One of the main topics of the conference was to analyse how (and if), despite the rise of Euroscepticism, extremism, and populism, the on-going crisis may become a catalyst for deeper political and economic integration—as well as their implications in terms of democratic governance of the Union.
In my view, the extraordinary circumstances created by the economic crisis and Member States’ reaction to it — by mainly using (i.e., instrumentalising) European institutions as a vehicle for policies that were clearly outside the scope of the existing Treaties — are acting as a catalyst for deeper (legal and economic) integration… by undemocratic means.
However, resort to (less than if not fully un)democratic means seems to have been the only sensible and viable approach to a fast-changing reality that exceeded the institutional design of the EU (and the Member States). Indeed, short of creating a truly federal government of the EU, it is hard for me to see any way of adapting such institutions in a manner that allows for quick and focused reaction to extraordinary (or urgent) circumstances. The experience with the failed European Constitution is a clear indication that democratic/more representative decision-making (constitutional) procedures are almost utopian in times of Euroscepticism and polarisation.
Dr. Albert Sánchez Graells, University of Leicester
For the Greek Public Policy Forum 2nd Annual Chania Forum 2013, 27-28 September 2013