October 15, 2016

Antoine Vauchez on the Trap of the European "Grand Narrative"

Just a reminder to readers that the blog 'Do You Law?', from network members Stéphanie Hennette Vauchez (Paris-Nanterre) and Antoine Vauchez (CNRS), appears in the Paris daily Liberation. If you can read French, it's a great way to follow legal controversies in France and the EU more broadly. Below is a translation of an excerpt from recent post by Antoine entitled "Finding the 'European People' Behind the 'Founding Fathers'".

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The European Union is indeed haunted by the "grand narrative" of its inexorable development. At the risk of saturating the "European project" with myths and symbols, European institutions have continued to focus on building a "European pantheon" for its the founding fathers, with the original prophecy being the "Schuman declaration" of 9 May 1950, paving the way for the European Communities. Hackneyed to boredom, this teleological story has ended up trapping us. With our eyes fixated on the future development of the Union and its eventual emergence  as a European democracy, we have come to see the repeated "crises" of European integration as merely opportunities for "relaunch", thus concealing both the social and economic contradictions as well as the democratic impasses that they entail. By viewing the history of Europe as the unfolding of one project, we have paved the way for its rejection "en bloc" as a consequence of the Union's improbable DNA. Between a golden legend and a black legend, a mythical relationship was born within the European "project" that condemns us to a choice between the status quo of a Brussels-based political world that navigates without instruments and the total rejection of that world by "sovereigntists".

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