"… the solution must be a new Constitutional Convention, whose members are invested with the authority to begin again from the foundations and produce a lapidary statement of basic institutions and rights—rather than the ponderous EU treaties Europeans tend to vote down when given the chance in national referendums."  

Absolute must-read article by Timothy Snyder in The New York Review of Books on the need for Europe to re-invent EU democracy if it is to prevent further meltdown of the European project.

Some of the ideas developed in this article seem to go in the same direction as ideas I have developed earlier on this blog about the need for a Phoenix Europe project.

A few quotes worth highlighting from this amazing essay:

“… the European financial crisis is but a symptom of a deeper malaise of European political culture. Europe is troubled, he says, by insecure majorities, the national populations of EU member-states who believe themselves to be threatened both by globalization in the streets (immigration) and globalization in the law (Brussels). As Krastev puts it, national governments have politics but no policy, since important decisions are made by the EU; the EU has policy but no politics, since decisions are not made by elected representatives.”

European integration has always depended upon a certain kind of historical brinksmanship. Each major step forward has contained the seeds of a future problem, which can only be solved at some future point by another step. Krastev likens this gradualist approach to crossing a wild river by jumping from rock to rock, with the next rock only becoming visible after each jump. But what, he asks, if the rocks only go halfway across the river?”

“At the moment Greek voters can change the parties who rule them, but cannot change fiscal policies. These are decided in Berlin. Thus we have the emergence of pantomime republics.”

“Since it would be a new beginning rather than just another treaty, however, it would have to start with Berlin. The German lead would have to be followed by other countries that are fiscally sound and growing, which at this moment means a new core around the Baltic Sea. Countries that vote it down would simply be left out, with the option of revoting later, rather than being allowed to torpedo the entire project.”

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