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Europe: a concrete idea


In his recent interventions on Europe, here and here, Etienne Balibar puts forward the necessity of a new revolutionary foundation of the integration process. Among the various discourses on the EU in this time of elections, his call is specific and does not leave room for any ambiguity.

This is given precisely by the use of the two interrelated concepts of ‘foundation’ and of ‘revolutionary’. Calling for a new foundation means that the current EU policies are not legitimate any more, and this represents a clear judgment on the present state of affairs, as well as on the political elites who have been taking the major decisions so far. As Balibar has made clear, the new foundation needs to come from below, that is from the popular classes, and not from the ruling elites.

But, more important, this new foundation needs to be revolutionary, that is, it needs to operate a rupture with the political principles and with the internal relations of force that have been dominant so far in the process of integration. As Balibar puts it, it is not possible any more to call for a ‘rationalization’ of the current EU institutions, as it is still defended by the liberals and by those in the centre-left. This is why, I would add, the position represented by the Party of European Socialist (PES) and by Martin Schulz, the candidate of the PES to the European Commission, is totally inadequate, precisely because it does not call for a radical revision of the current economic and political norms governing the EU.

This point is also made with clarity by the call launched by Barbara Spinelli, among others. If Schulz is elected the next president of the European Commission, most probably a grand coalition will take place between the PES and the EPP (European People’s Party). The inadequacy of such an answer is demonstrated by the rise of anti-european parties and movements, such as Golden Dawn in Greece, the Front National of Marine Le Pen in France, the Alternative für Deutschland in Germany. These forces spell out the limits of every approach that only attempts to regulate the current EU crisis, without taking into account the deep dissatisfaction with the way in which the EU is currently organized.

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