Saturday, 14 November 2009

Do we get anything about the EU? Me not!

By reading a provoking article about the state of Polish Universities I came across a very interesting University: The New School of Social Research which is located in New York. I looked at the type of classes they have and I realised how heterogenity of students and their interests make a vibrant community.
I am afraid that most of those studying the EU fall back to finding a single history of why all this happened. Of course there are federalists... but they only claim what is the end game- a federation of states/regions etc. There are functionalists, who say that we did it because we needed. There are realists who say that actually nature is not changing. They claim that states always existed and they have always pursued state interests... There are liberal intergovernmentalist who start depicting the rules of negotiations and the rational decision making. And at the very end we have politicians who write their biographies and depict the life as they remember it/or they want to be remembered.

So why we have direct elections to the European Parliament... I have not read a profound analysis of this break in politics in 1976 (it was decided then). What are the unintended consequences of the establishment of the Convention in Laeken? What was the mindset of the first Secretary General of the Commission? Did he perceive the role of administration according to ENA standards or was closer to the Dutch approach?

After all my studies I see an enormous gap in looking at all the European organisations jointly: Council of Europe, OECD, OECE, NATO. I understand that in 2009 the EU overshadows all the other phora. But how was it in the fifties, sixties?

And we fail to realise the huge complexity of interest formation and articulation within the governments and between them. I must say I know only one eye opening book about integration written by Philipe de Schouteete-a long serving member of COREPER. He does not depict history; he writes about ideas and their incarnations. And when he writes about these ideas, he shows the extremes and the full spectrum in between. OK, I agree I should read the Memoirs of Delors.
I was hoping that somebody (or me) will write one day a huge narrative about the European Union; a narrative which shall clarify who did what and when and with what objective. This would be exactly the story that nation states created to justify their claim to power and control. I understand that this needs to be deconstructed. But maybe we just should not have a new great narrative which will replace the existing ones. Cause then in becomes a religion....

Ok, I need to read more about the school in New York and maybe one day apply to join it. There is nothing more enthusiastic than an opportunity to challenge our mindset with creative people with different backgrounds. Maybe we, the funtionaires, take it to easy to be the guardians of the treaties and Commission spirit. Maybe we should be more challenging?

I think I should read more Weber about administration and bureacratisation of society. So my next post should be about the impact of new communication technologies on the XIX century administration.... Or actually the concepts continues the old French concept.... we the administrators, they --- les administre (please add the accent above the last e).

So the king is naked. European integration despite all the flags, speeches and anathems is an object which should be scrutinised without piety. Let's show the notions in the heads of the directors. Let's show what the promotion mechanisms are; who gets the Commission jobs and for what reasons. And let's show the aculturation of Commissioners- did they change after serving their term... Or they are statist actors as realists claim.

I wrote a Ph.D. about it and I still know nothing.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

looking beyond the current affairs

The last 2 months made me quite fed up with the European politics. Don't you have an impression that everything falls on one piece of hair? Barroso nomination, Irish referendum, the psyche of Mr Kaczynski and Klaus, Constitutional Courts. I had an impression of a soap opera when everyday the life of the main character is hanging desperately on a piece of information or the right set of street lights.
This is definetely bad taste. The Americans had a long preparation for elections. Primaries building up the pressure. Big or no so big debates. The final voting and Obama walking in the hall of fame.
The Europeans will finish with somebody taken out of a hat. And Mr Milliband refuses to become the Foreign Minister... unlike Ms Clinton who almost made it to be in the ruling seat.
You will say that the two systems are not comparable. You are right.
You will say that the European drama is of different kind. That we have just concluded the longest negotiations in history. We started by negotiating the Maastricht treaty in 1990 and we finish 2009 with a new set of institutions. So maybe indeed everything started with the fall of the Iron Curtain and the 20 years of changes were needed to work out a sensible compromise. So what we really miss is the historical perspective.
Anyway who remembers that George Washington was not really the strongest speech maker.... He laid foundations to the US. There was no Federal Reserve during his time etc.
We did it the other way round. First we build a central bank, than we chose the President (of the European Council).
Maybe this November is too grey. I miss the perspective. I am in the middle of my 30ties so why should I have it?
Peter Ludlow was actually very optimistic about the state of the Union. I want to believe that he is right. So let's forget the bickering over the name of the first President and let's cherish the moment... No more referenda in front... Hmmm- there are Interinstitutionals Agreements to be seen to.
Shitmerde.... I do not want negotiations all the time. I want a vision.
Change, we can. Preside we can. Draft communicates we can. Joining working lunches we can. I am fed up with diplomacy. I want something that the pupils in schools can learn and grasp. Be it van Rompuy.