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Scénarios européens : rétrospective et prospective

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  • Pierre-Alain Muet
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    Abstract

    [eng] For the last fifty years, the history of European integration has witnessed two opposing methods: the gradual one based on « spillover effects » from economic to political integration, initiated by Jean Monnet, which allowed for and developed the European Community; and the political initiatives — all of which have failed — starting with the federalist ambitions of the Hague Congress, just after the war, up to the different constitutional projects elaborated by the European Parliament. Meanwhile, the political difficulties which surfaced with the ratification of the Maastricht Treaty, the eventual enlargement of a Community — initially planned for six countries — to an entire continent, and the institutional complexity of an integration process without historical precedent, show that European integration can hardly continue without embracing the political choices so often avoided. How can one adapt the institutions inherited from successive layers of integration, wavering between contradictory political aims, to the challenges which appear at the end of this century : the recomposition of the continent after the break-up of the Soviet Block ; the enlargement of the Union to some thirty countries; Monetary Union, necessarily limited to only a few countries at first... With little doubt, never has the European agenda appeared to be so contradictory. The architecture in pillars of the Maastricht Treaty illustrates this choice, which was never clear-cut, between a confederation of nation states which characterises the intergovernmental approach and the federalist one, which was the choice of the founders, and which is implicit in Economic and Monetary Union. Will the intergovernmental conference, which opened in March, on reforming the institutions, bring any solutions if the fundamental question, « What Europe do we want ? », remains omitted because everyone well knows that the answer profoundly divides the states and the citizens ? The thesis advocated in this article is that these differences should be recognized in order to save the process of European integration. A Europe with variable geometry, or, more precisely, a Europe with different political wishes, is in fact the only outcome allowing for the pursuit of an integration process which conditions the economic survival of our continent. [fre] L'histoire de cinquante ans de construction européenne oppose la méthode des petits pas ou de l'engrenage, initiée par Jean Monnet, qui permit que s'enclenche et se développe l'intégration européenne, aux initiatives politiques qui ont toutes échoué, depuis les ambitions fédéralistes du congrès de la Haye dans l'immédiat après-guerre, jusqu'aux différents projets de constitution élaborés par le Parlement européen, en passant par la Communauté européenne de défense au milieu des années cinquante. Pourtant les difficultés politiques surgies à l'occasion de la ratification du traité de Maastricht, l'élargissement à terme d'une Communauté initialement prévue pour six pays à l'ensemble du continent, et la complexité institutionnelle à laquelle a abouti une expérience d'intégration sans précédent dans l'histoire montrent que la construction européenne ne pourra sans doute pas se poursuivre sans que soient abordés les choix politiques si souvent esquivés. Comment adapter des institutions héritées de couches successives d'intégration oscillant entre des volontés politiques contradictoires, aux défis qui s'accumulent en cette fin de siècle : recomposition du continent après l'éclatement du bloc soviétique, élargissement de l'Union à une trentaine de pays, Union monétaire nécessairement restreinte dans une première phase... Jamais sans doute les échéances européennes ne semblent avoir été aussi contradictoires. L'architecture en piliers du traité de Maastricht illustre ce choix jamais tranché entre une confédération d'Etats nations que caractérise la démarche intergouvemementale, et l'approche fédérale qui était celle des fondateurs et que l'on retrouve implicitement dans l'Union économique et monétaire. La conférence intergouvernementale sur la réforme des institutions qui s'est ouverte en mars apportera-t-elle une solution à ces problèmes si la question fondamentale « Quelle Europe voulons-nous ? » reste omise parce que chacun sait bien qu'aujourd'hui la réponse divise profondément les Etats et les citoyens. La thèse défendue dans cet article est que ces divergences doivent être reconnues pour sauvegarder le processus d'intégration européenne. L'Europe à géométrie variable, ou plus exactement l'Europe à volontés politiques différenciées, qui en est la conséquence est la seule issue qui permette de poursuivre un processus d'intégration qui conditionne la survie économique de notre continent.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Programme National Persée in its journal Revue de l'OFCE.

    Volume (Year): 58 (1996)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 43-65

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    Handle: RePEc:prs:rvofce:ofce_0751-6614_1996_num_58_1_1429

    Note: DOI:10.3406/ofce.1996.1429
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    Web page: http://www.persee.fr/web/revues/home/prescript/revue/ofce

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