European Union as a Unique Foundation

Author:Mihaela Carausan
Position:Associate Professor, PhD, National University of Political Studies and Public Administration, Faculty of Public Administration, Department of Law, Romania
Legal Sciences in the New Millennium
European Union as a Unique Foundation
Mihaela V. Crușan
Abstract: Europ ean Union is not a state and is becoming more than just one intergovernmental actor. Its
formal commitment to promote democracy has grown. European Union has had a strong dynamic of its own;
the increase in membership potentially helped it to become a more powerful actor. Democracy is a core
European Union value and through our analysis we will try to find out how much of this value is promoted by
its institutions. The hypothesis that led us to this research was that „European Union is not a state‟. In order to
find what it is, if not a state, we reviewed the development of the European Union, its basic principles and
values and analyzed them thorough the confederate state lens. The aim of this paper is to discuss arguments
that may develop into a study answering a haunting question: “Is European Union a state, a federation, a
confederation or what?” The answer seems to be spinning round the concept of “sovereignty” and since
European Union is in a dynamic evolution we will not use labels but only discuss arguments. By summing up
the comparative studies and based on qualitative methods we tried to establish what kind of found ation
European Union has and if democracy is really it s core value. And the conclusion is that result, European
Union is a political system which cannot (yet) be analyzed as a state, but rather as a distinctive hybrid.
Keywords: political system; state; confederation; democracy
1. Not a State because of the Impact of its Formation
European Union is built on political values that demonstrate and share democracy in a process defined
by „partnership‟ and ideological acceptance. European Union (EU) managed alone to pass over a
century marked by two „world wars‟ and one „cold war‟. It had a distinctive contribution to
democratization of the Central and Eastern Europe, an effective proof of how democracy can be
peacefully established when the will of the people exists. That it is why we consider European Union
as a model of political harmony both within and among its states.
Even if modern social science (M. Weber) emphasized that only a state can have a democratic and
effective government EU proved that the power can be split between different actors and levels of
governments. EU has a constitutional framework with a balance of powers between EU and the
Member States (MS) and its policies have significant implications on the economy and in the
European society. Based on voluntary cooperation of the MS and without any force of coercion on
them, but with „incentives of compliance‟, EU should be understood and analysed as a distinctive
political system. EU is a political system, as we will see, with a unique foundation and which was not
tailored by any known type of state.
The atmosphere that governed post-war Europe in the early 50‟s proved favourable to start the
reconstruction of Europe on a new foundation. In the spring of 1950, Europe was on the edge of an
abyss: although five years had passed since the end of World War II, reconciling former enemies
1 Associate Professor, PhD, National University of Political Studies and Public Administration, Faculty of Public
Administration, Department of Law, Romania, Address: 6, Po vernei Str., District 1, Bucharest, Romania, Tel.:
(40)(021)318.08.97, (40)(021)318.08.98, Corresponding author:

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