‘The current polymorphous crisis of the ‘European project’ commands that we question once again what has been up to now Europe’s own specific form of government. Bringing together recent streams of scholarship in historical sociology, critical legal scholarship and political science, the talk will suggest a renewed narrative of EU polity-formation, whereby ‘independence’ and ‘expertise’ form the very terrain on which Europe’s political capacity and specialised form of authority have been shaped, staged and consolidated. Scholars generally agree that institutions ‘independent’ from the political are an ubiquitous and pervasive feature of EU polity. The critical role of the European Court of Justice, the salient position of the European Central Bank and of the Commission (particularly its powerful and quasi-autonomous DG Comp) or the more recent blossoming of regulatory agencies have exemplified an overall process of delegation of governmental functions to institutions put at distance from direct political and electoral ‘pressures’. Yet, most accounts of this ‘rise of the unelected’ have stuck to sector-specific explanations providing idiosyncratic reasons for the ‘functionality’ of statutory independence in the different judicial, monetary, executive branches of EU government. As a result, we still fail to grasp the deep and cross-sectorial entanglement between ‘independence’ and the ‘European project’. This paper suggests that we recognize EU historically-rooted idiosyncrasy and adapt our democratization strategies accordingly by addressing the conditions under which the independents could be integrated into Europe’s public sphere and be opened to more democratic responsibilities. Insofar as the ‘independents’ are the keystones of the European edifice, any major overhaul of the political union should therefore prioritise the bid to develop new forms of democratic connections with the various institutions that make up Europe’s tricephalous independent branch.’
Date: 1st March 2017, 6.00-7.30pm
Location: SW1.18, Somerset House East Wing, King’s College London, Strand, London WC2R 2LS
Charge: Free, registration required
More information can be found here.