Guest blog by Jaap Hoeksma, Philosopher of Law, Director of Euroknow and Creator of the Boardgame Eurocracy.

As the late Umberto Eco already suggested, a library is not merely a collection of books, but also forms an intellectual meeting place. In the past scholars used to meet each other at the lender's desk or in the reading room. Thanks to the digital innovations of the last decades, the Peace Palace Library blogs have become a breeding place for innovative ideas in the field of International and European Law. Thousands of visitors of the PPL-website are using the opportunity to read the weekly blogs and to contribute to development of new approaches and, indeed, of paradigm shifts.

The present blogger has started to post short studies about aspects of the Westphalian system of International Relations in the spring of 2013. The first blog was triggered by the Bloomsberg Speech on Europe of PM Cameron, in which he started to redefine the relation between the EU and the UK. Three years later PM Cameron has obtained the result that he wanted by securing an opt-out with respect to the term 'ever closer union' as guiding principle for the end goal of the EU. This result will enable Cameron to claim in the campaign for the referendum about British membership of the EU that the UK will never have to give up sovereignty for the sake of a European SuperState.

While Cameron tried to find a way backwards by returning to the Westphalian system of International Relations, the blogs gave the present writer the chance to carve out a way forwards by moving beyond that model of thinking. The breakthrough arrived when I was able to post a blog aimed at formulating the Theory of Democratic Integration. In reaction to comments from the PPL-community, it had to be reviewed and reformulated until it read that, if two democratic states decide to share the exercise of sovereignty in a number of fields with a view attain common goals, the organisation they establish for this purpose should be democratic too.

IMG_3996In hindsight, it almost appears as if the blogs wanted to be written into a book. The aim of the EU is neither to become a federal state nor to form a free trade area, but rather to function as a European democracy. Or, to put it slightly different. as a result of the emancipation of the citizens in the EU, the Union is evolving from a Common Market to a Common Democracy. Making the book felt rather like composing the blogs into a coherent monograph on the EU than writing a traditional treatise. In the end, the publication of the book coincided with the agreement between the members of the European Council and PM Cameron about the conditions under which the latter is willing to campaign for a continuation of the British membership of the EU. While Cameron has secured his opt-out and is allowed to move backwards, the monograph will enable the other member states to evolve forwards into a democratic polity of states, in which the citizens are not merely entitled to participate in the national democracies of their countries, but also in the common democracy of the Union. This development is symbolised in the text of the new article 1 of a future Treaty on European Union which has been launched on the stairs of the Peace Palace as it reads that 'this treaty marks a new stage in the creation of a common democracy among the peoples of Europe'.

Previous blog | Next blog

Librarian's choice

A selection of relevant publications from the Peace Palace Library collection

Relevant PPL-keywords for further research

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *