It’s time to create a new type of European politics. That’s the argument from Professor Ulrike Guérot in her book: Why Europe Must Become a Republic. In her view, the EU we have now is broken, and its institutions are not working. She believes that tinkering around the edges is no longer enough, and we need a completely new institutional framework based on a different democratic blueprint.
The new “European republic” would comprise of:
- Civil equality before the law
- Political equality in the form of universal suffrage
- Shared mechanisms to promote the common good
Debating Europe is launching its new book club! This is your chance to put your questions to the authors taking part! Each month, we will choose a different book and collect your questions and comments, before interviewing the author and asking them to respond.
In May we will publish the responses from Ulrike Guèrot, professor, journalist, and founder of the European Democracy Lab, who will talk about why she thinks Europe needs to become a republic. Now’s your chance to ask her questions about the book!
Here’s a short explanation of the book’s central argument by the author herself:
I would look at India as an example. India is based on the principle of one person, one vote. Every citizen has a voice in Indian politics, even though it is a multi-lingual, multi-ethnic, and multi-religious state… What the Indians can do, we can do too.
I’m from Grevenbroich in the Rhineland, and there I only read local newspapers and I did not know what kind of papers they read down in Bavaria. At the same time, I was a German citizen in a community with the people of Bavaria. We do not necessarily have to consume the same media to have a sense of common belonging. We can belong to our local communities and still feel European. You do not always have to know exactly what other Europeans are reading.
I bet that not everyone in California gets up in the morning and wonders what they are doing in Alaska today. And that’s exactly the way it can be in Europe. The important issues are translated and communicated via the media, so that Berlin understands what Bavarians want, for example… We do not all need the same language, nor do we all need the same interests, in order to be equal as citizens before the law.
Ulrike Guèrot believes the many crises facing the EU – from Brexit to the migrant crisis – can be blamed on structural mistakes in the institutions of the European Union. The European project was designed in the 1950s, and is not fit to cope with the challenges of the 2010s. Is it time for a new model?
Above all, Guèrot argues that nation-states are tearing Europe apart, and she believes that cities and regions should be in charge politically under the institutional umbrella of the new European republic. In such a way, she feels we could create a decentralised, regionally-organised, parliamentary, democratic, sustainable, and social Europe.
Is it time to follow a different European model? Do we need a European republic, with power devolved to cities and regions? Or is there a good reason why nation-states have remained so popular for so long? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll put them to Ulrike Guèrot for her to respond!