Session 1: Globalization and National Politics: The European Experience in building Governance (Seminar 2005)

November 4, 10.00-1.00 pm 

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Globalization altered the manner in which national political agendas are defined and collective interests perceived. In a context where geographical and economic space no longer coincide, decisions affecting social and economic life are often outside the purview of national civil society and the state. How individual interests are perceived, in this global context, conditions established patterns of governance and the pursuit of collective goals.

This session will discuss how globalization is affecting and conditioning the European experience of regional governance, the instruments it has developed to pursue its governance agenda and lessons which can be derived from this experience.

The European Union’s governance agenda is unprecedented in the range of issues covered, the jurisprudence it sets forth, and the political culture of negotiations which it has developed. Moreover, reconciling a design developed in the “golden years “of the post war expansion with the present stage of economic globalization has engendered important contradictions and governance dilemmas.

The passage from Market to Common Currency, occurring as it did in the midst of a globalized economy made less tenable and congruous the goals which represented the ideals of the Union in its founding years: market integration, increased welfare and a common European citizenship.

While the euro pushes forward the governance agenda, globalization exposes member states individually and collectively to new challenges and contradictions.

The rejection of the proposals for an European Constitution by some of its founding members, the difficulties in reaching consensus with regards to its future budget, the discrepancy of views over what constitutes its own geography and “common interests” are but a few examples of the fissures which are now encumbering the European Union‘s governance agenda.

This session will discuss the nature of the present European crisis and the lessons it bears to the discussion of global governance. In particular, it will look into the incompatibility, real or perceived between the search for individual economic welfare and the pursuit of established European collective objectives and discuss the potential legitimacy and representational gap between the administration of the union and its citizens. Finally it will assess the implications which this governance impasse has for the ideals of multilateralism and the state of global governance negotiations. 

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