The Future of the Union: Montesquieu Versus Madison

Giandomenico Majone

in Dilemmas of European Integration

Published in print March 2005 | ISBN: 9780199274307
Published online February 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191603310 | DOI:
The Future of the Union: Montesquieu Versus Madison

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A European federation of states deeply divided along cultural, social, institutional and economic lines would be unable to provide the variety of public goods, including income redistribution, that citizens of modern welfare states take for granted; hence, it could not attract or retain sufficient popular support. Democratic life would continue to develop in the framework of the nation-state while the federation, far from correcting the democratic deficit of the present EU as federalists hope, would actually make it worse. In turn, this lack of legitimacy would prevent the would-be federal government from acting energetically, even in areas where the nation-states need to pool their sovereignty in order to play a more incisive role on the international scene. The confederal option seems to offer the only feasible solution to this dilemma.

Keywords: anti-federalists; confederation; constitutional demos; Constitutional Treaty; dilemma of scale; federalist dilemma; foreign policy; security policy; secession

Chapter.  8461 words. 

Subjects: European Union

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