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ND profs debate European Union’s future

Colleen Shula | Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Three Notre Dame professors debated the possibility for further integration of the European Union at a roundtable discussion Monday.

Political science professor Anthony Messina, law professor Paolo Carozza and economics and econometrics professor Chris Waller discussed their views and skepticisms concerning the addition of new countries to the European Union after referendums to ratify a new European Union Constitution failed in both France and The Netherlands last spring.

Waller said apprehension toward the European Union’s federal and economic aspects was the main reason the referendums failed to pass.

“There’s a fear in Old Europe of having a New Europe determine policy,” said Waller, who believed France and The Netherlands’ rejection of the European Union Constitution was ultimately a rejection of the idea of a federal Europe.

He also said economics plays a significant role in turning many countries away from the European Union due to their skepticism of the 1997 Stability and Growth Pact that allows budget surveillance of member countries. Waller said these economic reasons made him doubt the possibility of future integration.

Carozza agreed with Waller about the unlikelihood of future integration, calling the possibility “bleak.” However, he used human rights concerns as a critical explanation for his argument.

He said many countries were deterred from joining the European Union after its attempt to pass a Charter of Fundamental Rights in 2001. Although the charter did not pass, Carozza said it created a substantive list of rights that were extraordinarily ambitious, some of which were not even recognized by individual countries that were already members or considering membership.

Carozza said the European Union Constitution is not faithful to the original vision of Europe or capable of making countries aware of the need for self-sacrifice to achieve unity out of diversity.

“Further integration is a process that will require education in humanity,” Carozza said.

Messina said the popular anxiety about domestic unemployment in France, resentment towards its budget policies in The Netherlands and fears of enlargement and immigration convinced both countries to refrain from approving the constitution. He disagreed with Waller’s views and said that the success of integration has never been about issues of economics but rather of politics, security and peace.

Messina said the future of the European Union could vary between staying at status quo, unraveling and ultimately being destroyed or reviving for further integration with policy harmonization.

“One thing I’ve learned is how progress can be made out of setbacks,” Messina said. “The European Union always seems to find a way.”