2007 Volume 2007 Issue 27 Pages 15-28,323
The year 2005 may be record in future as the European Union had turned a corner from the age of the Internal Market and the revival of new dynamism in European integration to the age of inward-looking and “enhanced cooperation”.
The previous year, 2004 was full of rosy pictures on the developments of the EU. On May 1, ten states joined the EU and on October 29, the Treaty and the Final Act establishing a Constitution for Europe was signed in Rome.
But, seven months later, the French and the Dutch voters rejected the European Constitutional Treaty. These events show that there are four dilemmas which the EU is now facing. The first is the dilemma between “neo-liberal Europe” and “social Europe”. The most important message of the “White Paper on Internal Market” of 1985 and “Single European Act” of 1986 was competition. However, the message of French voters and lesser extent in the case of Dutch voters was “no more social dumping with free movement of workers from less developed European countries” and more “social Europe”.
The second is the dilemma of enlargement. To enlarge the area of peace, prosperity, stability and democracy to the rest of Europe will surely be good thing, but it will cost more for the existing members because rich countries like Switzerland and Norway stay away from the EU and possible candidates are relatively poorer. Bulgaria and Romania became member on January 1, 2007 to end the Fifth enlargement. But, further enlargement will be more delicate and more cautious issue especially for Turkey. With the rise of argument on the EU's absorption capacity, the EU may become less eager for enlargement in future.
The Third is the dilemma of democracy. The more direct democracy for citizens, the more risk for the political leaders. Referendum is very democratic mean to hear voice of the citizens on the certain issue directly. But, at the same time, referendum is very risky mean, because the voters do not necessarily vote on the pros and cons of the specific issue. Once politicians rely on referendum, they cannot go forward without another referendum. France has to go to referendum on any European issue in future, including Turkey' entry to the EU.
The fourth dilemma is unanimity or “enhanced cooperation”. There are some member states which want to deepen integration further but there are member states which do not want. The inclusions of “closer cooperation”, “enhanced cooperation” and “structured cooperation” seem to strengthen the deepening of integration but there are also tendency to strengthen national power by the mutual recognition of standards and use of Open Method of Coordination (OMC).