Habermas on the EU

In Der Spiegel German philosopher/social theorist Jürgen Habermas, in the wake of the Irish rejection of the Lisbon Treaty, presents a case for radical democratization of the European Union. I’m not sure how I feel about this (but, then again, I’m not the biggest proponent of the E.U., any-way), but Habermas certainly provides tantalizing viands for cogitation. Part I. Part II, from which I have excerpted the following passage.

The European train has come a long way, despite allowing the slowest member to determine overall speed. But from now on that is the wrong tempo. Even German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble’s proposal that Europeans be allowed to directly elect an EU president goes well beyond the timid Lisbon Treaty. The European Council should take the plunge and tie a referendum to European elections next year.

The wording of the referendum would have to be sufficiently clear to allow voters to reach a decision on the EU’s future direction. And all European citizens should cast their ballots on the same day, using the same procedure and on the same issue — all across the continent. One of the shortcomings of referenda to date has been that the formation of opinion has remained stuck in individual national contexts.


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