Banking union strengthens “governance”

The developments of the past 12 years demand a new attempt for the approval of a European Constitution

Just before Christmas, in the year that has just ended, the heads of Government and State of the European Union took an important decision regarding the creation of a banking union, subject to approval by the European Parliament before its enforcement in 2014. To the architecture of European integration is added an important element. Along with the new rules and institutional agreements introduced over the past years to address the debt crisis and protect the euro, banking union is expected to provide the EU with the tools to address possible future crisis in the monetary and financial sectors and notably also the perils linked to the banks at risk, thereby preventing the emergence of problems such as those that have been affecting Member States since 2008. European governance is now undergoing substantial strengthening. The term governance means that the European Union is not a real and true government system. The European Union will have a real and true government only when a constitutional foundation is approved by Member States and by its citizens, thereby granting irrevocable legitimacy to the EU and its institutions. The governance concept describes an incomplete system in evolution, open to various possibilities of development, and the governance system guiding the Union is marked by aspects that substantiate this definition: namely, the various players with different degrees of legitimacy, the method of performance and experimental procedures, the asymmetrical development of political sectors, the lack of a clear definition of the areas of responsibility among actors at various levels, the weak democratic legitimacy of the entire system and the lack of stability and coherence on the whole.European governance underlies an agreement framework which the community refers to, geared at achieving the objectives and providing contents related to the process. Moreover, the contents and objectives of European integration are subject to various interpretations. The progress of the European project over the past five decades underwent various revisions, adjustments and amendments that contributed to ensure overall stability despite its geographic extension. When speaking of governance vis a vis government methods and administration of the European Union it should also be underlined that compared to nation states, it consists in a different kind of governance and administration: it crosses traditional political and administrative borders thereby addressing a changing transnational community whose leaders are influenced by various administrative and government cultures sharing their particular experiences. Efforts aimed at the achievement of banking Union, along with new tools introduced to overcome the crisis (bailout, banking ceiling etc.) dragging on for several years, show that the EU tool and its governance are constantly expanded, and such extension is not envisaged in the Treaties. This is a positive fact, as it shows that its “problem solving” abilities increase in scope. But it’s not enough: the question regarding the point of arrival of this process remains unanswered. In fact, owing to the above-mentioned features, the European governance system is structurally unstable. A constitutional coherence is lacking. It’s a temporary situation that is bound to remain unstable as an increasing number of governance tools are created with methods that are not subjected to community discipline  provided for in the European treaties. The goals achieved to date should be compiled in a constitution, so as to ensure permanent validity and the much-needed stability for the appropriate performance of the European Union. The last attempt to reach consensus on a European Constitution dates back to 12 years ago. It failed because of the refusal of the French and Dutch population, called to express their opinion in a referendum. Many things have occurred in the meantime, with the geographic expansion of 13 new member States and the experiences of the crisis triggered by the over-indebtedness of a few Member States, worsened by a non-sufficiently organized economic and monetary union.The developments of the past 12 years prompt the need to renew attempts for a European Constitution whereby all rules and procedures, along with the rights and duties of member States and of EU citizens are stipulated in a clear and systematic manner. Notably, the Constitution is expected to provide an authentic government controlled by the European Parliament with the opportunity to take the necessary decisions for the benefit of the European Union. 

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