Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


Citizenship and Democratic Legitimacy in the European Union - CIDEL, Final report, EUR 23114

Project ID: HPSE-CT-2002-00144


What kind of order is emerging in Europe? CIDEL has analysed a range of issues such as the constitutional developments of the EU, the steps towards a common foreign and security policy, the rationale of enlargement in order to test whether the EU is moving towards a value-based community based on a set of common values, or towards a lightsbased post-national union, based on a set of common civil and political rights.
The integration process has moved cooperation beyond intergovernmentalism and pragmatic problem-solving. Cooperation has turned political and constitutional, but there is no strong evidence of a common European identity of the kind presupposed by the value-based model. There is no unified people upon which statehood and political institutions can be built. But as European citizens have obtained a wider set of rights, and as the Union's competences have been expanded, there is arguably a movement in the direction of a rights-based notion of the Union. However, much more needs to be done for the citizens to be able to see themselves as the authors of the law they have to obey. The EU is not a federation and the member states control the most powerful body of the Union, the Council. Nevertheless, the EU is a supranational polity. It has got a legally binding, even if formally not incorporated, Charter of Fundamental Rights, a (not yet fully developed) competence catalogue delimiting the powers of the various branches and levels of government, a kind of bicameral system of legislation; as well as authoritative dispute-resolution mechanisms particularly embodied in the authority of the Court of Justice. The EU is, above all, a political system that makes extensive use of law to create order and purpose, but law-making and law enforcement take place within a structure that combines hierarchical and horizontal procedures. Through this process the citizens have achieved rights, but have not been able to give them to themselves.

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