulle seeks to block UK entry
German pro-European Idealism
Nazi period discredits nationalism
Cosmopolitan as opposed to Gaullist spirit
Desire for influence and self-respect
without nationalism
Less anti-Anglo-Saxon due to post-WWII
(witness different attitudes toward English
as language)
More truly cosmopolitan than French proEuropeanism
Smaller Nations: Benelux
History of neutrality and fear of larger
History of pooling sovereignty in alliances
Only chance of agency is through a larger
Identity is less significant in absence of
larger blocks
Belgium and Luxembourg lack clear
linguistic or religious markers of
nationhood unlike say Germany or France
Do you feel national,
European or Both (2004)?
Views of Unification (1995)
Euroskepticism – On the Rise?
Smith: elites identify more easily because
Europeanism may be a proxy of
Smith: without European education and
media, little resonance among masses –
esp less mobile
Evidence shows that Euro-skepticism and
anti-immigration sentiment strongly linked
and tied to less well-educated population
Rise in support for European integration
peaks, 1988
Idea of Europe is at least 1000 years old
Many aspects of the European Union
challenge national sovereignty
But the EU also reinforces national identity
Particular nations tend to favour European
unity due to their own historical
experience and economic interests
Trend towards integration appears to have
stalled due to expansion and the rise of
Euro-skepticism in western Europe

Nationalism and European Unity