Romania integration in EU on 1st january 2007....
December 2, 2006 2:37pm CST
This study is an insight into the theory and practice of Romanian sovereignty over the next years and, as such, attempts to identify patterns of action in the Romanian–EU bilateral relation and mutual influences that are likely to occur in the process, outlining developments from the viewpoint of security studies as applicable to both Europe in general and to Romania in particular. It goes without saying that EU membership will have a considerable impact upon Romania’s sovereignty. The assumption this study builds on is that the benefits Romania will derive as a member of the EU will, in the long term, weigh more heavily than those drawbacks of the integration process stemming from sovereignty-sharing as viewed by Eurosceptics. The study traces the evolution of the concept of sovereignty to the modern interpretation given by the EU or its member states, while at the same time x-raying both the upsides and downsides of EU integration in terms of national sovereignty. The controversies around the concept of sovereignty as applicable to relations between member states and the EU owe much to the many definitions of sovereignty in simultaneous use. By simplifying the myriad meanings of the word “sovereignty”, one comes to two principal conflicting definitions. These are: political-economic sovereignty, viewed as leverage in getting an expected result from other states or international actors and formal sovereignty in the legal sense of the word. With respect to what some analysts call “purely economic sovereignty”, the authors will show that this attribute is no longer applicable today to any of the EU member states, as economic co-operation has replaced isolationist economic theories. While the classical definition of sovereignty owes much to canonical and Roman Law, to the views of medieval jurists and to the evolution of absolute monarchies, taking on a modern shade of meaning in the wake of the Peace of Westphalia and later the French Revolution, sovereignty as power to impose an expected solution took shape particularly in the XXth century, under the impact of globalization analyzed through numerous papers on political economy or political science drawing on American political economy. In practice however, one cannot completely dissociate between the two definitions, particularly since current usage operates a slide from one meaning to the other, which sometimes goes unnoticed. The EU example is fully telling of this slide in meanings. The functionalist trend inspired by Jean Monnet has been careful to avoid any reference whatsoever to sovereignty in the legal sense of the word, while advocating a vision of integration that modifies the meaning of sovereignty, this time viewed as capacity. Although the functionalist lingo admits of no normative shades of meaning, the final goal of Monnet and of other famous federalists such as De Gasperi was actually a common one: a European federation built after the American model. Despite the fact that the legal meaning of sovereignty was usually a normative one, an ideal rarely achieved, one could still discern the concrete shape this ideal has taken in practice. By this is meant that an indirect change to the legal meaning of sovereignty has occurred, on the basis of some faits accomplis, particularly with respect to autonomy (the exclusive authority of the state over domestic matters) and to the delegation of sovereign powers to institutions operating outside of the national framework. The ambiguous attitude that the trailblazers of the European construction took towards the concept of sovereignty stemmed, in the postbellum period, from the will to overcome European conflicts by promoting, at the first stage, economic interdependence in areas highly sensitive to sovereignty as capacity for action — such as the coal and steel industries on which the war effort had built at the time. The success of reconciliation (Franco–German reconciliation in particular) is an argument for further steps towards integration, including the supranational sense. But the citizens of EU member states are not necessarily ready to sacrifice all of their states’ sovereignty to an entity which has scored political success but whipped up practical opposition to enhanced supranational powers. This begs two questions: how far will the transfer or rather the exchange of sovereignty go for the member states of the EU and how will this process go down with EU citizens? We shall try to trace an imaginary boundary of sovereignty exchange beyond which EU member states will not, in our view, go over the next generation. Precisely why this will take one generation you will learn in the pages to follow. The political attitude at the opposite end of federalist aspirations is “Euroscepticism”, the “classical” form of which was developed in Great Britain. Eurosceptics espoused an intergovernmental approach at institutional level later described in EU theories as intergovernmentalism (liberal intergovernmentalism in its latest form developed by Moravcsik). The authors however have decided to use the term ‘Euroscepticism’ as a synonym for opposition to European integration in general, defined as supranational dynamics, applicable to both EU member states and candidate countries. At the same time, Euroscepticism will be used in the broad sense of the word, to cover both the official political level and domestic non-governmental political or economic/social debates. Therefore, starting from the categories and assumptions detailed above, this study will x-ray and argue against opposition to Romania’s accession to the EU. The paper will assess Western Eurosceptic arguments by comparison with opposition to EU accession as already expressed in Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and the Baltic States. This study may serve as inspiration to present and future political decision-makers in Romania. Also, it attempts to spur debate on its subject matter so that the public will be in the know as to the challenges posed by Romania’s accession to the EU. One of its purposes is to be used within the Romanian institutional framework, mainly by those ministries at the heart of the accession process (Ministry for European Integration, Ministry of Foreign Affairs), but also by the Prime Minister’s Office, by the Romanian Presidency and the Economic and Social Council, and last but not least by local public administration authorities.